Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The Black & White Movement welcomes the Senate President’s enforcement of the longstanding arrest order on Mr. Bolante as he continues to hold the Senate in contempt. Mr. Bolante has insulted the Senate with his arrogant defiance and decision to evade accountability completely by seeking asylum in the US. We regard the silence of the Supreme Court on Bolante’s request for a temporary restraining order on the Senate’s warrant of arrest as a tacit decision to let the lawful arrest order stand.

There is no better time than now to reopen the Fertilizer Scam hearings, either via the Senate Committee on Agriculture or its Blue Ribbon Committee. Mr. Bolante should be made to account for the PhP728 million meant for Filipino famers. Doing any less would send the wrong message to our people and cast doubt on the integrity of the Senate.

In investigating the Fertilizer Scam, the Agriculture Committee headed by former Sen. Jun Magsaysay uncovered evidence of wrongdoing against the Filipino farmer, but also, the Filipino nation. It is regrettable that the hard work and dedication of Sen. Magsaysay and his colleagues, their staff, and so many concerned citizens in and out of government, has led to so little action. The Anti Money-Laundering Council has taken some praiseworthy steps, but the Ombudsman shows little inclination to do her job and bring people like Joc-Joc Bolante before the bar of justice. We are mystified at why it has taken this agency over two years and half to begin a preliminary investigation.

We question the propriety of Atty. Antonio Zulueta’s defense of Mr. Bolante. Atty. Zulueta is known publicly to be a lawyer for the First Gentleman, Mike Arroyo. We ask - what does Mr. Arroyo have to gain by supporting Mr. Bolante with legal aid?

Ramon Magsaysay said he who has less in life should have more in law. Joc-Joc Bolante, who has been given so much in and out of government, cannot turn his back on the law, and that includes lawmakers who have a mandate to exercise oversight over officials, past and present. Justice delayed is, indeed, justice denied, and Bolante has denied the Filipino people a just resolution of this scam for three years now. Enough is enough. Let him face the Senate or be compelled to tell the truth.

Friday, October 24, 2008

An Open Letter to Joc Joc Bolante from Jun Lozada

October 24, 2008

Dear Joc-Joc,

Allow me to call you Joc-Joc as you are known in the media and by many Filipinos, too. As of this morning of the 24th of October 2008, news about your lawyer petitioning the Supreme Court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the implementation of the arrest warrant issued by the Senate upon your arrival, hugs the headline of the major dailies together with the radio and TV news broadcast. The whole country seems to be anxiously awaiting your return, I am sure your family is also eager to see you back as well.

It is about your family that I am writing you, because of what my own family went through when I was in a similar situation that you are in now. Being a father myself, I know that the welfare and safety of your family are your foremost concerns in the middle of all the controversy and the uncertainty that you are facing.

There is so much fear right now that pervades your life along with your loved ones. Questions such as, how safe are you in Manila? Is there a possibility that someone may attempt to harm you or your family? How are the people that you are covering for going to help you? How are you going to answer questions from media? How can the people you are covering up be trusted with their dilatory tactics to get you off the hook, away from the prying questions of the opposition senators?

We’re caught up in all of these questions and an “us versus them” way of thinking, that we almost forget to ask the right questions anymore - right questions such as: how are my children hurt with the truth that I am generally perceived as a corrupt criminal by the Filipino nation? How are my children going to explain my involvement in this fertilizer scam to their friends? How is my wife going to face our friends and still be seen as a person with integrity? What legacy am I leaving my children? Is leaving them with millions and big houses in Ayala Alabang better than leaving them with a good name?

I am sharing these insights with you, because if there is one thing that I did regret in telling the truth about how this Arroyo administration has been stealing from the very people it is supposed to serve, it is that I was not able to prepare my wife and my children well enough against the backlash of this government’s wrath against me for telling the people about their crimes. You still have time to discern your next move, whether or not you are going to tell the people the truth about the fertilizer scam or bring the secret to your grave, just like Romy Neri.

As a father, I am asking you to please think about your children, please consider the legacy you are going to leave to them. Are you going to forever leave them as pariahs branded as children of a thief--or as children of someone who did wrong and yet chose to serve his country in the end, rather than to be a captive forever of the dark forces he used to serve? And, please prepare your family whatever way you may wish to choose. Discuss this together with them because at the end of it all, they will suffer or be affected more as a consequence of your decision.
Secondly, as a fellow Rotarian, how about taking the Four Way test as part of your discernment process? Is it the Truth? Is it fair to everyone concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendship? Will it be beneficial to everyone concerned? You have been a good Rotarian for many good years of your life. Will you now turn your back on these ideals in the biggest test of your Rotarian values?

Lastly, let me share with you one of the most profound lessons I have learned in my own journey towards the truth, a truth not as a goal to be reached but rather as a way of life to be lived. I have found that the opposite of all the fears I am confronted with is not courage but faith. It is faith in a God who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life”, a just God who will judge us not in terms of the wealth we have on earth but in terms of what we did to our fellow human beings. It is my faith in this God that allowed me to face all the fears that I am confronted with when I decided to tell the truth that I know about the NBN-ZTE scam. May you find the faith to lead you to the Light of God’s love that no darkness can ever defeat, not even a President of the Republic of the Philippines.

May God bless you with the wisdom to choose your path.


Jun Lozada

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The current leadership of the Philippine government rode on the wave to power through the people's desire to have transparent and honest government. Good governance was the promise of EDSA II. In the last 8 years, we have seen the betrayal of that promise and the horrific erosion of the democratic institutions of the republic. People are disillusioned and cynical; apathy has seeped into the fabric of our civic life. Poverty has increased and all too often, we read stories of mothers or fathers killing their children as the only way to end their misery. At least half a million people in Mindanao have been displaced and live in constant uncertainty about the future. More and more people are leaving the Philippines and we have Filipinas as domestic helpers in Cambodia. What has become of us?

The constitution provides an impeachment process that allows the people to hold a sitting president accountable for her actions. This process is the responsibility of the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES and the SENATE. These institutions make up a third, co-equal branch of government. They are supposed to be part of the check and balance in our democracy. These politicians were elected to uphold the voice of the people.

When Speaker Nograles says (as if warning those who filed the impeachment procedure) that impeachment is a political process, he has forgotten that it is also the only recourse for accountability of a sitting president. He seems to have forgotten that he was elected to uphold democratic processes; he has forgotten that his first level of accountability is to the people, not to the President and her cohorts. All of the Representatives of the House must recognize and act as agents of the people who want to hold this government accountable.

There are those who say that filing an impeachment complaint is a futile exercise. They say the complaint will only make the administration-allied Congress people richer because they will allegedly be asking for a fee or a Christmas gift in exchange for voting down the impeachment case. If we review news footage of that fateful day last year, then we have seen it happen before and it will probably happen again.

This is a challenge to the REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE - whether you are opposition or administration - is our democracy worth your pork barrel fund? Is the blatant corruption and erosion of our constitutional rights worth the one million or two million pesos that may be offered to you? Is the endorsement of GMA going to make you win? Can you really close your eyes to all that is wrong and accept it so that you can take care of your "constituency"? Face your God and reflect on the answers to these questions.

And to those of us who are wringing our hands, rolling our eyes and saying that this is too much! She is strong and lucky...let’s just grit our teeth and wait for the end of her term… Well, it seems recent moves of Malacanang are clearly geared toward not ending this regime. We should ask ourselves - why is this happening? The answer is that we allow it; we shrug our shoulders and say, this too shall pass.

There is hope in the people who continue to stand up and hold this government accountable at great cost to life and quality of living. Jun Lozada and his family continue to live in the care of the Catholic religious community. Dante Madriaga cannot pay for the tuition fee of his children as he languishes inside the Senate compound. All the people who have spoken truth to power continue to be harassed and have to constantly look behind their backs because the harassments continue at all levels - from actual threats, the spiking of tires to tapping phones - these remind us of the dark days of Martial Law. We continue to be maligned and are called “de-stabilizers” when the people who really cause instability are those who have lied, stolen, cheated and killed to be able to hold on to power.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must be held accountable. She must suffer her day in court as a sitting president. Let the impeachment proceeding take its course, make the people aware of the facts in evidence and let our democratic institutions do their work. Our ASEAN neighbors are asserting their democratic rights within their own systems and are struggling to unseat corrupt and unjust leaders. We should do no less. We proved that non-violent, citizen-led democratic change is possible. We owe it to ourselves and to the future.

Let us insist on an impeachment proceeding! Let us lobby and hold our REPRESENTATIVES ACCOUNTABLE TO US! Let us make our voices heard...we must hold GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO accountable to the nation.