Commentary: Singson and Lozada - a study in contrast
By Bong Pedalino
Tacloban City (19 February) -- In the heat of the moment that accompanied the current mania over "star witness" Jun Lozada, some quarters can't help but compare him to Chavit Singson.
The analogy borders on fate and faith: if Erap has Singzon, GMA has Lozada.
Excuse me, but such comparison is far off the mark, way off tangent from the point of bullseye.
Singson was a direct participant in the illegal numbers game, he and Erap were bossom buddies until destiny intervened, and he threatened to squeal everything -- and made good on his threat -- when he was not chosen the top honcho in his turf of the illegal trade.
And one more thing: Singson never feigned innocence in all his dealings, did not pretend to come clean, and did not hide but faced the Legal Courts as well as the court of public opinion.
Lozada, for his part, was not directly and officially involved in a deal he confessed as having knowledge of its deep, fishy stench; his friendship with Neri was not as solid as Singson-Erap's, and he never intended to reveal publicly what he supposed to know had he been able to "moderate the greed" to the tune of (listen carefully) $ 65 Million -- half the asking price.
(Yes, you heard it right: sixty-five million dollars, my friend! And this is "permissible" by Lozada's own standards.)
Furthermore, Lozada tolerated within his office the "dysfunctional procurement system" he so brazenly decried, succumbed on pretensions to come out clean, and tried all he could to avoid the Senate, if not for the airport arrival gone weird.
Singson named only a handful of main cast in the Erap saga; Lozada, meanwhile, implicated every Juan, Pablo, and Maria to his tale, putting words in their mouths the same way Dirty Harry would mouth "make my day" with ease and poise, with sleepy smile.
Singson ran for Senator in the 2007 elections and lost. Who knows there will be a Lozada for Senator in the 2010 polls?
If Lozada wins, good for him -- at least the daily publicity and sound bites now works in his favor at no cost. If he loses, then -- and only then -- the comparison with Singson makes sense.
LOCAL FRONT: Gov. Damian Mercado was prominently shown in an Inquirer front picture last week with other provincial Governors and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo after their meeting in Camarines Sur. It was clear the local officials rallied behind the President in this new episode to knock her down. Indeed, the photo caption quoted a portion of the Governor's manifesto which said "the tyranny of imperial Manila does not reflect the sentiments of our people in the countryside."
ODDLY YOURS: Don't look now, but the first contraceptive material women used in recorded history was the crocodile dung, as practiced by the Egyptians in 2000 BC. This was later replaced with elephant dung when found not effective. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]