By Ed Lingao
THOUSANDS OF FILIPINOS again took the streets Wednesday in a continuing show of opposition to the pork barrel funds or the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) granted to lawmakers and select members of the executive branch.
The protesters gathered at the EDSA People Power monument at the corner of EDSA and Ortigas in Pasig City for what they called a prayer vigil cum peace rally against the abuse of pork barrel funds.
The rally kicked off with a novena followed by a holy mass at the EDSA Shrine. Later in the afternoon, anti-pork barrel academics such as former National Economic and Development Authority head Winnine Monsod and former National Treasurer Leonor Briones will deliver briefings on the nature of the pork barrel funds and how they are abused or misused by government officials to perpetuate patronage politics.
The police, however, got into a scuffle with some protesters who tried to unfurl anti-pork barrel banners and flags. The police insist that the Shrine is a no-rally zone, and the permit given to organizers of the event was only for a prayer vigil. Protesters however insisted on their right to free expression, resulting in some heated exchanges.
Policemen were also visible in large numbers around the EDSA Shrine, enforcing a no-backpack policy because of fears that criminal elements could take advantage of the event.