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We are former government officials who have held high positions in the current and previous administrations. Having participated in the highest level of governance up close and personal, we now feel compelled to speak up for our demoralized public servants and arrest the decline of our institutions of governance. In the past, many of us kept quiet, going on about our daily chores, attending to business as usual.
However, over the last few days, we, together with the rest of the country, have seen one man – Jun Lozada – finally decide that he can no longer be part of the massive graft and corruption that permeates this government. His testimony exposed that the corruption in the project he dealt with – the NBN ZTE project – is standard in what he called “dysfunctional government procurement processes.”
Clearly, what Jun Lozada knew so terrified the powers-that-be that they unwittingly exposed what Jun called “the dark side of the state” – state-sponsored terrorism that had been rearing its ugly head in the various disappearances and extra-judicial killings in the past six years – and which almost took him as a victim in a botched kidnapping that the administration has been trying, with little success, to cover up.
In a sense, all Jun Lozada did was to confirm what we already know: Our country is sliding into moral decadence. He also confirmed the systematic destruction of our democratic institutions and the systemic nature of our problems. We have seen this in the wanton disregard of checks-and-balances; abuse of the powers of the President; the cooptation through patronage and outright bribery of the other branches of government; politically sponsored corruption, facilitated, not thwarted, by bureaucratic procedures; the naked use of power and authority through the PNP, PSG, NAIA, among others, to strangle the truth; and the deployment of cabinet, sub-cabinet officials, and the military to obstruct justice and cover up illegal orders and acts.
In the past, for too many times that we were confronted with threats to our democracy and to our moral values, our response was: “What can we do about it? What is our choice? Who will lead us?”
These questions persist but, today, we can no longer stay silent. We can no longer ignore the reality of a government gone wild, wreaking havoc on our rights and institutions in a climate of impunity. We can no longer console ourselves in the strength of the peso, narrowing deficits, and an expanding economy. Even these ephemeral gains have not translated into a better life for the majority of our people, especially the poor.
The future of our country is at stake. Our democratic institutions are under attack. What we stand to lose is the moral fabric of our society.
We call on all government officials – Cabinet Secretaries, Undersecretaries, Heads of Agencies – who know about these anomalous transactions to join the heroic stand of Jun Lozada to come forward and speak out. We call on all those who know about the extrajudicial killings and disappearances to go public and tell the truth. We call on all those who can no longer endure this wrongful governance, with its structures of evil and unmoderated greed: IT IS TIME TO CUT CLEAN! IT IS TIME TO GO! .
Tama na! Sobra na! Panahon na!