Anti-pork barrel protesters gather in Luneta

Posted at 09/13/13 10:54 PM

MANILA – Filipinos from different walks of life again trooped to Luneta on Friday to protest the pork barrel system.

From the Department of Agriculture, farmers brought their protest to Luneta.

They gathered along with students, militant groups, and concerned citizens to express outrage against the pork barrel system.

Organizers estimate that 15,000 people attended the rally, but police said they only counted over 3,000.

But while fewer attended compared to the "Million People March" last month, protesters said more Filipinos are now aware of the pork barrel issue.

"The rule of law is that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Ako, there are cases where the individuals will have to be presumed guilty until proven innocent. I’m sorry," said retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz.

Cruz is talking about lawmakers, who he said continue to deny their role in the multi-billion scam.

Meanwhile, militant group Bayan said even though pork barrel is being scrapped, Filipinos still have to be vigilant.

"Baka sa kakamaniobra ang mangyari ay magkaroon lang ng super pork at si Noynoy Aquino ang magiging King of Pork dahil siya ang magko-control ng pondo. Kaya ang panawagan hindi lang sa congressional, pati presidential pork dapat i-rechannel ‘yan sa social services," said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes.

"Super pork" is what protesters say President Aquino's pork barrel should be called, especially since Congress plans to move the funds to agencies under the executive branch.

The movement is planning yet another rally on September 21. The group also said the "Million People March" will make a comeback in December.

"Itatago nila ang pork barrel sa maraming anyo, ilalagay nila sa mga ahensya kunwari, ilalagay sa ibang budget, pero pork barrel pa rin ‘yun,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.

Another thing the protesters find difficult to accept: the funds meant for less fortunate Filipinos are just gathering dust in Napoles’ bath tub.