IN A VIVID display of courage, NBN-ZTE scandal witness Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada spoke about the scathing truth about greed and government. He spoke about the rapacity and mendacity of people in high government who have bastardized public trust by merciless raiding of the public coffers for gross self-enrichment.

Two days after being picked up by government operatives at the airport tarmac upon his arrival from Hong Kong last Feb. 5, Lozada, saying he was hounded by his conscience and trying to live up to his Thomasian upbringing (he took up high school at Aquinas University in San Juan and college in UST), submitted himself to the public to disclose what he knew about the grossly overpriced $329 million National Broadband Network project involving First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos, Sr. and former National Economic and Development Authority director-general Romulo Neri.

Lozada illustrated how a “dysfunctional government procurement” system has allowed coruptionists to raid the national treasury with the appetite of a vulture.

The scene might be no different from the past Senate exposes in which grandstanding among senators with axes to grind against President Macapagal-Arroyo would let loose slapdash revelations against the administration by people who had soiled hands. But this time, the dramatic revelation came from the medium who had both contrition and conviction.

Unlike other Senate whistleblowers, Lozada’s testimony was first and foremost a confession, an outlet for repentance to save whatever dignity or respect he had for himself and his family. Asked by Sen. Gregorio Honasan his motive for coming out into the open, Lozada admitted he was trying to save his soul and make his father proud: “I guess I am just giving honor to my father and paying this country back.”

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Drama ng buhay

The candor of the “probinsyanong Intsik,” as how Lozada described himself, contrasted with the suave politicians and their mastery of double-talk, deception, and dishonesty.

Legislators aligned with Malacañang tried to thwart Lozada’s damaging revelations by questioning his credibility, even tagging him a “dramatist,” “a hero-in-the-waiting.”

Yet the question holds: Why will someone risk his life and career and expose his family to danger if he is a mere attention-getter, an opportunist, a sham? For what does it profit a man, as the Good Book says, if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?

Lozada might have tolerated the corruption in high places, but the crux of the matter is that he has a conscience that is sensitive to the stirrings of remorse and to the possibility of repairing the damage his sin of omission or commission might have caused. He confessed that he had “permissible zones” that made him tolerate graft and because of this, he should not be called a “hero.” He is just a person who has had a change of heart and wants to be better.

For Lozada, there is nothing “heroic” about telling the truth because it is just an exercise of moral obligation, a duty barely understood by Malacañang’s lieutenants. Add to this his willingness to face the consequences.

In this light, Lozada deserves the support of Thomasians and all Filipinos of good will. He deserves their admiration for braving the repeated assaults to his person and reputation by a gangster government. Lozada is living up to the Thomasian precept of truth.

The President should emulate Lozada’s courage by stepping down. If she is not complicit in her husband’s wiles, she should at least resign for failing to arrest moral bankruptcy and bureaucratic parasitism in her government. The Arroyo administration has lost its moral bearings by tolerating the collective avarice of its officials, who nonchalantly suck the lifeblood out of the nation’s already malnourished veins. It is sadism of the highest form articulated by the Arroyo administration’s playful manipulation of the Constitution and suppression of due process and all avenues of public redress.

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A piece of heaven in a perilous earth

There will always be a sinner in all of us. But there are only few who can boldly admit to their shortcomings and decently try to right the wrongs they may have caused. And Lozada is one of those few. He has spoken the truth. Let us support him and fight for the truth. Let us demolish the agents of greed and deception.

Let us do away with a government of leeches and liars.

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