COA COMMISSIONER HEIDI MENDOZA IN WASHINGTON
We laud former COA auditor Heidi Mendoza, former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, former special prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio, and more recently Lt.
Please heed the call of noble Filipinos, like Heidi Mendoza
, when they come out against the abuse of office that impoverishes the people and harm the common good.
It was graced by the presence of Heidi Mendoza
, champion of truth telling about the corruption in the mmilitary and member of the Ehem Board.
Col George Rabusa also came, and together with Heidi
lighted the candle that started the whole big congregation holding and waving light.
Below is the text of the Bp.
Pabillo's hommily and the wonderful liturgy prepared by the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan.
More than a thousand people attended the mass, almost all wearing white,
We hope that our Ehem friends will be more empowered now by the great and noble example of Heidi Mendoza
, who has been featured in the Ehem videoducmentary since 2006, and mendtioned in the song Ehemplo that can be dowloaded in the you-tube.
If you ask our truth tellers here - ask Jun Lozada, ask Heidi
, ask Col Rabusa, ask Villa-ignacio and Marcelo, and still so many others, what moves them to continue to expose the truth and not be silenced by enticements and threats, many will admit that they get strength from the support of many, even unknown people, who in their own small ways believe in them, such as handing them their hard-earned 20 pesos, giving them a free meal, or just simple tapping their back to say, naniniwala kami sa iyo, ipagpatuloy mo.
Hindi lang ito laban ni Heidi Mendoza, ni Atty.
Marcelo, ni Col Rabusa, ni Villa-ignacio, ni Col Lim at ng sinupamang magsasalita.
Laban po natin itong lahat, sapagkat ang pera pong pinaglaruan ay hindi lang pera ng AFP ngunit pera ng Pilipinas.
Ating lahat ang diwang nadungisan ng katiwalian at ang diwang matutubos ng katotohanan.
Iyan ay ang diwang Pilipino!
AS THE NATION heaps praise and admiration upon former government auditor turned whistle-blower Heidi Mendoza
, I am reminded of two words: "common virtue.
This was the title of the last chapter of John Bradley Jr.'s 2000 bestseller, "Flags of Our Fathers.
The book is Bradley's account of the lives of the six American soldiers who raised the flag atop Mt. Suribachi on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima, site of one of the most horrendous battles of World War II.
The photo of the flag-raising soon became one of the iconic images of the war.
The three flag-raisers who survived the battle (one of whom was Bradley's father, John Sr.) were brought home and hailed as heroes, a role they reluctantly took on to help sell bonds to fund the war effort.
Bradley's final description of the six men could very well apply to Heidi Mendoza, former AFP budget officer George Rabusa, and other men and women who have risked their personal well-being in pursuit of the truth.
I have known Heidi Mendoza
for many years through her husband Dr. Roy Mendoza, a good friend and former colleague at the John J. Carroll Institute
on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI).
The statement, I feel, reflects all that is good and right not just in the singular act or courage that Heidi
displayed with her testimony, but in the total commitment Heidi
and Roy have displayed all through their lives.
At the onset, Heidi
and Roy seemed like an unlikely pair.
Heidi followed a fairly unremarkable path, working at the Commission on Audit soon after graduating from college, the start of more than 20 years of service in government.
In a recent meeting with Heidi
and Roy, they shared with me their reflections on the twists and turns that their lives have taken.
Roy lightheartedly recounted: "When we were deciding whether Heidi
would come out in the open with her
knowledge of the Garcia case, she
reminded me that when I was younger she
tolerated my work in political activism.
told me that it is her
turn now to be the political activist.
I had to remind her
, in turn, that when we were younger we did not yet have any children."
Indeed, thoughts of her
three children have not been far from Heidi's mind in the midst of the political maelstrom she
During a strategizing session at the Ateneo School of Government several weeks before her testimony in Congress, Heidi explained her anguished decision to go public in these words: "I am not doing this for myself, to seek publicity.
Just like Bradley's flag-raisers, Heidi
is a reluctant hero.
"A person of common virtue . . . it's as simple as that."
In their show of support for Heidi
, the Philippine Catholic bishops quoted from their own pastoral letter two years ago encouraging lay participation in social change: "We challenge our Catholic laity, in particular, to take the lead in the task of moral renewal towards a deeper and more lasting change in the Philippine society.
We challenge all lay people involved in politics to renounce corruption and bond together in the task of evangelizing politics for effective governance and the pursuit of the common good.
Perhaps the bishops realized that there are enough good people out there who simply need to be encouraged, people of "common virtue" who can truly make a difference.
But as Heidi Mendoza
has shown us, perhaps common virtue is not so common.