I WOULD not pretend that I know a lot about the current controversy that is rocking the Malacañang these days, or that I cared much about it. In fact, I admit that I would not, for the love of my life, rally along the streets of España and shout obscenities to the current administration. I am just an ordinary Nursing student who is eager to graduate and get rid of the toils of student life for good.
Before it became the full-blown controversy that it is now, I did not know much about the ZTE Broadband deal. And what I know is perhaps the same as, if not less than, what most people know, which are basically information that we gleaned from the television and various print media.
UST PATRON St. Thomas Aquinas plays the major role in the University’s aim to be the Center of Contextualized Theology in Asia.
According to Joel Sagut, assistant to the director of the John Paul II (JPII) Center for Ecclesiastical Sciences, Aquinas is an authority in religious studies even in “local theology,” which deals with how God is seen in Filipino culture.
“Aquinas is a firm foundation for theology,” Sagut told the Varsitarian. “Standing by the teachings of Aquinas, the University can produce more Filipino scholars, who can substantiate theology in modern times.”
Which traits of St. Thomas Aquinas should professors emulate?
“Patience. Our class is not cooperative. We always test the patience of our professors especially in Accounting.”
–Ma. Katrina Noble, 3rd Year, College of Commerce
“Compassion, committment, and competence.”
–Ana Carmela Mabaquiao, 2nd Year, Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management
“I want them to emulate his never-ending search for knowledge.”
–Renato Filemon Garcia, 3rd Year, Faculty of Engineering
“Professors are expected to be intensive thinkers–to have mastery of the subject that they are teaching so they can be better teachers.”
–Lyra Gonzaga, 2nd Year, Faculty of Arts and Letters
“Like Saint Thomas, professors should be open-minded to opinions.”
–Gretony Faustine Garcia, 2nd Year, Faculty of Pharmacy
HE IS dubbed as the “Angelic Doctor” and the “Prince of Scholastics.” To Catholics, he is the foremost Christian philosopher. But who is St. Thomas Aquinas for people of other religions in the 21st century?
During his lifetime in the 13th century (1225-1274), the great Dominican thinker commanded great authority and respect from great figures of the Church, his order and the universities. Only a year short of 50 years old when he died, his numerous body of works generated inspiration in the Catholic Church, ultimately producing a philosophical school of thought named after him (Thomism). Today, six centuries after his death, his works and legacy live on, prompting a document from the Second Vatican Council to call his philosophy the “Perennial Philosophy.”
According to UST Theology Dean Fr. Jose Antonio Aureada, O.P., Saint Thomas used philosophy to help him understand the Christian faith.
HE IS the University’s “statement” amid the political turmoil engulfing the nation.
UST has come out in full support of Thomasian Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada, Jr., the corruption whistleblower whose testimony in the government’s anomalous National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with a Chinese firm is threatening to bring down the Arroyo administration.
UST broke its silence on the corruption controversy with a half-page advertisement in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last February 19, featuring Lozada’s 1984 graduation picture and saying: “Is there a more eloquent statement than a true Thomasian?” Copies were posted around the campus.
The University has held a Mass and prayer vigil as well as a noise barrage to deplore corruption in government, bringing back images of UST’s prominent stance during the Estrada impeachment crisis of late 2000 and early 2001.
THEY ALL came from the same University and had chosen government service as a career. But their allegiances seemingly represent today’s political schism pitting the good, the evil, and the lesser evil against each other.
Four UST alumni have been cast into the political limelight amid the investigation into the NBN-ZTE scandal.
Key witness Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada, Jr. is at the receiving end of tirades from fellow Thomasians in public service, namely deputy palace spokesman Anthony Rolando Golez, Environment Sec. Lito Atienza, and Justice Sec. Raul Gonzalez.
The three have taken turns in discrediting Lozada, who claims the government’s aborted National Broadband Network deal with China’s ZTE Corp. to be financed by a $329 million loan from Beijing was overpriced by $ 130 million to allow kickbacks.
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.”