The Jun and I
March 6, 2008 6 Comments
Thomas Aquinas, a great theologian, doctor of the church, and advocate of the truth. The patron of the great university who produced Rizal, Quezon, Macapagal, Mabini, and a long line of national formidable people in various affairs and strata of society. If you hear those names, it makes you proud to be Thomasian.
But in today’s political drama, the major figures are also Thomasians. Jun Lozada, the whistle blower, was from Engineering. And his so-called persecutors: Raul Gonzalez of Civil Law, Anthony Golez of Medicine and Surgery, and Lito Atienza of Architecture. All of them work as senior cabinet officials in GMA’s government, all either tasked to silence the truth and silence the truth’s speaker.
Jun Lozada, I used to hate him. But now, after reflection, I completely understand where he is coming from. We seem to have a lot of things in common.
In recent months, I have discovered a financial anomaly in my college publication, resulted by an illegal withdrawal initiated by our dean, Assoc. Prof. Jaime delos Santos. I have spoken out openly and loudly about the matter, and have filed a complaint before the Rector last November 9, 2007 that is subject to resolution.
And ever since, I have never ceased to amaze the wonders of the process – that instead of being protected for telling the truth, those on his side constantly plan to eliminate my presence, but with little success. I have been in many interviews within and outside the university concerning the violations of the Campus Journalism Act. The dean and his allies have consistently plotted and mongered rumors that they will debar me. The OSA director called me misguided and disillusioned. Cases were filed. But those were just the beginning.
I have contemplated if I should write about this since articulating this may cause my academic status in the university. But what the hell!
Last Monday, I was in the dean’s office together with my friend and his boyfriend to ask for the summer schedules. Our regent called for me and summoned me to his office, with a very furious demeanor, as described by my friend’s boyfriend. Inside his office, he told me that he felt offended by a blog I wrote about the CFAD administration, which included him. He admired my writing.
But as the conversation progressed, he began explaining things, citing why Salvatus was not “re-hired”. I took his explanation with a grain of salt. The father was getting a bit furious already.
I took that chance to clarify some of the things with him, because I trust this person and his sense of judgment. I queried about the rumors the dean has mongered concerning my debarment. He said “kung ako lang ang masusunod, pwede kitang ipa-debar”. I asked him why because from the last time I checked, I am at a good academic position. He said that I can get debarred for destroying the dean’s name and reputation. He also mentioned about a waiver that he may let me sign that I will not speak again. He even threatened to call for my parents and transfer me to another school.
The message and tone of our conversation was clear, he was pressing me, and attempting to press hard enough to make me feel vulnerable. But I am not afraid, for if Thomas Quinas fought for the truth and survived, so will I.
I can’t help but be frustrated and furious about the incident, but to diminish any further ground of me being disrespectful and of uncalled for demeanor, I have decided to go home and spend time thinking. Perhaps Lozada is correct.
Many things separate me and Jun Lozada. He is from Engineering, I am from CFAD. Jun Lozada told the truth about a government deeply mudded with corruption, and I told the truth about little versions of the same corruption; one that occurs in the halls of the university we both have studied. He was supported by the university, I was not, and perhaps, never will. He had masses for truth, I had mass with myself.
Many things, though, connect me to Jun Lozada. For starters, many thought our act was a suicide mission, that it will yield nothing more than a good round of headache. Second, we both told the truth, or at least our version of the truth, continuously challenging those who challenge what we say. We confront the powers that be: Lozada faces PGMA while I face my dean. And third, we are both Thomasian.
There is still hope. Ang salitang CFAD ay hindi lamang tumutukoy sa isang mama lamang. Inspired by Lozada’s quote “ang salitang Pilipino ay hindi tumutukoy sa isang pamilya lamang”.
Fight for the truth. I may not join the rallies.