[Blueboard] Communal Action for Truth and Accountability
fsanchez at ateneo.edu
Fri Feb 29 15:04:44 PHT 2008
29 February 2008
MEMO TO : THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY
FROM : THE ACADEMIC VICE PRESIDENT AND
R E : COMMUNAL ACTION FOR TRUTH AND ACCOUNTABILITY
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In their pastoral statement of 26 February 2008, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said: “We are convinced that the search for truth in the midst of charges and allegations must be determined and relentless, and that the way to truth and integrity must be untrammeled, especially at the present time when questions about the moral ascendancy of the present government are being raised.”
The CBCP’s January 2008 pastoral statement pointed to the all too patent subordination of the common good to private ends as being at the core of our national crisis. Moreover, they said that this deep-seated fault lay in the fact that “we as a people are still devoid of a real social conscience.” That is why they also said the moral-spiritual reform of our nation has to begin with ourselves through real conversion: “for all of us to deliberately, consciously develop that social conscience that we say we sorely lack and to begin subordinating our private interests to the common good.”
The bishops also stressed that we cannot respond to this challenge only as individuals; we have to come together as faith communities of discernment to “pray together, reason together, decide together, and act together.” It is in response to this call that the CEAP has urged us to form “truth centers” in our universities, so that through prayer and analysis we will understand the crisis and respond concretely, drawing upon our various resources and expertise as an academic community.
Members of our community have in fact, already been responding to the bishops’ call to communal action. Some of our faculty, students and professionals especially from the Loyola Schools, the Law School and the School of Government, in partnership with the Jesuits, have been at the forefront of the Watch, Pray and Act Movement, which not only provided sanctuary to Lozada, but more importantly has been helping direct and coordinate the response of Catholic institutions within the framework of promoting truth, accountability and reform. We are providing leadership in the process of forming “circles of discernment” among our faith-based communities. Some of our alumni/ae have also been involved in various capacities in information-dissemination, advocacy and organizing work so that the truth may prevail in the present crisis. Lawyers and law students from the Ateneo Human Rights Center and the Law School were responsible for filing the petition for a writ of habeas corpus during the disappearance and police custody of Jun Lozada. They are likewise involved in legal work to help resolve questions on EO 464 and executive privilege which many sectors including the CBCP have identified as a key stumbling block to getting full testimonies from Cabinet officials and relevant government documents on the ZTE-NBN case.
It has often been said that perhaps the biggest crisis facing our country today is one of hopelessness – of disempowerment, distrust and disengagement. But we can begin overcoming this huge problem by starting with ourselves, by coming together as various sectors of our University community, by offering our students venues for analysis and reflection and by discussing concrete options and models of engaged citizenship in our specific fields. In this way we participate in the mission to give hope to our country, especially for the youth. As Pope Benedict XVI has said, “our hope is always essentially also hope for others…what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them the star of hope may rise?” (Spe Salvi,48)
Today, February 29, 2008, members of our Ateneo de Manila community from Loyola Heights and Rockwell, together with the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB) of the Society of Jesus, will be participating in the interfaith and multisectoral rally in Makati. In this mass action, our Ateneo and Jesuit groups are joining other Catholic schools, religious and lay organizations in the Watch, Pray and Act Movement (CEAP, MAPSA, ICM, AMRSP, PPCRV), as well as civil society organizations like CODE-NGO, Pakisama, Akkapka, Team RP, Pugadlawin, Lente and Pandayan. They have come together in a new coordinated effort and network called BUSINA (Buong Bansa Sinisigaw: Tama Na, Itama Na!) that is fighting for Truth, Accountability and Reform as a response to the present national situation.
I urge you, after reflection, to decide on your own appropriate response and course of action.
I pray that we in the Ateneo de Manila University will stand to the challenge and participate in the mission to bring renewed hope and healing in our country.
ANTONETTE PALMA-ANGELES, PH.D.
Academic Vice President and
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