The ZTE scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. With the revelations of Lozada and Joey De Venecia III, the First Family has been exposed as a mafia in government, greedily devouring kickbacks from public works contracts.
The ZTE deal follows a string of other government contracts and scandals that reek of corruption by the First Family. There is the Jose Pidal account of P200, the P728 million Fertilizer Fund scam, and the $503 million Northrail project. Corruption also stinks in the Diosdado Macapagal Highway, largescale mining and energy contracts, and many others.
Aside from corruption, it has suited Gloria Arroyo to effect the political corruption of institutions. The impeachment process has been killed by administration lackeys in Congress; the Senate probe on questionable deals has been skirted through Executive Order 464. NEDA chief Romulo Neri, who can corroborate the Lozada and De Venecia testimonies, has muzzled the truth by invoking executive privilege.
The Arroyo Mafia, which includes a cabal of AFP and Police generals, has been employing repression to suppress all dissent to its illegitimacy and corruption. More than 900 activists, lawyers, churchpeople and journalists, acting as agents of truth and change, have been murdered. The kidnapping of Lozada is just the latest manifestation of the prevailing culture of impunity that has been fomented by the Arroyo government.
All these, as our people continue to reel in hunger and poverty despite Arroyo's rosy pictures of economic growth.
The domination of the Arroyo Mafia and the moral bankruptcy that attends this government has compelled us to cry: Tama Na! Sobra Na! Lihok Na!
We, the people of Mindanao, believe that we have the obligation in this search for truth. In Mindanao lies the answer to questions concerning the Arroyo government's legitimacy, repression and puppetry to foreign interests.
The Hello Garci controversy points to electoral fraud in Lanao and Maguindanao provinces. The government's Oplan Bantay Laya has transformed Mindanao into a laboratory of state terror where civilians are liquidated. The rich natural resources in the Mindanao land and sea are being made available for the highest bidding multinational company at the expense of our indigenous and Moro communities.
The United States, which continues to lend support to the Arroyo government despite its isolation from the people, has been rebuked in Mindanao through mammoth rallies against the Balikatan Exercises and the bogus 'war on terror'.
Arroyo's spinmasters can no longer claim that calls for the president's ouster is limited to the national capital. This is the resounding call of Mindanao and other provinces: Gloria Resign Now!
The time has come. Kamatuoran! is Mindanao's call and demand. Kamatuoran! is our clamor in the midst of insidious efforts to suppress the truth. Kamatuoran! is our unity— in the streets and other public fora— to resist the prevailing moral bankrupty in our country's governance.
We call on all sectors and groups to work together to educate our people about the eroding moral fiber of our nation. We call on everyone to mobilize in numbers to express outrage against corruption, repression, militarism, and moral bankruptcy. We support the call of the Catholic Bishops for "communal action." We urge that this lead concretely through direct democratic action in the parliament of the streets.
Mr. Jun Lozada and Joey De Venecia are certainly not our messiahs. But, they had risked their lives, reputation, and interests in order to expose the truth. For this we commend them for their courage and determination. De Venecia's father himself has admitted to being a sinner. But if it takes many sinners to indict and oust the (P)resident Evil in Malacañang, then we welcome their self-confessions and remorse.
For this call of conversion applies to all of us as well. We must be converted from our apathy and inaction. We can not wait two more years of Gloria's plunder and iron-hand rule.
The time to act is now! The people of Mindanao are standing up to be counted.
Oust Gloria Macapagal Arroyo NOW!
Sr. Elsa Compuesto, executive secretary, Sisters' Association in Mindanao
Atty. Frederico Gapuz, chairman, Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao
Fr. Antonio Ablon, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Mobuca Diocese