by Jonathan Petre
CARDINAL Jaime Sin of Manila this week strongly criticised the Philippine government for the lack of freedom and justice in thecountry and made a strong appeal for reconciliation. Speaking to a large congregation at a special Mass to mark the first anniversary of the assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino, the Cardinal said that the regime led by President Marcos was making a travesty of democracy.
He described the thousands of protesters who marched through Manila on Monday as "the Parliament of the streets." 2 Mr Aquino's widow led 2,000 demonstrators in a candlelit procession from her home to the Santo Domingo church about two miles away, where Aquino's funeral was held.
The demonstrators sang protest songs and many wore yellow, the colour adopted b■ the opposition in the Philippines.
Later, amid tight security, tens of thousands took to the streets and marched to a central city park where they heard anti-government speakers, including Mr Aquino's widow, mother and brother. Meanwhile, Philippine custom officials said that a lifesize bronze statue of Aquino, which was seized at Manila airport, would not be released until several thousand pounds were paid in import duties.
The figure, made in Rome by the Filipino sculptor Thomas Concepcion, was taken to New York where it was blessed by a Catholic priest before being flown to Manila where it was to be used as a centrepiece of the anniversary demonstrations.