Sunday, February 17, 2008



I am but a simple educator living at another extraordinary time in recent Philippine history. A time when some people have apparently risen above their natural tendency to seek their comfort zones, and the misleading security of obscurity in numbers, and make another stand for the Truth to prevail in our land. Living in a southern city several hundreds of kilometers from the busy streets of Makati, I had to content myself to watching last Friday’s rally with interest but only through the confines of a television screen. And yet I felt that I was there in spirit. I felt the same way when I saw footages of the Mass for Truth and sang silently within my heart when the mass goers sang “Bayan Ko” at the end of that Sunday service. I felt emotions and convictions that were there 22 to 25 years ago when I, together with millions of other Filipinos, joined the funeral march for Ninoy Aquino and the anti-Marcos rallies from 1983 to 1986. Can Jun Lozano’s apparent abduction at the NAIA airport last month and his disclosures regarding the NBN-ZTE deal signal the start of another people Power revolution that will continue the work the we began in EDSA I? Sure people have rallied against GMA before. But Malacanang’s resolve to stay in power at all cost proved to be too much for a people who were still reeling from the frustrations brought about by EDSA II back then. At this point in time it is really still too early to tell. The movement for truth may soon falter and ground to a stop. But somehow it feels different this time around. As in EDSA I, it almost feels like there’s a guiding force out there that is making the right things fall in place at the right time. Jun Lozada’s story speaks of a man who was too involved in shady government deals and a man too afraid to stand out for the truth. But God may have other plans for Jun Lozada. Like Moses, Lozada seems to be a timid man forced by the Lord to serve as a spokesman for the truth at a trying time. His message then to the Egyptians seems to be directed to Malacanang this time around. That message was “Set my people free”!

More importantly, after hearing this call to stand for the truth once more, I ask myself “what should a simple educator like me do? Should we just watch the people in Manila, including the La Salle brothers stationed there, to keep the spirit of EDSA alive from the comfort and safety of our homes? Shouldn’t we, as Christians rise above our comfort zones and actively participate in this growing movement for moral renewal in our land? Should we not go beyond just praying “Lord let me be the change I want to see”, and see to it that changes do occur and soon? Should we not allow the Holy Spirit to transform ourselves to be sparks for change just like Jun Lozada? I write this open letter with humility as I too have been too busy with my class lectures and midterm examinations to take time out and discuss these important events with my colleagues and students. Perhaps like some bishops I too have been guilty of playing it too safe and seeing just where this movement for the truth will end before committing myself to the tasks at hand.

Shouldn’t we set some time to gather as a community and discern what these recent events require from us as individuals and as a collective? Shouldn’t we discuss the Lozada disclosures to our students and children and make them see just what has happened to our nation? Should we not heed the strong feelings from within our hearts and heed the bishop’s call for collective discernment and action? Or would we rather heed the call of the Arroyo government to refrain from being too emotional and let lawyers and government functionaries to resolve the crisis as they see fit? There is a time for cold rationality and a time for passion. What is being asked of us right now?

I write this essay with no clear answer in mind. But I do feel that something should be done from our end as well. I am disheartened by the lack of discussion, the lack of direction. I am concerned that we may be at fault for sitting back and watch others do what we ourselves should be doing right now. Will we wait for the movement to grow large enough to be significant before committing ourselves? Certainly there are risks involved in making a courageous stand right now. The greatest risk is that of failure. What if we do make a stand right now and nothing comes out of it? What if the movement falters and dies before we make the necessary changes for the common good? But the movement may just falter and die if we do not do anything right now. We may be beset with guilt in the near future if we know that we could have done something about the corruption and lies in Philippine society but did nothing. Jun Lozada has done and suffered enough. It may be time for us to do our share as well.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Joy ride

I don’t know what Jun Lozada was complaining about when he said that the PNP, with the help of the ASG, PSG, American Green Berets, the CIA, and the Mossad, and some other hoodlums in uniform (did you notice how military men sound alike-that they speak as if they were drunk or nursing a strong hang over?), abducted him at the airport. It was clear from the testimonies of these state security agents that he was merely taken for a joy ride, perhaps to cheer him up. He looked so gloomy said his boss Litong-lito Atienza so, “I asked Colonel Rocky (Bulldog) Marciano to take him around town” said he. Lito lito then called Gen. MamangPulis to take Jun for a spin as he is, in the words of Sergio Apostol, a “Probinsyanong Instik” after all. This is a narration of how it could have happened:

Jun Lozano was walking down the stairs onto the tarmac when he heard someone shouting “Pusila pusila”! An armoured carrier, the same one that crashed into the front door of the Manila Penn just a few months ago, almost ran the poor chinaman down (Jun lozada). Then a giant of a man, Colonel Rocky, managed to squeeze his bulk out of the APC and said “Your honor, we were sent by Secretary Litong lito to secure you from communist terrorists, the BID, and Wack Wack golfers all who have threatened your life!” By this time Jun Lozada was handcuffed, blindfolded, and lying unconscious inside a jute sack. While Rocky’s men carried and threw the unconscious form of Jun into the back of the APC The colonel called Sec. Litong lito to ask what he was to do with the Probinsyanong Instik. Take him for a joyride, was the reply, cheer him up and make sure he doesn’t go to the senate because if the senators get hold of him they will force him to speak the Truth! Upon hearing that ugly word (truth) the colonel shuddered and said, “Yes sir I’ll make sure that Lozada never speaks the truth again”.

When Jun Lozada woke up he said “Where am I?” He and Col. Rocky were floating on a raft that was winding down a river in the middle of the jungle. Rocky hisses to the hapless Lozada, “be quiet we are in the middle of Abu Sayyaf territory in Bongao Tawi Tawi”. Jun Lozada wailed, he cried out “ayaw na ayaw ko na nga ma pasok sa gulo ng pulitika, ngayon ipapakain mo naman ako sa buaya”. Rocky then said, “Don’t you get it, we are protecting you from the truth. “

While Jun and Rocky were hacking their way out of the dense jungle, MamangPulis, Litong Lito, and Palace Spokesman Paul Bunyan entertained the frantic friends and family of Jun Lozada with a Tikal tikal (tall tale) contest held among themselves at the palace grounds where they tried to outdo each other in telling lies. Mike Defensor, who was not even in government anymore, won hands down.

After crossing seventeen rivers, climbing ten mountains, and visiting eleven SM malls Jun and Rocky finally headed back to Metro Manila. Col. Rocky ran out of eload and Jun wouldn’t let him use his credit card to buy the same. Upon arriving in Manila some mercenary nuns and the Lasing Brothers hijacked the jeepney that Rocky and Jun were riding in. The Lasing brothers and sisters then handed Jun Lozada to the Senate where he was forced to speak the truth. The rest is now history. This is the real story of Jun Lozada and his text mate Col. Rocky. Col. Rocky was eventually demoted to corporal and sentenced to listen to Sec. Litong Lito, Defensor, Bunyan, and the rest of the tikal tikal gang for ten consecutive tikal tikal contests.

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Joker Arroyo unwittingly hit on the truth when he asked Jun Lozada to explain why he didn’t go to London, as indicated in his travel request form, when he was already in Hong Kong. When Jun Lozada tried to explain that he never really intended to go to London (he didn’t even have a visa) and that his bosses knew about this Joker almost shouted and said “What your telling us that all these government officials are in conspiracy with you!” Hello Senator Arroyo, are you there sir?” Senator Arroyo, who used to be my idol, is certainly losing it. He must have been the only one in that room who didn’t know that yes, all of them from Litong Lito and Defensor, to Atty. Bautista (barred from teaching in UP and Ateneo for some kind of a misdemeanour involving a female student kuno), to Razon and Defensor, all of them were in a conspiracy to keep the truth about the NBN-ZTE deal from the Filipino people.