Sec. Toting Bunye’s exchange with fellow Blue Eagles
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-02-12

Both Wally Reyes and this Chair Wrecker are Ateneo alumni and former ad agency CEOs. We also fought the Marcos dictatorship and served in the Cory Aquino cabinet.

Wally shared with me an exchange of emails (circulated in their Ateneo Alumni egroup) that starts with Wally’s email to his batch mate, Press Secretary Toting Bunye. Wally reacted to Toting’s assertions during the February 7 “Damage Control” presscon in Malacanang which was staged to debunk whistleblower Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada’s revelations hours earlier.

Wally Reyes’ email:

“Dear Toting,

I remember when we used to meet for the year 2000 Ateneo Reunion how aggressive you were in pushing for the impeachment of then President Estrada due to corruption. I remember you wearing the T-shirt “sinipa natin noon; sipain ulit ngayon” (ousted then; oust now) during the grand reunion in December 2000 to highlight your conviction against corruption.

I have just seen your press conference on the Lozada episode and I am just wondering how you can, with a straight face, justify the corruption happening in the Arroyo Administration. Where is the Toting Bunye of 2000? Have your Ateneo values changed over the years?

Before I left the Philippines, I have always respected your conviction and your respect for truth and justice and I would like to believe that you still have these qualities. Please do not destroy your reputation and image by condoning corruption now!

Toting, you know that when I was there, I had been active in the anti-Marcos and impeach-Estrada movements and I would always see you in these undertakings. Now, I see you justifying the actions of the Arroyo administration which are clearly devoid of truth and justice! What has happened to the Toting Bunye I knew before?

I hope you will not consider this as an attempt to destabilize your Arroyo government! All I want to do is bring you back to reality....bring you back to the Ateneo values we all shared during the anti-Marcos and impeach-Estrada era. Here’s for TRUTH AND JUSTICE ALWAYS!

Your friend and former classmate,

Wally Reyes”

Bunye’s reply

Toting Bunye replied forthwith to Wally’s email and rationalized his actions, as follows:

“To my dear classmates:

I wish to thank Wally for his well-meaning advice. I just want to assure Wally and everyone that I have not yet lost my bearings. My compass still points to the True North.

Let me just put in perspective what happened in the presscon referred to by Wally.

To the best of my recollection, these are points that I raised.

1. The Senate hearings are pointless. They are supposedly ‘in aid of legislation’ but I have yet to hear of any piece of legislation that has been enacted as a result of these endless hearings.

2. I said that these hearings are being used ‘in aid of grandstanding’. Shouldn’t that be very obvious?

3. The purpose of the Senate is not to prosecute, but to legislate. Prosecution is the work of the Ombudsman. In other words, we are wasting precious legislative time on matters that could be handled by fiscals and prosecutors.

4. If there are any people who may have committed any wrongdoings. Then let the case be filed in the proper forum, ie, before the Ombudsman.

5. I will not defend corruption. But as a student of law and as a student of the Constitution, I also happen to believe that everyone has certain inalienable rights. An accused has certain inviolable rights guaranteed by the Constitution. This includes the right to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law. I believe that any accused should have his day in court, not be crucified before an inquisition-like Senate, before grandstanding senators.

6. I believe that the courts are also capable of ferreting out the truth and dispensing justice.

To summarize, we all believe in truth and justice. I just disagree with the manner by which this objective should be attained.

Thank you and a good day to all.

Toting Bunye” (End of the email exchange)

In a rejoinder, Wally reminded Toting of an important lesson from the lines of Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt’s A Man for all Seasons: “When a statesman deserts his private conscience for public duty, he leads himself and his country by a short road into chaos.”

Without realizing what would be the results of that upheaval, Ateneans were among the first to rush to the EDSA Shrine in what led to EDSA II. These are very sad and trying times indeed for Blue Eagles who have had to witness those other Blue Eagles who have transformed into Blue Vultures or Blue Chickens. Taught to become “A man for others” – the Blue Vultures just plundered and helped themselves with impunity.

Jun Lozada has emerged as a folk hero to many Filipinos who have long wondered if there are any patriots left who truly care for the country. Wally’s email to Toting Bunye was prompted by Jun Lozada’s revelations.

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