I don’t like Jun Lozada. The crafty weasel was at it again yesterday, playing to the gallery. His self-effacing, weeping sinner shtick is annoying. Having found religion just in time to save his ass, he has been milking his new-found celebrity status for all it is worth. He has a natural talent for self-promotion and grandstanding, with his pseudo-religious, reformist sound bites, pap for civil society groupies hungry for a “hero”. His self-righteousness is particularly galling, what with his look-what-I’m-doing-for-the-country-I-hope-you-appreciate-it tone. Exactly what my parents used to say when they wanted to put me on a guilt trip.
In the IT industry and certain circles where Jun Lozada is well-known, his character is closer to the foul-mouthed operator/fixer heard in the YouTube posting where he converses with Joey de Venecia. Which is why I find overwrought pieces like the one written by Inquirer columnist Conrado De Quiros, which portrays Lozada as the Second Coming of Christ, particularly hilarious.
But no matter. The messenger is not necessarily the message. I’m ready to acknowledge that the search for the truth is paramount. And in this, Lozada is just the mouthpiece for millions of Filipinos, as he readily acknowledges.
You don’t have to like the messenger to get the message. Obvious case in point: Chavit Singson.
That’s why I have a sticker in my car that says “Protect Jun Lozada, Protect the Truth”. This has caused a few raised eyebrows at my place of work, as I have made it publicly known that the only Lozada I revere is Ike Lozada, and he’s dead.
The search for truth will have to start somewhere “between heaven and earth”, to borrow De Quiros’ phrase, and it might as well start with Jun Lozada. He has captured the popular imagination like no other whistle-blower before him. It could have been Joey De Venecia or Romulo Neri, but the vagaries of character and fate and the ineptitude of President Arroyo’s minions handed us Jun Lozada instead.
How then should we approach our role in this search for truth, accountability and the fight against tyranny ? As an imperative duty, according to Theodore Roosevelt (and I find it ironic that I’m quoting a politically-incorrect, from our present-day perspective, unapologetic imperialist to make a point about searching for truth):
Surely we must all recognize the search for truth as an imperative duty; and we ought all of us likewise to recognize that this search for truth should be carried on, not only fearlessly, but also with reverence, with humility of spirit, and with full recognition of our own limitations both of the mind and the soul. We must stand equally against tyranny…