"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Busina's Statement on Ninoy Aquino's 25th Death Anniversary

Ipagpatuloy ang Laban para sa Kapayapaan, Katarungan at Ganap na Demokrasya

Today we commemorate the 25th death anniversary of former Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. whose heroism marked a turning point in our country's struggle against the Marcos dictatorship. His martyrdom awakened many Filipinos who were previously apathetic and cowed by the long years of authoritarianism. Ninoy's courageous decision to come home in the face of possible imprisonment and even death, and the flagrant treachery of his murder on the airport tarmac became the catalyst that shook our people out of complacency and galvanized an irreversible nonviolent movement for democracy in the country.

Twenty-five years after Ninoy's death, Philippine democracy once again is under serious threat. A just and lasting peace continues to be elusive, especially in Mindanao. Systemic corruption and abuse of power in the highest levels of government persists with impunity. The constitutional mandate for social justice through a more equitable distribution of wealth, particularly in the agrarian sector, is still unfulfilled. The continuing serious lack of transparency, accountability and integrity in government and the specter of self-serving charter change and even martial law are grave signs that the country confronts renewed authoritarianism.
But as in the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship when we faced repression, uncertainty and hopelessness, it was the courage, selflessness and faith of people like Ninoy Aquino and many other lesser known citizens responding to the call for political involvement, that generated a tide of resistance against dictatorship, clearing the way for democratization. The times call for such heroic engagement and commitment.

Today as we continue our campaign for truth, accountability and reform, we support the authentic efforts to find a just and lasting peace in Mindanao, to address long-standing inequities of power and privilege, and to give voice to the marginalized among the lumad, Bangsa Moro and Christian communities. We call for genuine dialogue and consultation on the substance and implications of the draft GRP-MILF Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). But we reject and will vigorously resist any attempt to use the sincere quest for peace to serve hidden selfish agenda, such as regime extension through charter change before the 2010 elections. We believe a central reason why the draft MOA has generated so much suspicion and conflict is not only the lack of transparency and consultation in the negotiation process, but because it is being pushed by a government that has lost the people's trust.

We will fight to defend democracy and the rule of law against its being undermined by violence and the failure to hold accountable those whose narrow and short-sighted interests have led to the weakening, even destruction of many of our political institutions. We will oppose any attempt to cancel, postpone or change the nature of the 2010 elections or any effort to extend the term of officials who should step down by then. But we will also struggle to deepen Philippine democracy beyond its often formal and elitist character by working for reforms that will make the 2010 elections truly meaningful and empowering. While electoral automation is a positive step forward, the integrity of the process needs to be safeguarded at various levels and phases – from voters' registration and education, to campaign finance and electoral administration. Moreover, we need to search zealously for and strengthen alternative politicians and parties who will be responsive to people's real needs and aspirations. We will monitor them and make them accountable for their promises.

But democracy will only become truly meaningful if the majority of our impoverished people have a real stake in its processes and outcomes. This goal will only be achieved if we address the need for inclusive and sustainable development anchored in genuine asset reform and socioeconomic democracy. Thus we call for the reform and extension of CARP without the use of farmland as collateral. We support the continuing organization and mobilization of basic sectors for full democratic participation.

August 21 symbolizes the ongoing task to defend and deepen democratic institutions threatened by self-serving interests. In a moment of darkness, it also represents a time of hope -- the awakening of social conscience and communal action to promote the common good. It is from this reservoir of national memory and our capacity to transcend narrow concerns, that we can take personal and collective responsibility for bringing about peace, justice and genuine democracy. With faith in God's grace and saving power, we will find strength, inspiration and hope.

Courtesy of JMCN

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