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FIRST PERSON:

Why occupy EDSA?


Manila, Philippines, Aug. 28, 2015, 8:35 p.m. - Everything was long weekend-ready: the payday, the mall sales, the mild weather, the unrelenting bashing of the Bureau of Customs... It was end-of-the-week idyllic. Until rebels without a cause arrived to ugly up the scene, causing a monstrous traffic jam that wrinkled children and bled the menopaused as they sat seething in their unmoving cars. #mayforever
 
As of 9:05 p.m. Friday night, party time in a normal universe, a substantial length of EDSA and its nearby arteries were completely held hostage by Iglesia Ni Cristo members who massed at the EDSA Shrine to protest their alleged “religious persecution” in the hands of the Department of Justice. They denounced the DOJ’s alleged meddling in their “internal affairs” after the DOJ docketed a complaint for illegal detention filed by former Iglesia minister Isaias Samson Jr. against the church's leaders.
 
Forget for a second that a criminal complaint for illegal detention is hardly the “internal affairs” of any church. Docketing is merely receiving a complaint and assigning a case number to it for easy reference in subsequent proceedings. No investigation has yet begun.
 
Even though for entertainment purposes we’d like to see what escalated acts these wound-up protesters would do when the actual investigation begins, I think many of us would rather watch “The Vatican Files” (rated 14% on Rotten Tomatoes) than be subjected to an intensified version of this almost-seditious circus on EDSA.
 
No one wants to be held hostage in their own vehicle out on the street, especially if no logical reason could be given for it. For this obstructive stunt, both on the streets and in attempting to block the DOJ from investigating an alleged crime that may have been committed within its ranks, the Iglesia may have lost a good many sympathizers and/or future converts. Causing traffic mayhem and interfering in government’s performance of duties inevitably loses points, on both the goodwill and the business aspects. Arrogant display of impunity only aggravates matters.
 
Why occupy EDSA? What is its significance to an impending preliminary investigation of a criminal complaint for illegal detention? What have its long-suffering motorists done to deserve this additional, unnecessary punishment? And where were the authorities? Why was there no dispersal of a rally with no prior permit for that location? And why did the Iglesia leadership allow their people to obstruct the orderly, albeit snail’s pace, traffic on a major thoroughfare?
 
Manila, Philippines, Aug. 28, 2015, 9:58 p.m. – No one had the public good in mind among the highest ranks of church and state. There was complete separation of church and state from their brains.
 
Ironic sidebar: the Iglesia denounces idolatry yet its members chose to gather at the EDSA Shrine, where an enormous graven image of Mary accusingly looks down on them, in utter contempt, if steel and stone are capable of such.
 
Here’s a theory: What if every motorist and passenger stranded for hours on EDSA last night filed a case against the Iglesia for damages? As a matter of fact, why not make it a class suit. For physical suffering, moral shock, sleepless night, missed flights, lost income, lost sanity...  Wild applause and instant fame awaits any lawyer who has cojones grandes to file it and make it stick.



Reeza Singzon is a writer and activist for animal rights, environmental protection, and good governance.





The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this website.

Atty. Reeza Singzon is a trial lawyer specializing in family law and civil law. For questions or comments, she may be reached at reeza.singzon@gmail.com
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