February 2008

This is so ridiculous…if this all wasn’t connected to the sad state of our nation, I should be laughing.

Malacañang has so many resources at their disposal…and they can’t get something as simple as a press statement correct.

Example #1: The .5M bribe offered to Lozada

As the Inquirer so astutely pointed out yesterday, the Palace offered no less 3 explanations for where the money came from. As reported in the Inquirer:

The first version had Gaite explaining in a statement that the money had come from him as some sort of personal loan to Lozada.

The second story had Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita saying the money did not come from Gaite but from a “private” anonymous donor.

With Lozada also appearing at the hearing, Gaite Tuesday told the Senate inquiry that he volunteered to give that much money out of pity after Lozada texted him at 2 a.m. on Feb. 3 saying he was in dire need of funds.

Gaite said the P500,000 came partly from his uncle and from his sister-in-law and was to be used for the renovation of his in-laws’ house. Later, he said the money was part of the P1.5 million he had advanced from his uncle, Melquiades Gaite, in exchange for a piece of land that Gaite planned to sell to him.

Example #2: GMA’s readio statement that she heard about the anomaly

On DZRH, GMA stated that she heard about the anomaly before the signing, but could not cancel the project because it would be “rude” to the Chinese government. In her words,

“Kaya itong proyektong ito, oras na may pag-uusap na may anomalya, ay agad-agad kong kinansela, agad-agad na gumawa ako ng hakbang para kanselahin.”

Apparently, 5 months (and in an atmosphere of deafening political clamour) is agad-agad.

Then, my best friend, Raul Gonzalez, stated that eventhough GMA knew about flaws, she is not legally responsible for not cancelling it right away because the flaws were not proven. Furthermore, he stated that she cancelled the project due to “political hullaballoo” and not due to any flaws.

Then, Deputy Presidential Spokesman, Anthony Golez, stated, “The President categorically denies that she said that the deal, or the contract, is flawed. It was misinterpreted. It was lost in translation.” Favila stated that he “studied” the transcript of the interview and GMA did not say the project was flawed.

Today, the Palace admitted that GMA said the word “anomalya” but the new explanation is that GMA did not say there was an anomaly, but was referring to insinuations that there might have been an anomaly. Ang labo naman.

Come on people.



The current crisis has elicited a huge debate. Groups are divided on calls for resignation, ouster, or no call at all.

But one thing we all agree on is the need to change the system. And as a large constituency of people dedicated to reform, it is imperative that we are united in this call for real change.

And that is the idea behind BUSINA! BUSINA! is the symbol for the broad forces who want change, wherever you stand on what to do with GMA as a person.


Bumubusina tayo if there is an obstacle in front of us.

The broken system is the obstacle to the basic quality of life that we all aspire to.

Everyone can participate in a Busina.

In a literal busina, participation can range from high-commitment activities like organizing and printing banners, to    low-commitment activities like blowing your horn when you pass by. Similarly, in BUSINA! the movement, participation can range from organizing groups and disseminating the message to simply displaying the symbol or talking about it.


The need for change is felt among the vast majority of people in the country. However, there are 3 main reasons that are currently preventing people from acting:

1. Uncertainty – People do not like GMA, but feel that there will be no real change if there is a new president.

2. Indifference – People are still able to ignore the situation and go on with their lives.

3. Exclusion – People do not feel that they are part of the movement because no one is showing them next steps, or they are weary of the groups that have been vocal.

 Proliferating this movement will address these three barriers in the following way:

1.      Uncertainty – Proliferating the message that we have tangible reform goals no matter who sits as president will answer uncertainty.

2.      Indifference – Think “Project Kalat.” The message has to be everywhere so that people can no longer ignore what is going on. Exposure in mass media is important, but do not underestimate simple reminders such as stickers, slogans, posters, armbands, and most importantly, people have to be talking about it.

3.      Exclusion – Related to indifference, people must feel that they are a part of what is going on. There must be more outreach beyond our regular circles. Communication is key – people must be constantly informed of activities and developments. Rallies are not the only way to be involved, displaying a symbol or repeating a slogan also makes you part of the movement (and is low cost).

 What You Can Do

1. If you are part of an organization, add the symbol and name to your materials, or use the sample materials above and add your organization’s name.

2. Spread the word. At this point, this is largely a propaganda war, a war of public opinion, and a war of taking advantage of the tangible frustration of the unorganized people, whatever class they may come from.



Lunes, 25 ng Pebrero


3 PM – Baclaran Church


                    Misa Para Sa Katotohanan

Pres. Cory Aquino

                                       Mr. Jun Lozada

                                      Black and White Movement


5 – 8PM – Ateneo, Quezon City


A Concert for Truth, Accountability and Reform

                                      Team RP



Biyernes, 29 ng Pebrero


5 PM – Ayala Avenue, Makati   

                             Pres. Cory Aquino





We ask everyone to join the Busina
para sa Katotohanan tonight at 6 pm at the various designated points
closest to your places or work, study, residence or worship. Among
CEAP schools, the following are the converging points in Metro Manila:
Katipunan (Ateneo/Miriam), Espana (UST), Taft (De la Salle
University-College of St. Benilde), outside ULTRA-Pasig (Pasig
Catholic College), Ortigas (La Salle Greenhills).

Busina para sa Katotohanan will also be held in the following
provincial city centers: San Fernando Pampanga, Imus, Legazpi, Naga,
Daet, Olongapo, Jaro, Iloilo, Bacolod, and Davao.

We encourage you to attend the SLB’s Kuwentong Bayan on Feb. 23, 1 pm
at Irwin Theater, Ateneo Grade School; the Mass for Truth and
Accountability at Adamson University on Feb. 24, 10 am; and Team RP’s
rock concert for Truth, Accountability and Reform on Feb. 25, 4-8 pm
at the Ateneo de Manila. We will also post an announcement to
coordinate and consolidate our participation in the planned interfaith
rally on Feb. 29. We will call an assembly before that date, so
please stay tuned.

Ipaglaban ang Katotohanan, Pananagutan at Tunay na Pagbabago!

The CBCP has announces a NATION-WIDE NOISE BARRAGE on Friday, February 22 at 6-7 PM.kitchen_potspans.jpg

This is an excellent way for us to show our frustration and get together and have a great time!

Points of convergence will happen in major universities. In the Metro Manila Area this includes UP, Ateneo, De La Salle and UST. I would imagine

Groups will also be meeting at the corner of Timog and EDSA.

Bring your drums, pots, pans and dancing shoes! FIESTA NA TAYO!

In related news, Police Senior Supt. Nicanor Bartolome has warned police not to join in any rallies.

In other words, rank and file police WANT to join rallies, otherwise there would be no need for this warning.

Let us keep in mind that our police are overworked, underpaid and, most importantly, that they are people too who also want to see something better for the nation. So let us not push away the police with anger, but invite them to join our cause.

And, just for laughs:

kahit hindi po tayo miembro ni itong mga organisasyon, dapat sama sama tayong lahat. now is not the time to think of our traditional divisions, isa lang ang kalaban.

tuloy-tuloy ang laban para sa katotohan, pananagutan at reporma
 Writing Alumni particularly Neri
 Alumni gathering s to discuss ZTE
 Ombudsman Watch
 Sumilao walk (SLB)
  Writing Pro-GMA Bishops
 Senate Tours (SOG)
 Signature Campaign for truth
 Revise Procurement Act
 Repealing E.O. 464
 Proposal for Independent Counsel (SOG)
 Convince LGUs to make a ZTE stand
Pray, Watch, and Act Movement (PWAM)
 Translating Fr. Manoling’s Sermon to different dialects
 Disseminating Fr. Manoling’s Sermon
22 Feb
Watch & Pray
 National Noise Barrage (all over Metro Manila and outside) from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
 Bell Ringing in Churches from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
ADMU  Pol. Science
 EDSA an Intellectual Discussion at the Ateneo from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
23 Feb
 KWENTONG BAYAN at Ateneo Grade School from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
25 Feb
 Youth Concert on TAR from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Ateneo de Manila University
 Political Education Materials ( E.g. Translating US$ 130 M to classrooms; to hospitals, etc.)
 Disseminating credible statements through internet, e-mail, etc.
 Regular weekly updating of projects
Al Alegre’s Group
 One Portal for all TAR information and activities
 Training on E-mail and Website Security
29 Feb
 Inter Faith Rally at Luneta?

An Anonymous Voice From the Left

Dear Friends, Comrades, mga Kapatid, mga Kababayan:

Activists from all over the world celebrate the Filipino people for EDSA I. It was a glorious triumph of democracy over dictatorship, of peace over violence, and of the will of the people over the force of a dictator. Yet, as Filipinos, when we hear these compliments we utter a bitter smirk. Yes, EDSA I was a triumph, but where did it get us?

As we prepare to celebrate the anniversary of EDSA I, we must look at it in its entirety and learn from it. Yes, it was a gargantuan victory as a dictator was toppled, democratic institutions were reinstalled and democratic space was won. Yet, it was also a failure, as those institutions were and remain semi-democratic at best, the democratic space that exists is too tight to allow meaningful maneuvers, and the vile social structure of so many that have so little, so few that have so much, a middle class that chooses voluntary exile, and a president who exists above the law remain well in tact.

What was the mistake in 1986? WE, the progressive forces, the democratic left, the forces for change, whatever we call ourselves, were too proud, too knowledgeable, and too ideologically pure to join in the new order. As a result, the cooperating elite forces designed our so-called democracy according to their terms without the progressive forces to mediate, moderate, and most importantly guide, which, of course, resulted in the perpetuation of the vile system. In protecting our purity, we victimized our own masa, whose interests we claim to embody.

Then came EDSA II, which was answered by EDSA III. As the “EDSA Factors” appear to be once again coagulating, it is time for us to ask ourselves: What have we learned?

As the Lozada testimony is the talk of the town, 1 public rally and 2 public masses showing support for Jun have been held in the past 5 days. These gatherings have a different, exciting character that was not present in the first 3 EDSA revolutions. These gatherings have been heavily populated by the middle classes (the steady middle class and the new middle class that depends on OFW remittances), and middle-upper classes. The centers have not been UP, but Makati, LaSalle and Ateneo. These people are not trained and hardened activists, but unorganized numbers searching for a venue to release their frustration. At these gatherings I heard several people say “I’m 43 (55, 62) years old and I’ve never joined anything like this before.”

Yet, it is this exact characteristic which the democratic left seems to be wary of. These gatherings are not real rallies because they lack aggressive speeches. These gatherings are not pure because JDV is welcome to attend. This is not a real movement because the people are unorganized. This cannot be called a mass movement because it is centered in the middle class and not in the masa. As a result, the appearance and involvement of the democratic left has been depressingly lackluster as we continue our decades-long debate about what form the revolution should take.

It appears we have not learned from the past. WE, the progressive forces, the democratic left, the forces for change, will once again be left in the dust as another opportunity for meaningful change is wasted, as magbabago ang ulo pero maiiwan ang katawan. More importantly, the masa will be left in the dust as we continue to pursue the same strategies of non-cooperation with the middle and elite classes and all or nothing that have brought us nowhere in the past 22 years.

I wish to argue that what is happening has the potential to turn into a mass movement. People, no matter what class, gathering in large numbers, not because someone is pushing them but because they believe in something, is the definition of a social movement. But whether or not you believe that argument, you must believe this, it is our role, as the democratic left, to spread this movement out of Makati, LaSalle and Ateneo, into the communities, sectors and classes whose interests we claim to live, work and breathe for. It is our role to turn this into a mass movement.

Yes, the newly mobilized middle classes are not activists. But we are activists. If they do not know how bring their message to the unorganized masa, we must teach them; if they do not know how to approach laborer/farmer/peasant/indigenous/women groups, we must show them how; if they are not going around organizing and training students, we must do it for and with them.

Why should we work with them? Because we all want the same short term goals, which are the end of the GMA administration, the reform of a corrupt system, and free and fair elections. We may disagree on our broad ideologies, but we agree that these are the immediate obstacles to our various long term goals.

But, perhaps more importantly, if there is anything we should have learned from our EDSA experiences, it is that we want bargaining chips when this is all over so that we can influence the future. And those bargaining chips only come in the form of weight of our participation and the numbers we draw.

And by the way, they’re ready. Yesterday, when I asked a taxi driver if he would join in a movement to remove GMA, he responded, with a grin, “Oo, e.” They are waiting for us to take it to them. Where are we?

‘Time to Go: A Call to Our Colleagues in Government’
We are former government officials who have held high positions in the current and
previous administrations. Having participated in the highest level of governance up close
and personal, we now feel compelled to speak up for our demoralized public servants and
arrest the decline of our institutions of governance. In the past, many of us kept quiet,
going on about our daily chores, attending to business as usual.
However, over the last few days, we, together with the rest of the country, have seen one
man — Jun Lozada — finally decide that he can no longer be part of the massive graft and
corruption that permeates this government. His testimony exposed that the corruption in
the project he dealt with — the NBN-ZTE project — is standard in what he called
“dysfunctional government procurement processes.”
Clearly, what Jun Lozada knew so terrified the powers-that-be that they unwittingly
exposed what Jun called “the dark side of the state” — state-sponsored terrorism that had
been rearing its ugly head in the various disappearances and extrajudicial killings in the
past six years — and which almost took him as a victim in a botched kidnapping that the
administration has been trying, with little success, to cover up.
In a sense, all Jun Lozada did was to confirm what we already know: our country is
sliding into moral decadence. He also confirmed the systematic destruction of our
democratic institutions and the systemic nature of our problems. We have seen this in the
wanton disregard of checks-and-balances; abuse of the powers of the President; the
cooptation through patronage and outright bribery of the other branches of government;
politically sponsored corruption, facilitated, not thwarted, by bureaucratic procedures; the
naked us of power and authority through the PNP (Philippine National Police), PSG
(Presidential Security Group), NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport), among
others, to strangle the truth; and the deployment of cabinet, sub-cabinet officials, and the
military to obstruct justice and cover up illegal orders and acts.
In the past, for too many times that we were confronted with threats to our democracy and
moral values, our response was: “What can we do about it? What is our choice” who will
lead us?”
These questions persist but, today, we can no longer stay silent. We can no longer ignore
the reality of a government gone wild, wreaking havoc on our rights and institutions in a
climate of impunity. We can no longer console ourselves in the strength of the peso,
narrowing deficits, and an expanding economy. Even these ephemeral gains have not
translated into a better life for the majority of our people, especially the poor.
The future of our country is at stake. Our democratic institutions are under attack. What
we stand to lost is the moral fabric of our society.
We call on all government officials — Cabinet secretaries, undersecretaries, heads of
agencies — who know about these anomalous transactions to join the heroic stand of Jun
Lozada to come forward and speak out. We call on all those who know about the
extrajudicial killings and disappearances to go public and tell the truth. We call on all
those who can no longer endure this wrongful governance, with its structures of evil and
unmoderated greed: IT IS TIME TO CUT CLEAN! IT IS TIME TO GO!
Tama na! Sobra na! Panahon na!
1. Florencio Abad (Former Secretary, Department of Education)
2. Tomas Africa (Former Administrator, National Statistics Office)
3. Tomas Apacible (Former Undersecretary, Department of Finance OR
commissioner, bureau of Customs)
4. Senon Bacani (Former Secretary, Department of Agriculture)
5. Gerardo Bulatao (Former Undersecretary, Department of Agrarian Reform)
6. Clifford Burkley (Former Undersecretary, Department of Social Work and
7. Jose Cuisia (Former Governor, Bang Sentral ng Pilipinas)
8. Sostenes Campillo (Former Undersecretary, Department of Tourism)
9. Karina Constatino-David (Former Chair, Civil Service Commission)
10. Elfren Cruz (Former Head, Presidential Management Staff)
11. Teresita Quintos Delos (Former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process)
12. Benjamin Diokno (Former Secretary-General, National Economic Development
13. Franklin Drilon (Former Executive Secretary)
14. Jesus Estanislao (Former Secretary, Department of Finance)
15. Fulgencio Factoran Jr. (Former Secretary, Department of Environment and
Natural Resources)
16. Victoria Garchitorena (Former Head, presidential Management Staff)
17. Ernesto Garilao (Former Secretary, Department of Agrarian Reform)
18. Jose Luis Gascon (Former Undersecretary, Department of Education)
19. Marietta Goco (Former Chair, Presidential Commission to Fight Poverty)
20. Jose Antonio Gonzalez (Former Minister, Ministry of Tourism)
21. Milwilda Guevarra (Former Undersecretary, Department of Finance)
22. Cielito Habito (Former Secretary-General, National Economic Development
23. Edilberto de Jesus, Jr. (Former Secretary, Department of Education)
24. Antonio La Vina (Former Undersecretary, Department of Environment and
Natural Resources)
25. Benjamin Laguesma (Former Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment)
26. Lina Laigo (Former Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development)
27. Ernest Leung (Former Secretary, Department of Finance)
28. Josefina Lichauco (Former Secretary, Department of Transportation and
29. Narzalina Lim (Former Secretary, Department of Tourism)
30. Juan Miguel Luz (Former Undersecretary, Department of Education)
31. Felipe Medalla (Former Secretary-General, National Economic Development
32. Vitaliano Nañagas (Former President, Development Bank of the Philippines)
33. Imelda Nicolas (Former Lead Convenor, National Anti-Poverty Commission)
34. Ernesto Ordoñez (Former Undersecretary, Presidential Flagship Programs and
35. Victor Ordoñez (Former Undersecretary, Department of Education)
36. Vicente Paterno (Former Minister, Ministry of Trade and Industry)
37. Jose Pardo (Former Secretary, Department of Finance)
38. Cesar Purisima (Former Secretary, Department of Finance)
39. Victor Ramos (Former Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural
40. Amina Rasul (Former Chair, National Youth Commission)
41. Albert Del Rosario (Former Ambassador to United States of America)
42. Francisco Del Rosario (Former Chair, Development Bank of the Philippines)
43. Ramon Del Rosario (Former Secretary, Department of Finance)
44. Melito Salazar (Former member of the Monetary Board, Bangko Sentral ng
45. Leticia Ramos-Shahani (Former Undersecretary, Department of Foreign Affairs)
46. Cesar Sarino (Former Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government)
47. Juan Santos (Former Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry)
48. Corazon Juliano-Soliman (Former Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and
49. Hector Soliman (Former Undersecretary, Department of Agrarian Reform)
50. Mario Taguiwalo (Former Undersecretary, Department of Health)
51. Wigberto Tañada (Former Commissioner, Bureau of Customs)
52. Rene Villa (Former Secretary, Department of Agrarian Reform)
53. Veronica F. Villavicencio (Former Lead Convenor, National Anti-Poverty
54. Deogracias Vislan (Former President, Land Bank of the Philippines)


17 FEBRUARY 2008

Fr. Manoling

On this Second Sunday of Lent, during which we are asked to reflect on the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, I wish to touch on three themes that have to do with our moral transformation as a people:  first, Ascertaining Credibility; second, Rediscovering our Humanity; and third, Witnessing to the Truth.  In so doing, I hope to invite all of you to reflect more deeply on how we, as a nation, might respond to the present political crisis in which our identity and ethos, our convictions and integrity, in fact, who we are as a people, are at stake.


Jun, as Sen. Miriam Santiago has grilled you to ascertain your credibility (or was it to undermine your credibility?), allow me to raise some important questions to consider in the very process of discerning your credibility.  Allow me to do so by drawing on my own counseling experience.

Very often, a young rape victim initially suppresses his or her awful and painful story, indeed wills to forget it, in the hope that by forgetting, he or she can pretend it never happened.   But very often, too, there comes a point when concealing the truth becomes unbearable, and the desperate attempts to supposedly preserve life and sanity become increasingly untenable.

At this point the victim of abuse decides to seek help.  But even after having taken this step, the victim, devastated and confused, will tell his or her story with much hesitation and trepidation.  It should be easy to imagine why. In telling the truth, one risks casting shame on himself or herself, subjecting oneself to intense scrutiny and skepticism, and jeopardizing one’s safety and those of his or her loved ones, especially when one dares to go up against an older or more powerful person. 

Similarly, it is easy to imagine why Jun would initially refuse to challenge the might of Malacanang.   Who in his or her right mind would accuse Malacanang of crimes against our people and implicate the First Family in a sordid tale of greed and corruption, knowing that by doing so, one endangers one’s life and the lives of his or her loved ones? We are, after all, living in dangerous times, where the government has not hesitated to use everything in its power to keep itself in power, where it has yet to explain and solve the numerous cases of extra-judicial killings.  

But Jun is in his right mind.  His story rings true especially in the face of the perils that he has had to face.  And by his courage, Jun has also shown that it is not only that he is in his right mind; his heart is also in the right place.

Hence, my personal verdict: Jun, I believe that you are a credible witness.  And if hundreds have gathered here this morning, it is probably because they also believe in you.  Mga kapatid, naniniwala ba kayo kay Jun Lozada? Naniniwala ba kayo sa kanyang testimonya?  Kung gayon, palakpakan po natin ang Probinsyanong Intsik, si Mr. Jun Lozada.

Jun, we hope that by our presence here, you may find some consolation.  Pope Benedict XVI writes that “con-solatio” or consolation means “being with the other in his or her solitude, so that it ceases to be solitude.”  Jun, be assured that your solitude is no longer isolation as we profess our solidarity with you.  Hindi ka nag-iisa.  We are committed to stay the course and to do our best to protect you and your family and the truth you have proclaimed.  


What makes Jun a credible witness to us? 

I think Jun is credible not simply by virtue of his being an eyewitness to the unmitigated greed of some of our public officials. Perhaps more importantly, Jun is credible because he has witnessed to us what it means to be truly human.

Which leads me to my second theme:  What does it mean to be human?  How might we rediscover our humanity?      

Allow me to quote Pope Benedict XVI, who in his latest encyclical, Spe Salvi, has written:   “the capacity to accept suffering for the sake of goodness, truth and justice is an essential criterion of humanity, because if my own well-being and safety are ultimately more important than truth and justice, then the power of the stronger prevails, then violence and untruth reign supreme.  Truth and justice must stand above my comfort and physical well-being, or else my life becomes a lie. . . For this … we need witnesses—martyrs ….  We need them if we are to prefer goodness to comfort, even in the little choices we face each day.”

Our Holy Father concludes, “the capacity to suffer for the sake of the truth is the measure of humanity.”

Isn’t this the reason we emulate our martyrs: Jose Rizal, Gomburza, Evelio Javier, Macli-ing Dulag, Cesar Climaco and Ninoy Aquino?  They have borne witness for us what it means to be truly human—to be able to suffer for the sake of others and for the sake of the truth.

I remember Cory recalling a conversation she had with Ninoy while they were in exile in Boston.  Cory asked Ninoy what he thought might happen to him once he set foot in Manila.  Ninoy said there were three possibilities: one, that he would be rearrested and detained once more in Fort Bonifacio; two, that he would be held under house arrest; and three, that he would be assassinated.

      “Then why go home?” Cory asked.

      To which Ninoy answered:  “Because I cannot allow myself to die a senseless death, such as being run over by a taxi cab in New York.  I have to go home and convince Ferdinand Marcos to set our people free.”

Witnessing to one’s deepest convictions, notwithstanding the consequences, is the measure of our humanity.  Proclaiming the truth to others, whatever the cost, is the mark of authentic humanity. 

Jun, we know you have feared for your life and continue to do so.  But in transcending your fears for yourself and your family, you have reclaimed your humanity.  And your courage and humility, despite harassment and calumniation by government forces, embolden us to retrieve and reclaim our humanity tarnished by our cowardice and complicity with sin in the world.  You have inspired us to be true to ourselves and to submit to and serve the truth that transcends all of us.


This leads us to our third and last theme: witnessing to the truth.  In his encyclical,  Pacem in Terris, Pope John XXIII exhorts that it is the fundamental duty of the government to uphold the truth: “A political society is to be considered well-ordered, beneficial and in keeping with human dignity if it grounded on truth.”   Moreover, the encyclical explains that unless a society is anchored on the truth, there can be no authentic justice, charity and freedom. 

Every government is therefore obliged to serve the truth if it is to truly serve the people.  Its moral credibility and authority over a people is based on the extent of its defense of and submission to the truth.  Insofar as a government is remiss in upholding the truth, insofar as a government actively suppresses the truth, it loses its authority vested upon it by the people.

At this juncture, allow me to raise a delicate question: At what point does an administration lose its moral authority over its constituents?

First, a clear tipping point is the surfacing of hard evidence signifying undeniable complicity of certain government officials in corruption and injustice, evidence that can be substantiated in court.

Hence, during the Marcos Regime, the manipulation of Snap Election results as attested to by the tabulators who walked out of the PICC was clear evidence of the administration’s disregard for and manipulation of the collective will of the people in order to remain in power..

During the Erap Administration, the testimony of Clarissa Ocampo, claiming that Pres. Erap had falsified Equitable Bank documents by signing as Jose Velarde, was the smoking gun that triggered the rage of our people.

Allow me to respond to the same question by pursue an alternative track of argument: an administration loses it moral authority over its people when it fails in its fundamental duty to uphold the truth, when it is constituted by an ethos of falsehood.  When a pattern of negligence in investigating the truth, suppressing the truth and harassing those who proclaim the truth is reasonably established, then a government, in principle, loses its right to rule over and represent the people.

Regarding negligence: Do the unresolved cases, such as the the failed automation of the national elections, the fertilizer scam, the extra-judicial killings, and the “Hello, Garci” scandal, constitute negligence on the part of the GMA Administartion to probe and ferret out the truth?                                   

Regarding covering-up the truth:  Does the abduction of Jun Lozada and the twisting and manipulation of his narrative by Malacanang’s minions constitute concealment of the truth?  Was the padlocking of the office of Asst. Gov’t Counsel Gonzales who testified before the Senate regarding the North Rail project anomaly an instance of covering-up the truth?

Regarding the suppression of the truth: Does the issuance and implementation of E.O. 464, which prevents government officals from testifying in Senate hearings without Malacanang’s permission, constitute suppression of the truth?  Was the prevention of AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Senga and six other officers from testifying before the Senate with regard the “Hello, Garci” scandal tantamount to a suppression of the truth?  Was disallowing Brig. Gen. Quevedo, Lt. Col Capuyan and Lt. Col. Sumayo from appearing before the Lower House an instance of hindering the truth from surfacing?

And regarding harassment of those who proclaim the truth: Are the abduction of Jun Lozada and the decision to court-marshall Gen. Gudani and Col. Balutan for disregarding Malacanang’s order not to testify before the Senate examples of punishing those who come forth to tell the truth?

            By conflating one’s responses to all these questions does one arrive not at hard evidence showing culpapility on the part of some government officials, but a ghestalt, an image which nonetheless demands our assessment and judgment.  I invite all of you then to consider these two methods of evaluating and judging the moral credibility of any government, the moral credibility of our present government.

            Allow me to end with a few words about an Ignatian virtue, familiaritas cum Deo. To become familiar with God involves the illumination of the intellect, coming to know who God is and what God wills. But it also involves the conversion of the affect, the reconfiguration of the heart.  Becoming familiar with God entails trasforming and conforming my thinking, my feeling and my doing in accordance to the Lord’s, which can only be the work of grace.

            Familiarity with God thus entail rejoicing in what God delights—the truth; abhoring what God detests—falsehood; being pained by what breaks the heart of God—the persecution of truth-seekers.  Familiary with God means sharing the passion of God for the truth and the pathos of God whenever the truth and the bearers of truth are overcome by the forces of the lie.

            On this Second Sunday of Lent, as we contemplate the transfiguration of Jesus Christ on Mount Horeb, we pray that our hearts and minds be so transfigured and so conformed to the mind, heart and will of the Jesus, our way, our life, and our truth.

            May the Lord bless and protect you, Jun, and your family.  May the Lord bless and guide us all into the way of truth.  Amen.

At a roundtable discussion right after the Palace Bribery scandal erupted, Manolo Quezon posited that the bribery itself was not necessarily the issue. We all know that bribery happens with regularity in Malacañang. The key factor, however, that made the October incident so infuriating was that it was done so brazenly, so in the open, without hiya.

The dirty tricks, lies and cover ups that Malacañang is currently pulling out in full force are nothing new. However, what is new is that they are now being openly discussed and actively circulated. Let us support, celebrate, and fixate on the statements of Jun Lozada, Violeta Lozada, Ramon del Rosario and Joey de Venecia. They may not be saints, but you don’t have to be a saint to tell the truth.

Dear Friends,

Here’s a short write-up that Jun Lozada wrote sometime in October. He wanted me to disseminate it without attribution. I believe he was motivated both by his genuine concern for a beleaguered friend who was maligned no end, and his desire, even then, for the truth to somehow surface. He left it up to me as to how and when to disseminate it. I did not find any compelling reason to get it out then. But now that Jun has told it all, and Neri is being invited back to testify, I believe the publicdeserves to know what was (and maybe still is) in the mind of Neri – at least from the point of view of a friend. I’m sure Jun will not mind.

Let’s get this out in the open. God bless,

What is Neri afraid to say and Why?

Many speculations have been made as to what Neri knows about the ZTE-NBN most particularly the direct involvement of Pres. Gloria Arroyo in this abominable affair. After his damaging “Sec. May 200 ka dito” demolition of Abalos, the discredited former Comelec Chairman, many were left disappointed when Neri suddenly clamped up when the Senators started asking him about the nature of his conversation with Arroyo, no amount of coaxing, cajoling and threats was enough to break his Code of Omerta. The question on many people’s mind was, What was Neri trying to protect when he repeatedly invoked “Executive Priviledge” during that gruelling 12 hour Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on live television?

We have known the Truth all along as one of the few people that Neri confided his predicament during those fateful days of April 2006, and how he wanted to resign his post of NEDA Director General and Secretary for Socio-Economic Planning over this incident where he lost all his moral respect for Pres. Gloria Arroyo.

We are doing this document to give the public an understanding of this predicament.

What is Neri afraid to tell the public? He is afraid to tell the public that after he reported the Abalos P200 million peso bribe offer, Arroyo casually told him to ignore it and work for its recommendation for approval anyway. That when he protested that it is too controversial and may attract the wrong kind of attention from media, Arroyo retorted back “Pakulo lang ni Joey yan and his father”. When he tried to reason that it may not be accommodated in the Chinese ODA package because it has been filled up with a list of projects already, Arroyo again ordered him to remove the low cost housing project and some water project to accommodate the ZTE-NBN deal in the ODA loan. That when he attempted to reason that it may not be approved in time for the Boao Forum which was only two days to go from that fateful April day, Arroyo with raised voice told him to include the ZTE-NBN project in the agenda of the following day’s meeting of a combined NEDA Board and Cabinet Committee, who as expected promptly approved the project paving the way for the contract signing between ZTE and DOTC in China the next day. Neri is afraid to tell the public that this conversation took place between him and Arroyo because it might spark another impeachment complaint against Arroyo.

Why is Neri afraid to tell the public about this conversation with Arroyo? He is afraid that another impeachment will simply result to more expenses of public funds similar to the Hyatt 10 impeachment crisis, because as DBM Secretary who replaced Boncodin, he was entrusted with the large scale DBM payola operation of Arroyo to Congressmen, Senators and Governors not quite similar to the crude Panlilio incident that the public is witnessing now. He is afraid with a more partisan Andaya at the helm of DBM, more public funds will be spent to buy the silence and favour of these greedy legislators and local executives.

He is afraid that with Arroyo’s firm control of public funds she can buy all the necessary support from most sectors of society to keep her in power.

He is afraid that even if the opposition knows about this conversation with Arroyo, he is afraid that the opposition will not pursue a serious impeachment proceedings against Arroyo, because it is not to their political interest that Noli de Castro becomes President in case Arroyo is impeached and becomes a more formidable political opponent in 2010. This insincere and unpatriotic goal of the opposition is already being manifested by the malicious speed that the Erap pardon is being cooked by Ronnie Puno together with the Erap camp to hastily put a united front of “Birds of the same corrupt feather” coalition against the emerging JDV led political opposition.

He is afraid that even if the Church knows the truth about Arroyo’s direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN deal, the Church will still not call for her resignation due to the closeness of Arroyo’s trusted lady liason to the Cardinal of Manila who was very effective during the “Hello Garci” crisis. That Arroyo’s Religious Affairs Operators have the Bishops firmly in their “donation” graces, as again manifested by the quick rebuttal of the Mindanao Bishops’ of the call of their fellow bishops in Luzon who where calling for the resignation of Arroyo just after Arroyo gave them a visit in Mindanao.

He is afraid that even if the military knows the truth about Arroyo’s direct involvement in the fraudulent ZTE-NBN deal, the AFP brass is much to indebted to Arroyo for their position and the perks that goes with their position, that they have demonstrated this twisted loyalty with their willingness to detain, remove from the service and even shoot their own men for voicing out their legitimate concerns regarding the corruption and moral authority of their Commander in Chief. It is a sad spectacle to see the respected warriors of the Marines & Special Forces rot in jail with their ideals, while their men are dying even without receiving the measly P150 per day combat pay that was promised to them by Arroyo due to lack of funds & generals gets a gift bag similar to those given to the governors and congressmen just for having dinner with Arroyo the day after that infamous breakfast & lunch meeting where bribe money flowed scandalously free.

He is afraid that even if the Media knows the truth about Arroyo’s direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN scam, Media will simply wither in the torrents of cash and favors similar to how the Hyatt 10, Hello Garci crisis were killed in the media headlines and Radio& TV coverages. Although he believes in the integrity of a handful of Journalist, he believes that a handful of these mavericks cannot withstand the hordes of paid lackeys of Malacanang. Especially that the Arroyo crisis team is now being handled by the best mercenary money can buy, from Ramos Sulo Operation, Erap’s DILG and now Arroyo’s troubleshooter, Ronnie Puno. Ably supported by the Media and PR money from PAGCOR being handled by Cerge Remonte to buy positive airtime, headlines and editorials.

He is afraid that even if the Business Sector knows about the truth of Arroyo’s direct involvement to defraud the coffers of the taxes they are paying, the businessmen will be reluctant to rock the boat of the current economic uptrend, especially with the very close personal and business relationship of the so called leaders of the big business like Ricky Razon of ICTSI, Donald Dee of PCCI and Francis Chua of the Filipino-Chinese Federation to Arroyo herself. He is afraid that the hard earned remittances of Filipino OFWs that is keeping the economy booming and that can keep the economy afloat even under any administration is being wasted under this unholy alliance of Arroyo and her favoured businessmen.

He is afraid that even if the Civil Society knows the truth about Arroyo’s direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN deal, that the Civil Society is now tired of mass actions after witnessing two failed EDSA revolutions, that Civil Society is now afflicted with a “Rally Fatigue” and cannot muster enough public outrage to denounce Arroyo’s “corruption with impunity”. He is afraid that the middle class is now indifferent to the corruption that goes around them, not realising that the middle class are the ones mainly carrying the burden of the loan payments for these corrupt deals. He is afraid that the middle class are more interested to become an OFW & to leave this country leaving their family and children behind, and may not care anymore about the crimes being committed against their country by its own President.

He is afraid that even if the Masa, the students, the workers knows the truth about Arroyo’s direct involvement in the ZTE-NBN deal to steal precious resources from public funds, that they are now too poor and impoverished to be able to afford the time to join mass actions against the abuses of the Arroyo administration, that these former vanguards of mass actions in the country are now completely dependent on financial resources of professional organizers and have turned themselves into a “Rally for hire” groups rather than a true and genuine political gathering shouting for reforms.

He is afraid that the public may not know the extent of corruption in this country and may wrongly believe that they can cure corruption by simply replacing Arroyo with another person. He is afraid that the public may overlook the systemic and institutionalized nature of the source of corruption in this country, he is afraid that the people will again opt for a regime change without concern or a plan to correct the root causes of corruption in the country. He is afraid that people may not realize that it is not bringing Arroyo down that is difficult, it is establishing a new order that is the difficult task.

This is the predicament of Neri which I want people to realize especially to those who are asking Neri to tell the truth.

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