VERY uncalled for.

As an act of protest against the Arroyo administration, five student activists of the state-run Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) waved “Oust Gloria” banners and posters during the PUP commencement exercises in the presence of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

Ermita was the guest speaker of the university’s graduation rites held last May 9 at the World Trade Center. PUP conferred on Ermita an honorary doctorate in Public Administration during the ceremonies.

The lightning rally staged by the activists was labeled a complete disgrace by school officials and faculty members of PUP even to the point of condemning such inappropriate public display of opinion. Even the topnotcher of the graduating class expressed vehement disapproval of such act since “it spoiled the most anticipated moment of their academic life—the moment when they savor the fruits of their years of labor and struggles.”

Clearly, this is not an isolated case. Two years ago, President Arroyo herself has received a face-to-face experience of this truly disruptive and distasteful expression of political clamoring. No one, not even the lowest officer in this bureaucracy, would like to be humiliated in such a momentous occasion that attempts to celebrate years of academic toiling and hard work.

Indeed, it’s such a tall order to halt such acts from transpiring and creating a commotion, thus the term “lightning rally.” The damage it creates to the occasion spreads faster than venom. I could just imagine if it happened in my own investiture with all the priests and the nuns around. That spur of the moment would have created the next banner article for this paper but then again I would never have the guts to publicize such act.

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Panunuyong pulitiko

I’m not completely blaming the activists. This is a free country and obviously what they did expresses a clear exercise of such privilege. Of course, the government has its lapses and I find it stupid to clearly state the obvious. If the rally stands as a wake up call, were not there enough alarming mass movements done to do the job? Do we need to include solemn investitures as a venue to express our rage and anger? I firmly believe there are dozens of ways on how to implore or even force positive changes in the government and definitely, lightning rallies won’t even make it to the list.

Everything has its own proper place and time. It’s just a matter of being sensitive and intelligent enough to decipher when and where.

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