Thursday, August 5, 2010

Values in Honesty and Whistleblowing

I will officially be a member of Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals or BCBP- San Jose Chapter this coming Saturday, August 7, 2010. Truth to tell, BCBP’s “Be Honest” advocacy program somewhat “magnetized” me to join this Catholic renewal community of businessmen and professionals here in Occidental Mindoro. The “Be Honest” campaign program which promote the value of honesty was launched via a nationwide activity seven years ago participated in by 113 chapters and outreaches all over the country.

The campaign slogan of President Simeon Benigno C. Aquino III “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap”, made me realize that while groups like the BCBP rally for value of honesty, his government should focus on tapping the civil society on disseminating information and paralegal know-how on whistleblowing. Whistleblowing, at least figuratively speaking, is a gargantuan task. It may endanger the whistleblower. His or her property or family. So this value should be inculcated in our minds especially the youth : It is our duty as citizens of our country and citizens of the world to fight corruption for common interest that can defy all fears. It is the most effective deterrent to corruption. Therefore, it needs the cooperation of the whole sector of society. And creativity towards this end is an imperative.

Former Tanodbayan Simeon Marcelo has this to say, “As citizens, let us all realize that good governance is equally our responsibility. We are not simply the victims of graft and corruption, but also, and more importantly, we are its enemies. As such, we must constantly look for venues and opportunities to promote honesty and integrity in government, like whistleblowing. Needless to state, the willingness to join this war against graft and corruption must be nurtured and supported by tangible measures from the government, i.e., a system of rewards and incentives, as well as protection from the informant.”

In his write-up called “Ethics and Spirituality of Whistleblowing” from a booklet published by the Office of the Ombudsman and the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus in 2006, Fr. Albert E. Alejo, SJ said that the following are core values embodied in whistleblowing, paralleled with what the whistleblowers themselves think of what they are into : Sense of truth and justice (Hindi ko matiis na wala akong ginagawa sa harap-harapang pandaraya); Love of country (Ngayong nasa panganib na ang buhay ko, kahit maliit ang suweldo, damang-dama ko na mahal ko talaga ang bayan ko); Hope in humanity (Kaya nga ako nagsusumbong, dahil kahit papaano, umaasa ako na may katarungan pa rin sa ating sistema at may natitira pa ring mga taong mabubuti); Concern for the common good (Kung para sa sarili ko lang, e, bakit pa ako papasok sa gulo? Pagmamalasakit sa mas nakakarami, doon ako dinadala ng ginagawa ko); Faith in Action (Kumakapit lang ako sa pananampalataya ko sa Diyos na siyang nakakakita ng lahat); Deep love of family (Ginagawa ko ito dahil mahal ko ang aking mga anak, kahit apektado sila sa nangyayari. Sana balang araw maintindihan din nila ako); Personal conversion (Inaamin ko naman na hindi din ako malinis. Pero kasama ito sa aking pagbabagong-loob at pagbabagong dangal).

The BCBP advocacy was manifested by putting up billboards, posters, streamers, car stickers, t-shirts and other collaterals bearing the now familiar program’s message: “Be Honest, Even if others are not, Even if others will not, Even if others cannot.” But these words must be translated into action for faith is an action word. But why bother to be honest? What’s the point of being honest? Why be honest when it pays to be dishonest? Why fight for others, why they won’t fight for you or even for themselves? This need not to be answered by my brothers and sisters at BCBP.

Because before the BCBP came into existence, the late Sen. Jose W. Diokno,- one of my “life mentors” already answered these questions : “The answer lies what life means to you. If life means having a goodtime, money, fame, power, security – when you do not need principles, all you need are techniques. On the other hand, if happiness counts more than a good time, respect more than fame, right more than power and peace of soul more than security; if life doesn’t end life but transforms it, then you must be true to yourself and to God, and to love the truth and justice and freedom that are God’s other names.”

A mouthful but for me is the most human yet most powerful way of answering those questions…

(Photo softlinked from

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