Allow me to call you Joc-Joc as you are known in the media and by many Filipinos, too. As of this morning of the 24th of October 2008, news about your lawyer petitioning the Supreme Court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the implementation of the arrest warrant issued by the Senate upon your arrival, hugs the headline of the major dailies together with the radio and TV news broadcast. The whole country seems to be anxiously awaiting your return, I am sure your family is also eager to see you back as well.
It is about your family that I am writing you, because of what my own family went through when I was in a similar situation that you are in now. Being a father myself, I know that the welfare and safety of your family are your foremost concerns in the middle of all the controversy and the uncertainty that you are facing.
There is so much fear right now that pervades your life along with your loved ones. Questions such as, how safe are you in Manila? Is there a possibility that someone may attempt to harm you or your family? How are the people that you are covering for going to help you? How are you going to answer questions from media? How can the people you are covering up be trusted with their dilatory tactics to get you off the hook, away from the prying questions of the opposition senators?
We’re caught up in all of these questions and an “us versus them” way of thinking, that we almost forget to ask the right questions anymore – right questions such as: how are my children hurt with the truth that I am generally perceived as a corrupt criminal by the Filipino nation? How are my children going to explain my involvement in this fertilizer scam to their friends? How is my wife going to face our friends and still be seen as a person with integrity? What legacy am I leaving my children? Is leaving them with millions and big houses in Ayala Alabang better than leaving them with a good name?
I am sharing these insights with you, because if there is one thing that I did regret in telling the truth about how this Arroyo administration has been stealing from the very people it is supposed to serve, it is that I was not able to prepare my wife and my children well enough against the backlash of this government’s wrath against me for telling the people about their crimes. You still have time to discern your next move, whether or not you are going to tell the people the truth about the fertilizer scam or bring the secret to your grave, just like Romy Neri.
As a father, I am asking you to please think about your children, please consider the legacy you are going to leave to them. Are you going to forever leave them as pariahs branded as children of a thief–or as children of someone who did wrong and yet chose to serve his country in the end, rather than to be a captive forever of the dark forces he used to serve? And, please prepare your family whatever way you may wish to choose. Discuss this together with them because at the end of it all, they will suffer or be affected more as a consequence of your decision.
Secondly, as a fellow Rotarian, how about taking the Four Way test as part of your discernment process? Is it the Truth? Is it fair to everyone concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendship? Will it be beneficial to everyone concerned? You have been a good Rotarian for many good years of your life. Will you now turn your back on these ideals in the biggest test of your Rotarian values?
Lastly, let me share with you one of the most profound lessons I have learned in my own journey towards the truth, a truth not as a goal to be reached but rather as a way of life to be lived. I have found that the opposite of all the fears I am confronted with is not courage but faith. It is faith in a God who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life”, a just God who will judge us not in terms of the wealth we have on earth but in terms of what we did to our fellow human beings. It is my faith in this God that allowed me to face all the fears that I am confronted with when I decided to tell the truth that I know about the NBN-ZTE scam. May you find the faith to lead you to the Light of God’s love that no darkness can ever defeat, not even a President of the Republic of the Philippines.
May God bless you with the wisdom to choose your path.