Youth group challenges President Aquino to a debate on pork barrel, corruption

“The police forced me to swallow the banner I was holding. It was about this big.”-Em Mijares

em mijares 2

“We demand trial by combat”

This is what YOUTH ACT NOW , an anti-pork barrel youth group in the country said on Tuesday, as the group challenged President Benigno Aquino III to a “face-to-face-debate” on the pork barrel system and corruption that are hounding the current administration.

The challenge came alongside the snowballing call for Aquino to drop charges against Atene de Naga student Emmanuel Pio “Em” Mijares , who briefly interrupted the president’s Independence speech in Naga City last Thursday.

During the Independence Day commemoration in Naga, Mijares shouted “Walang pagbabago” as he unfurled a red banner. There were other student activists who shouted “Patalsiking ang Pork Barrel King! Walang pagbabago sa ilalin ni Aquino”, a few meters away from president was giving his speech.

em mijares forum
“We were voicing out valid concerns – education woes, budget misprioritization, and corruption.”-Em Mijares

Mijares was immediately whisked away by the Presidential Security Group and was detained for a day. He was eventually charged with “Tumults and other disturbances of public order” and creating “alarm and public scandal”. He was also charged with assault on agent of authority.

em mijares on heckling
“The streamer I was holding states ‘education for all.’ Yet the police insists that it sparked violence.”-Em Mijares

“As we reiterate the call for the dropping of charges against Mijares, we also challenge the president to speak for himself and engage in debate with a student leader from our ranks.” says YOUTH ACT NOW spokesperson Victor Villanueva.

“Instead of filing trumped up charges against youth activists like Mijares, who are only exercising their right to free speech, Aquino should face the criticisms against him head on. We challenge you to a deabte on pork barrel and corruption, Mr. President!”, Villanueva declared.

Photos via @KabataanPL on twitter.

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About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

View all posts by Noemi Lardizabal-Dado
Noemi, Editor of Blog Watch and features editor of Philippine Online Chronicles is a 54 year old mother to three kids and is married to Atty. Luis H. Dado. She loves being a full time mother and homemaker after retiring as a Researcher/Consultant from the UP Institute for Small Scale Industries in 1987. Now that her children are all college graduates, she devotes her time to grief support, blogging, new media events and using her blogs to promote online advocacies. Her personal blog is at, which garnered numerous awards such as Best Website, Blog Category during the 9th and 10th Philippine Web Awards. Her blog also won in the Blog- Personal Category of the Web Awards 2007 and Globelines Broadband Family Blog Award (in honor of family-oriented blogging) 2007 Philippine Blog Award. Globe also recognized her as Digital Elder in the 2009 Philippine Blog Award.

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