Comrades around the world,
Happy Labor day! In the grand tradition of the labor movement, Akbayan and various allied labor groups held a rally this morning marching from Welcome Rotunda to Mendiola Bridge. Although I have been completely drained for the past few weeks, I woke at 6:30 this morning to join the rally. The flags, the GREAT drumband,the speakers and of course the masses that came out quickly took away my fatigue and and I was instantly happy to be there.
The highlight of the morning, however, had to be when I noticed tarpaulins and supporters of Nacionalista Party Senatorial Candidate Susan Ople mixed among our ranks. It was so sad – there were about 10 supporters but at least 5 cars, proving that she has plenty of cash thanks to Money Villar, but a lack of actual flesh and blood supporters.
Despite my pity, I of course reacted with hostility. I asked one of them directly, “Bakit nandito kayo?” (Why are you here) The poor child looked at me with a blank face, “Bakit po?” (Why?) I answered, quite blatantly, “OPLE KAYO!” (You’re for Ople)
Then an older woman to her side said “Oo, Ople kami. Bakit, may problema ba?” (Yes, we’re Ople, is there a problem?”
At this point I noticed that the woman was Susan Ople herself. I answered, “Oo, may problema. Kita mo lahat ng flags? AKBAYAN kami, at sa gitna kayo ng aming rally. Hindi kami kay VIllar, kay Noy kami. Hindi ka rin namin sinusuporta. Problema talaga yan. Bakit nga nadito kayo? Dapat talaga alis kayo!” (Yes, there is a problem. Do you see all these flags? We are Akbayan and you are in the middle of our rally. We are not for Villar, we are for Noy. We are also not supporting you. That’s really a problem. Why are you here?)
At that time another comrade came to explain that all groups traditionally rally at Mendiola, to which I replied, yes, but the groups are physically separate. Ople was in the middle of PM and APL, obviously hoping that she could ride our strength to make it look like she was part of our mob.
We provided a way for her and her people to separate from our group by moving to the front of the crowd. When our Akbayan handlers at the head of the crowd saw her, they conveniently placed our VILLARROYO sings and placards in front of her and her pathetic contingent. She got pissed off and left. When friends relayed the story to be via text I laughed for about an hour.
These are the moments that brighten my day! That make being an activist in the Philippines forever fun and entertaining. I am a socialist because I love life. I am an activist because I want others to be able love life as much as I do!