Has Camp Aguinaldo become ungrateful of People Power? Do its current occupants, once desperate for the people’s protection, think nothing of injuring those who once protected them from a dictator’s tanks and guns?
As hundreds of people commemorated the 36th anniversary of the People Power uprising with a rally at the monument at the corner of EDSA and White Plains Avenue on Friday morning, they were pelted with stones and plastic bottles from inside the military camp.
“Mga kababayan, bago po ako magsimula, nais ko pong ibalita sa inyo na kanina pa hong may lumilipad ng bato at mga bote mula sa loob ng Camp Aguinaldo papunta po rito sa ating hanay,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. announced at the start of his speech towards the end of the rally. (Compatriots, before I start, let me announce that stones and bottles flew towards us from inside Camp Aguinaldo.)
Reyes said that the police failed to let the pelting stop, adding that a Polytechnic University of the Philippines employee was hit on the head by a stone.
“Nasan po yung mga pulis? Nasan yung mga pulis? Bakit hindi nyo po maprotektahan yung mga tao laban doon sa mga nambabato [mula] sa loob ng Camp Aguinaldo?” Reyes asked. (Where is the police? Where is the police? Why can’t you protect the people from those throwing from inside Camp Aguinaldo?”
The victim, Vilma S. Tuno said she was seated near the camp’s wall along White Plains Avenue and intently listening to the program when hit by a stone.
“Tumama sa ulo ko. Ang laki ng maga at sobrang sakit kaya na-obliga ako pumunta sa emergency room,” she told Kodao. (The stone hit my head. The swelling was huge and it was very painful. I was forced to go to the emergency room.)
Tuno was rushed to the V.R. Potenciano Hospital at EDSA-Mandaluyong where she was advised to undergo a CT Scan to check for possible effects to her previous brain surgery for epilepsy,” human rights group Kapatid said.
“This is to strongly inform the Camp Aguinaldo officials that the stone-throwing incident from inside your wall has caused physical injury. Several other rally participants were also directly hit by stones, sticks and plastic bottles,” Kapatid added in its statement.
“This kind of incident must not go unpunished. Kapatid condemns this despicable act against us who are marking #EDSA36 near the People Power Monument. We call on Camp Aguinaldo officials to investigate this incident and put a stop to all such acts.
This reporter was also hit on his torso while another stone bounced off the pavement and hit his thigh.
Journalist Lito Ocampo also complained that he was almost hit by an empty soda bottle thrown from inside the camp.
Camp Aguinaldo is the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and where the Department of National Defense is located.
It was where then defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile and his cohorts holed up when they turned against then President Ferdinand Marcos.
Reyes bewailed that during the uprising, the people went to EDSA to protect the people from inside the camp from an impending full-scale military attack ordered by Marcos.
“Noong EDSA, iyong mga tao, pumunta rito sa EDSA para po protektahan yung mga nasa loob ng Camp Aguinaldo. Ngayon po, yung mga tao, nagtitipon dito sa EDSA, binabato ng mga naroroon sa loob ng Camp Aguinaldo,” Reyes complained. (During the uprising, the people went to EDSA to protect those inside Camp Aguinaldo. Now that the people commemorate the uprising, stones are being thrown at us from inside the camp.)
The police, hundreds of them, did not stir from under their tents and under the trees, even after hearing the complaint. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)