Social media fuels massive Philippine anti-graft rally

 Social media fuels massive Philippine anti-graft rally
A protester wears a pig mask during a rally against corruption dubbed as a "million people march" at a park in Manila on August 26, 2013. People gathered in a central Manila park on August 26 to protest against embedded corruption in the Philippine political system after a rallying call on Facebook and Twitter.

MANILA - Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the Philippine capital on Monday to voice outrage at corrupt politicians, in a modern-day "People Power" rally fuelled by social media.

The march, emulated on a smaller scale in other cities around the country, was the largest anti-graft demonstration since President Benigno Aquino was elected in 2010 on a platform to fight corruption.

The protesters ranged from members of the clergy and students to businessmen, middle-class families, lawyers and other professionals, in a sign of the breadth of anger over graft in the impoverished nation.

But while few called for the ousting of Aquino, whose personal ratings remain high, there was widespread fury with politicians.

"We are all angry at all the stealing of the politicians. We are telling them that time is up," said 80-year-old, retired university professor Teodoro Jurado.

Organisers said the rally drew up to 400,000 people while the police estimate was a maximum of 100,000.

Urban planner Paulo Alcazaren estimated 250,000-300,000 attended, based on the park's size and aerial photographs he took.

Calls for protest began circulating on Facebook and Twitter about two weeks ago after a series of newspaper articles about a major scam involving legislators' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The fund is money allocated for lawmakers to be used in their pet development projects. Critics charge they are "pork barrel" projects which have traditionally been a source of corruption.

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