OPINION: SEARCH FOR TRUTH GOES BEYOND EDSA, BEYOND SENATE
MANILA, FEBRUARY 26, 2008 (STAR) POSTSCRIPT By Federico D. Pascual Jr. - THE LOZADA FORMULA: We have bungled EDSA 1, and also EDSA 2, according to Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. — the “probinsiyanong Intsik” who no longer needs any description or qualification to be recognized.
“Jun” Lozada, now an icon by himself, made the remarks after a jampacked Mass yesterday at the shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran. The EDSA failures he lamented referred to our having reverted to the bad old days.
Drawing from experience and his reflections on the failings of past EDSAs, Lozada said that for us Filipinos not to fall into the same EDSA errors, we must resolve to: (1) Tell the truth, (2) Serve the truth, and (3) Defend the truth.
His formula advances from the level of talk (tell the truth) to the realm of action (serve and defend the truth).
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WHAT’S TRUTH?: I hope our politicos, especially those using Lozada to bring down the incumbent President and promote their own presidential ambitions, will heed his three-fold call for truth.
With everybody everywhere now demanding to know the truth, we see two big problems:
1. One problem is deciding which path to take to arrive at the truth.
2. The other problem is how to recognize the truth in the event we come face to face with it.
Remember Pontius Pilate conducting his own inquiry into the activities of Jesus Christ? He asked him “What is truth?” He was already face to face with Truth Incarnate, yet could not recognize it.
And in a washing of the hands, he freed the thief and murderer Barrabas and threw Christ to their equivalent of a frenzied EDSA mob crying for His blood.
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THE SEARCH: As I write this, various crowds are milling in streets ostensibly in search of truth. Others are in church praying for truth to dawn on them. Senators continue today their inquiry into the truth involving a botched $329-million project.
Do we unearth the truth by waving protest placards on EDSA, or shouting slogans on Mendiola? Do we find truth in church? Or in the Senate? Or at the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan?
Until we adopt a new system, we have to rely on existing due process for probing into wrong-doing and punishing the guilty. We cannot do this, I submit, through a political inquiry or inquisition in the Senate.
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REVOLUTION: The search for truth — and for accountability of public officials — is not supposed to be a problem, because we already have the system and the due processes designed precisely to ferret out truth, deviation and responsibility.
But there seems to be a breakdown in the system, to the point that a growing number of people no longer believe in it.
Assuming we can no longer trust the system and the established agencies and processes, where do we turn in our search for truth?
Asking these questions sounds like asking for no less than a revolution. Maybe not a bloody revolution since — as EDSA 1 has demonstrated — there could be bloodless upheavals, but a revolution of values, a spiritual reformation.
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BISHOP’S CALL: Maybe I was not listening enough, but I did not quite understand what our good bishops meant when they said that we need “communal action” in these troubled times.
They probably meant for us to do something big together, whatever that is.
But to anti-Arroyo elements, the bishops were calling for the people to mass in the streets and do a repeat of EDSA 1 to force President Gloria Arroyo to step down.
If that was not what they meant, our bishops should say so. If they are not ready to be more specific, they might want to pray first and ask for guidance before they turn around to tell their flock what to do.
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CONFESSION: Reader Marcelo L. Tecson of San Miguel, Bulacan, emailed his comments on President Arroyo’s admission that she was informed of irregularities in the ZTE-NBN deal on the eve of its contract-signing, but did not stop it for fear of straining relations with China.
Saying that “her lame excuse simply does not wash,” Tecson explained:
“On the contrary, had she denounced before the Chinese government the bribe-giving ZTE officials, she could have earned ‘pogi’ points — because the Chinese government does not tolerate corruption, It executes corrupt Chinese officials.”
He cited reports of Chinese officials convicted for corruption. One official who received bribes exceeding $475,000 was executed in 2000 (Kyodo News International, April 24, 2000). Another one, convicted for taking $850,000 in bribes, was executed in middle of last year (BBC News, July 10, 2007).
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COMPLICITY: Tecson continued: “If China has not similarly executed the source of shame to it — the corrupt ZTE officials involved in bribes more than a hundred times bigger than those that called for executions earlier — it was because President Arroyo, already aware of the corruption, has failed to inform the Chinese government.
“Until now, she has not reported to the nation the complete details of the corruption and the names of Filipinos involved.
“With her not acting against the corrupt Filipinos, as well as her almost half-year delay in suspending the contract — which had to be aborted anyway because of a Supreme Court decision against it — many people suspect now that, by attending the contract signing, she knowingly allowed and witnessed the first step in the commission of a major crime.”
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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