NESTLED in a wooden study chair beside a table harboring The Alchemist amid a sea of used papers, NBN-ZTE scandal witness Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada peered through the window of one of the dormitories in La Salle Greenhills where he is now seeking refuge.
Scratching his brows in a gesture of confusion, Lozada grappled with the irony of truth in a reality typified by a hostile political environment while trying to answer an innocent query from his son: “Papa, if you’re the one who did something right, why are you the one running away?”
THERE COMES a point when concealing the truth becomes unbearable.
This was how Fr. Manoling Francisco, S.J., main celebrant of the Mass in support of Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada, Jr. last February 17 at La Salle Greenhills high school, described the sufferings the latter had to face to expose the truth on the controversial NBN-ZTE deal.
“We understand how Jun feared for his and his family’s life,” Father Francisco said. “(By) telling the truth, one risks casting shame on himself, subjecting one’s self to intense scrutiny and skepticism and jeopardizing one’s safety and those of his loved ones, especially when one goes up against a powerful person.”
Father Francisco cited a rape victim’s story as example.
“The victim of abuse decides to seek help. But even after he had taken the step, the victim, devastated and confused, will tell his story with much hesitation,” said Francisco.
NO ONE noticed them.
Despite being the brother of the now-famous “star witness” Jun Lozada, Arthur Lozada, together with his two children, waited patiently at the backstage of the rally in Makati last February 15, away from the public eye amid growing outrage over corruption in the government.
“Matagal na kaming takot,” Arthur said as he narrated the traumatizing experience his family had to endure after his brother’s “abduction” by government agents at the Manila international airport. “Muntik nang mawala ‘yung kapatid ko sa airport.”
STRONG intimacy with God through prayer and contemplation is the basis of being good spiritual shepherds of the Word.
This was the message of Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, D.D. to the alumni of the UST Central Seminary during their 73rd anniversary homecoming at the Seminary gym last January 23.
In his homily at the Santissimo Rosario parish church, Adams emphasized the need for priests to contemplate and pray in silence in order to understand the words of God through his son Jesus Christ.
“Relationship with God enables us to speak as we are,” Adams told the 12 bishops and more than 250 priests who attended the annual event. “Closeness to God does not make our hearts small. It doesn’t impoverish our intelligence. On the contrary, it gives us what we need, to penetrate creation in its entire splendor.”
WITH the University seemingly divided into different time zones, UST Secretary-General Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P., has again ordered the synchronization of all clocks in the campus based on the Philippine Standard Time (PST), in a memorandum issued last January 29.
The memorandum is a reiteration of a 2002 order made by then secretary general and now director of the Santo Tomas e-Service Providers (STEPS), Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P.
“Primarily there was an unknown University time, which was five minutes ahead of the PST. Eventually, we discovered that the different colleges and departments have different timepieces. Even some dormitories around the University are 30 minutes ahead of the PST. So we decided that the University have an official time, which is not five minutes ahead but synchronized with the PST,” Father Cabading told the Varsitarian when the synchronization was first ordered.
NON-ACADEMIC employees and University officials have exceeded their medicine benefits by nearly P800,000, prompting the Vice-Rector for Finance to order a strict monitoring at the hospital pharmacy.
A memorandum issued by Vice-Rector for Finance Fr. Manuel Roux, O.P. last January 7 said employees and officials who go over the annual cap of P1,000 will have to pay for the excess amount in cash, otherwise, it will be deducted from their salaries without prior notice.
“Excess medicines,” as of the May 31, 2007 audit, have ballooned to P796, 683, officials said.
Leticia Timbol, head cashier of the Treasurer’s Office, said there was some laxity with regard to the medicine benefits. “Before, the uncollected ‘excess medicines’ only amounted into small quantities, so we did not really feel the need to worry. However, it was only at present that it reached a staggering amount,” Timbol added. “We really had to take action.”
PHILIPPINE democracy is becoming trivial by the day, no thanks to “media oppression.”
With this “controlling reality” in mind, former Senator Francisco Tatad reminded Thomasians to be vigilant and responsible conveyors of truth in the light of recent moves by the government to supress media practitioners during the 5th Jose Villa Panganiban (JVP) Professional Chair Lecture last January 23 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex auditorium.
“The fight must be waged not only when the freedom of the journalist is directly threatened, but above all when truth itself is deprived of its value and meaning,” said Tatad, who talked about the “Plight of the Media Under the Arroyo Administration” before journalism and political science students of the Faculty of Arts and Letters.
MEN, MODERNITY and misconception often create a history hostile to reality.
This was the collective observation of three political analysts who examined the timeline of Philippine politics from the post-revolutionary era to the contemporary times during a discussion organized by the Political Science Forum and the National Historical Institute last February 6 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex.
“History is an entertaining tale of real people,” former trade secretary Amado Lagmadeo said in the forum titled Ang Pulitika ng Papel at Pluma: Panorama ng Kamalayang Pulitikal ng Pilipino, before a jam-packed audience of students from the Faculty of Arts and Letters.
Discussing the country’s political history from the 1890s to the 1960s, Lagdameo spoke of a “cycle” that each emerging generation follows in order to surpass the achievements of the previous generation, at least in terms of innovation.
THE CENTER for Creative Writing and Studies (CCWS) held entrance examinations for aspiring members of the Thomasian Writers’ Guild (TWG) at the St. Raymund’s Building last January 23, 26, and February 1, paving the way for the Center’s plans to make the moribund guild its official student writers’ arm.
“This will be the Center’s answer to growing observations that the quality of writers in the University is declining,” Ophelia Dimalanta, director of the CCWS, told the Varsitarian.
The TWG, an organization composed of poets and creative and non-creative fictionists, was among inactive campus organizations featured by the Varsitarian in a June 2007 Special Reports article.
As the official student arm of the CCWS, guild members will revive writing-related projects and participate in writing seminars, Dimalanta said.
February 12, 2008 - The University is rallying behind Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada Jr., the Thomasian whistleblower in a corruption-laden government contract being investigated by lawmakers, calling for prayers for the Engineering alumnus whose testimony has earned the support of various sectors of society.
UST’s Office for Public Affairs appealed to all Thomasians to offer “special prayers” for Lozada last February 8, a day after he appeared in public for the first time to reveal that the state project to connect government offices through a “broadband” network had been overpriced by as much as $130 million to allow for kickbacks.