Why we walked out on Bush?
October 18, 2003
Rep. JV Baustista, Sanlakas
Rep. Renato Magtubo, Partido ng Manggagawa
Before all else, let us say that we were mere messengers with a simple message of peace. That is we called upon President Bush to stop his wars of aggression and for him to bring US troops back to their families.
It an urgent message that the parliament of the streets wished the regular parliament to hear out and take notice of. It was a message that we brought to the attention of President Bush, the Filipino people and the citizens of world through dignified protest within the halls of Congress.
First, we ask anyone who criticizes us for staging a protest within the halls of Congress if our message of peace is wrong.
And finally, we ask them if silently hoisting two small banners writ with "Stop your wars Mr. Bush" and "Bring your troops back home" for a few seconds and then gracefully walking out of the session hall just before Bush started his speech was improper and impolite.
We do not believe that we disgraced the peace-loving Filipino people by our dignified protest for we did it in solidarity with the urban poor living in front of the House of Representatives whose houses were demolished, the victims of toxic wastes left at the former US bases, the world war two veterans who have not been paid their due and the workers and farmers who have been ravaged by unfair trade policies of the US.
We missed out on nothing by walking out just before Mr. Bush spoke. As far as we are concerned, it was not just Laura Bush who did the storytelling but also her husband who regaled the joint session with a fairy tale of Filipino-American friendship.
We are ready to face the consequences of our acts-even as we believe that hoisting banners and walking out just before Bush spoke was well within the limits of dignified protest. If the leadership of the House of Representatives will see fit to file a case against us with the ethics committee and decide to expel us, we will welcome it as the price to pay for being messengers of peace. We will be more than happy to return to being street parliamentarians.