By Daniel Franklin E. Pilario, CM

I was here in these same streets with a throng of discontented crowd last February 24-25, 1986. That was 34 years ago when I was still a young seminarian. Today, I am back with the same arms in protest.

Deja vu!

Despite the COVID-19 scare, people are out again - from Makati, from Luneta, from Quezon City - raising their fist, honking their horns, shouting, creating any kind of noise. I can again feel what I felt during the days of People Power - the emotion, the disgust, the anger, the dedication, the commitment, the youthful faces.

Why are they risking their lives when the virus is just lurking in the air? Because something is wrong, terribly wrong. There was even a young lady who brought out her body and sat by the side window of her car with tears  falling on her cheeks as she raised her arm in silence. She was not born yet in 1986. But I saw in her eyes the same anger, the same cry, the same "No" that emerges out of the depths of our humanness when our moral fiber is violated. We say "this is wrong" and we raise our fist in protest.

I am here for some of my ABS-CBN friends - Inday Espina-Varona, Eli Sepe, Ilsa Reyes, Paul Catada, and several others. But I am also here in the name of thousands of people whom I do not know, their camera men, drivers, waitresses in restaurants, production assistants, technicians of transmitters, tindera ng sari-sari store sa kanto ng Esguerra at Panay, people we do not see on camera, who will go home to their families in the following weeks with nothing, not knowing how to start again. Only because of the personal vendetta of the king by the Pasig River, legitimated by the rude dramatics of his cohorts in Congress. We do not need to be lawyers to see that something is wrong in those hypocritical charades in high places. How many times in this country shall we see the law being weaponized to kill the poor. No, he has not destroyed the oligarchs in this country; he has killed the poor!

I have joined small picket lines of 20-30 workers in some factories or displaced lumad since I was a student. Today, we are talking of 11,000 workers and many others without a future. They and the many victims of this government deserve our support. It is time to stand up, to rise and make our voices be heard. In the face of evil, silence is yes to the status quo. Neutrality is to be complicit with the powers that be.

I affix my name below to show that I am fully responsible for what I write here; it is necessary especially now that the Terror Law is in effect. Because I also raise my fist in protest of this dangerous and unjust law. I also cry in protest for the extrajudicial killings which I see at close range and their wailing widows and orphans. And I say No to all the values proliferated by this government that is against the basic human sensibilities that my poor parents, my best teachers and my dedicated guides have taught me in my life.

It is time to #resist!

Fr. Daniel Franklin E. Pilario, C.M.
St. Vincent School of Theology
Adamson University