Thursday, February 7, 2008

Taking a Stand

You can really count on this government to provide us with non-stop entertainment… except that this latest episode is not funny and must only be seen as a cause for just and moral outrage.

After JDV’s rambling and hypocritical valedictory and political assassination in Congress a few days ago, we now have the riveting fiasco over Jun Lozada and the ZTE scandal that just won’t die.

The brazenness of how Lozada was taken from the airport is stunning, but the inconsistent and illogical version that the government now seeks us to believe – that the Lozadas had asked for protection (then why the emotional and inconsolable plea from his wife for his safe return) – is even more brazen and stunning.

We’ve been listening to the press conference at La Salle, and Jun Lozada seems to us to be a decent man. That such a man can suddenly disappear from the airport, just after his plane landed, in the full glare of daylight, with no less than his family, members of media and even some Senators waiting in the airport’s lounge, is horrifyingly incredible.

And while for now Lozada has emerged alive, if not necessarily unscathed, who knows now what sword hangs over his head as he prepares to testify before the Senate.

Whatever happens, one thing is sure. His very public ordeal has now likely created a chilling effect on freedom of expression, and equally important, on the incentives for decent people like Lozada to pursue public service.

We will not stand for it.

We don’t know yet how exactly CANVAS can meaningfully join the discourse but today – even as we remain a nonpartisan nonprofit – we make our commitment to develop programs that will explore and encourage the participation of the arts in ensuring that the space for free expression and public service is protected and expanded.

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