thank you, manila hotel, for opening your doors to rallyists who trekked in non-stop, muddy shoes and all, just to use the lobby CRs. i hadn’t planned on going there unless i got desperate for comfort, but on the way to luneta with cholo, around 8 a.m., i got a call from butch my brother who said he was in the lobby, having breakfast with our pamangkins ainee and don who had come all the way from binan (with a benedictine abbey group); they would wait for us. perfect, i thought, a last pee before the rally. and might as well meet up there with katrina (she had left at 6:30) who had been asked to represent the unaffiliated organizers in a meeting with the philippine medical association at 9 a.m., na naging 10 a.m., and hindi na with the pma, but a presscon/forum na whose panel included kit tatad (argh), isagani cruz, letty shahani, ernesto ordonez, among others, all expressing solidarity against the pork barrel.
it was more interesting in the lobby. gloria diaz at a a far table, linggoy alcuaz and herman tiu laurel moving around, vilma and mel mathay, randy david and family, marra lanot walking by, karina bolaso with a group, lito atienza (argh), marites vitug walking by, renato corona and family. and got to chika with old friends lenny de jesus who was with russel sobrepena, and mildred juan who was there with her ATOM barkada. and balikbayan cousin gary salcedo (like butch, home for good) who had spent the night in the hotel with fellow lasallites. lol. ang sosyal ba.
as we were leaving for the rally, saw someone at the door who looked like raissa’s alan robles with a few others, and just leaving the driveway was the corona party and photographers galore, so we rushed to leave first, heading for the rizal monument area, just in time to see the the militants marching in, led by satur ocampo, teddy casino, and ACT partylist rep tonchi tinio. in fairness, pinaghandaan nila, and they scored points because they were one with the rallyists on the abolition of the pork barrel, and because they stayed on topic: no ibagsaks, nothing on pyudalismo koloyalismo, o kapitalismo. while i was around, anyway. and no we didn’t hear anyone booing them. if anything, people who were just sitting around in that area, too far away to hear anything from inside, were entertained, if not nudged awake, by the pointed slogans and the sounds of pigs grunting in a loop that included the voice of noynoy “abolishing” the pork barrel. LOL
at that point katrina needed to get back to her post and i went with her; cholo went off on his own to look around, before going on home (wala pang tulog). i had planned to stay away from the muddy grounds, but i also wanted to see what it was like inside. the “command center” turned out to be an open tent, not too large, half occupied by organizers and mirons and whoever was holding the mic — jograd was on but couldn’t see him, except on a labo screen, kasi walang platform — the other half occupied by tables for petition signing, and stationed next to them, momblogger noemi dado, one of the organizers. looked around for peachy, gang, vince lazatin, names i had been hearing, but they weren’t in the command center.
katrina left me in what seemed a safe spot just behind petition tables; some distance behind us, the lower grounds that immediately faced the grandstand. i was noting the continuous stream of people coming up to sign the peachy petition, mostly from B and C, pero meron ding A. on the other end saw nato reyes conferring with katrina, then with momblogger, and on the mic, someone reminding na bawal uminom, bawal magyosi, and leading some intermittent chanting, makibaka, wag magbaboy! at some point people started surging past the tent and crowding behind us, overlooking the grandstand area, and they were booing someone and shouting EPAL! along with the crowd below. the girl beside me stood on her chair to look, aha, binoo-boo si corona, join ang girl. i texted katrina an s.o.s. and not too long after sinundo niya ako, took me to sister mary john mananzan to say hello. jim paredes had the mic when we left.
heading back to manila hotel where katrina’s friends thea and aries pollisco were having lunch before going to the rally, we saw “rally virgin” noel anonuevo with jovy zarate, and join na rin sila. at the hotel CR i took off my muddied shoes, pinasok ng putik pati loob, buti na lang i had brought sosyal slippers pampalit just in case and that the cr had tissue paper galore to wipe the mud off my feet with. the shoes — buti na lang an old pair that deserved to be laid to rest — went into the plastic bag that had held the slippers and i dropped it in the trashcan with many thanks na hindi ako nadulas sa putik.
when katrina went back to the rally with thea and aries, i stayed behind, catching up with noel and getting to know jovy, and talking, among other things, about the rally and how disorganizedly organized it was. at some point cholo phoned, pauwi pa lang because he had run into friends here and there, many first-timer atenistas and spirit-of-67 fans.
at another point noel got a phone call from a friend watching tv and cardinal tagle was at the rally, speaking to the crowd. fine. i wondered how many of the crowd could hear him and imagined that many like me were wishing that the grandstand had been made proper use of, as in cory’s victory rally in 1986 that brought a million people, eager to listen, eager to be affirmed, eager to move as one.
okay lang. this was a baby step. the next ones should be better organized and the lines more clearly drawn. if you’re only for reforming the pork barrel system, for whatever reason, then please go hold your own rallies. but if you’re for scrapping all pork barrel and you want to see heads rolling, then be assured that it’s not over. what next? there’s a call for #occupyEDSA but i don’t know enough about it yet. will keep you posted.