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News - March 2008

Truth Bearer’s Gig at AdU

Date Posted: Mar 2, 2008 at 02:34:11 AM


By Raul Agner

If threats�death and otherwise�could not muzzle Jun Lozada, then there was no way that a downpour during the latter part of his visit to Adamson University could.

When he emerged from the Office for Student Affairs wearing a t-shirt printed with a multi-colored �AdU� last March 3, 2008, the ST quad went into overdrive. Necks craned and feet jockeyed for position. The ladies (and lady-wannabes) shrieked and the machos shouted. TV cameras rolled and phone cams went into frenzied clicking. Jun, looking more like a delighted emoticon than the harassed whistleblower that he initially was, waved back at the students. Halfway in his talk, the rains came, parting the audience in half, sending it into the hallways at both sides of the quadrangle. But the visitor, protected by a tarp tent set up on the stage, went on, later fielding questions from a motley group of students who braved the rains, crowded in another tent facing the stage. Once the rain stopped, those at the corridors reassembled at the quad to get closer to the guest who obliged photo-ops before leaving.

Jun reiterated in strong terms his crusade against corruption, repeating his call to those involved in the highly scandalous NBN-ZTE deal scam to reveal the truth and stop hiding under the mantle of executive privilege or escapist legalese. He gamely answered all questions, including those that he had already clarified in various media fora and forays to different schools.

While some students and student groups had a �Gloria Resign� stand, Lozada didn�t explicitly call for this. What was urgent, he said, was for the people to pressure the government into uncovering the extent of corruption in the NBN-ZTE deal so that once and for all, the evil and plague that hound it will be exorcised. He also drummed up the need to be truthful among young people in whose hands the future of the land lies.

For its part, the University is clear about its stand, not calling for resignation but echoing that of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines or CEAP, which essentially is summed up in the slogan �Speak the Truth.� It joins the general expression of indignation and disgust over the alleged corruption in the deal and for the government to reveal the truth instead of resorting to lying. Even so, the University respects the different stands and opinions of other people in the AdU community.

One faculty member for instance disagrees with the schools and the church being involved in politics. On the other hand, an observer noted that the issue was not politics but the basic tenets of honesty, transparency, and truthfulness. Indeed many high officials in government had lost moral ascendancy in view of the string of scandals that has rocked the foundations of good governance, namely the �Hello Garci� episode, the Joc-Joc Bolante fertilizer scam, the Cha-Cha move in Congress whose agenda was the abolition of the Senate and extension of GMA�s hold on power beyond her term�s end.

Jun Lozada only knows too well that many government officials have lost their sense of delicadeza�an old Filipino value that is much wanting today. If one looks at the Japanese and the Koreans, for instance, they are protective of their personal honor. Their officials resign if they get linked to scandals and controversies. Lozada�s campaign for truth gains meaning and urgency in the light of the contrasting current situation obtaining in the country.