Here’s my full account of what happened at February 15, 2008 rally held at Paseo de Roxas, Makati City. The rally was organized by different opposition groups calling for the ousting of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. I was there as a production crew of PROBE TEAM.
Here’s a photo taken by me during the February 15 rally at Makati
We arrived at the scene 1 hour before the program started. Atty. Adel Tamano, spokesperson of United Opposition (UNO) approached members of the media to greet them and brief them of what’s going to happen that afternoon. Large numbers of media personalities were there to cover the said event. Julius Babao was one of he early broadcaster there. ABS-CBN crew as usual was led by Rupert Ambil. GMA 7 wasn’t able to out up a crane for camera, but otherwise they position their crew at the left side of ABS-CBN’s OB Vans.
Then at around 3:30 p.m. some leader of activist group took the stage, calling for people at Makati business buildings to come down and join the rally. According to them, there are groups of rallyist that were blocked by police and military personnel at South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). They even accused the Palace of conducting a cloud seeding (it was very cloudy that day, though fortunately it didn’t rain).
At around 3:35 p.m. were the arrival of different activist group. It was then that people were crowding the street of Paseo de Roxas. Groups that were present that day were as follows:
Concern Citizen Movement, Promotion of Church and People Response, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Be Not Afraid Movement, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, November 29 Movement, EDSA 3 Coalition, Gloria Stepdown Movment, Alab Katipunan, Bayan Muna, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, SANLAKAS, Gabriela, ANAKBAYAN, Anak Pawis, League of the Filipino Students (LFS), people from San Juan, people from Makati, different student organizations from UP, PUP, De La Salle, Ateneo, Maryknoll, Assumption and the United Opposition (UNO).
At 3:56, the program started by singing of the Philippine National Anthem, followed by seminarians playing gong as prayer ritual. Also, an Imam lead a prayer in behalf of the Muslims. Fr. Joe Dizon of Solidarity Philippines were one of the members of the church who speak at the stage. He said that it is the job of church people to support the people in their quest for the truth and justice. He also reiterated that Bishop Lagdameyo’s (Head, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) call for communal action doesn’t only mean as praying but also includes going into streets for mass action. Fr. Robert Reyes stressed that Jun Lozada, the whistleblower on the ZTE/NBN scandal that Arroyo’s administration was dragged into, was the one telling the truth and that Malacañang was feeding the public of nothing but pure lies.
Present personalities on that event were Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, former House Speaker Jose De Venecia, his son Joey De Venecia, JV Ejercito, Pen Medina, Armida Sigeon Reyna, Carlitos Sigeon Reyna, Rep. Liza Masa, former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, Rep. Satur Ocampo, Bibeth Ortesa, Atty. Harry Roque etc.
Other speakers were one from the UP Student Regent who brought the issue of the government abandoning the education by allotting small part of the budget for it. Another speaker was National Artist for Literature, Prof. Bienvenido Lumbera who gave a 100% grade for the people of Malacañang in the subject Malikhaing Pagsulat, due to the fact that they were really good in inventing stories that would cover up for their crimes. Actor Rex Cortez also gave a short but meaningful message that earned shouts and cries from the crowd calling for Arroyo’s resignation. Also speaker that afternoon, representing the Chinese community was Nixon Cua, a Filipino-Chinese depending Jun Lozada. This is in accordance to Atty. Apostol’s malicious message before that Jun Lozada was “probinsyanong Intsik” and that he has to be deported. This earned negative reactions from the Filipino-Chinese community. Speakers from Women sector like Gabriela also expressed their fury with the current administration telling Gloria that she is “kahihiyan sa mga babae” (disgrace to women). One of the highlights of the afternoon’s event was the arrival of Joey De Venecia who exposed the scum on the ZTE Broadband Deal that dragged the Arroyo’s government into jeopardy. He delivered his speech at around 6:48 and recounted his experience on the corruption in the government. He also confessed that after his exposé, he received a number of death threats. In response to FG’s message on him (Back Off!) he retaliated saying “Back Off First Gentleman.” He also admitted that at first his relationship with his father, former House Speaker Jose De Venecia was also affected by his revelations.
Atty. Adel Tamano, spokesperson of the United Opposition delivered a nice short speech saying that Malacañang’s strategy was to divide the people like tagging others as “left and right, Muslim and Christian, EDSA 2 and EDSA 3 etc.”, but he said that people now gathered proving that Filipinos were united in their call for a better government “rich and poor, Muslim and Christian, left and right.” Nanay Mameng’s speech was one of the one who received enormous applause and reaction from the crowd.
Bands also uplift the spirits of participants of that afternoon’s event. Present were Brownman Revival and The Jerks singing political songs. The crowd chanted songs like “Gloria, Gloria magnanakaw… magnanakaw si Gloria (to the tune of Gloria Labandera) and “We will, we will oust you… (to the tune of We Will Rock You).
The rally ended with a dramatic singing of Bayan Ko as people raised their fists while singing. Afterwards, people dispersed and leave the area with trash of plastics and placards used by rallysists scattered around including confettis that was thrown to the crowd from Makati business buildings.