MANILA, Philippines - Despite his admission that he himself was not "clean," retired Col. George Rabusa won the admiration of dozens of students from De La Salle University, College of St. Benilde.
Rabusa was the resource speaker at a public forum that discussed military corruption organized by the NGO, Pagbabago! Peoples Movement for Change, together with the La Salle Justice and Peace Commission (LSJP), College of St. Benilde Social Action Center, and College of St. Benilde Student Council.
The forum was entitled, "May Pabaon Ka Ba Dyan?"
As Rabusa entered the auditorium, he was greeted with applause and cheers.
Rabusa emotionally admitted to his audience how he used to bow to material wealth. "Nadala ako sa lahat ng luho, nakalimutan ko ang Diyos, nakalimutan kong magdasal totally," he said.
He then broke down in tears when he said, "masuwerte ako iniwan sa akin ng God ang right side ng brain ko."
Rabusa has since suffered a stroke which left a good part of his body paralyzed.
His tearful confession was received by applause from the students, including students from the Deaf Department of the College of St. Benilde.
Rabusa seems to be following the footsteps of NBN-ZTE whistleblower Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada who did the school rounds as a resource speaker against corruption.
When asked what "pabaon" (send-off gift) he can give to the students, Rabusa answered, "Huwag nyo akong tularan, just follow ang tuwid na landas just like what our President [Aquino] said."
But for some of the students who were at the forum, whatever Rabusa did was in the past, and what is more important is what he is doing now.
One student said he is a hero. "Bayani sya kung maituturing dahil lumantad sya para sabihin ang katotohanan."
Another admired him for his courage, saying "matapang s'ya sa kanyang ginagawa."
After the forum, the students swarmed around Rabusa, asking for him to pose with them for souvenir photos.
Rabusa was overwhelmed by the attention he got from the students. "Naluluha ako, hindi ko alam na ganito, hindi ko ini-expect ito," he said.
'Let the truth come out'
While the attention is now centered on Angelo Reyes’ death, Pagbabago! Peoples Movement for Change spokesperson Fr. Joe Dizon reminded the public to focus on the real issue.
“Huwag sana matakpan ng pagkamatay ni Gen. Reyes ang katotohanan. That should not be the reason for stopping the Senate inquiry about military corruption and eventually prosecuting those who are ultimately responsible,” said Dizon.
Fr. Dizon also expressed support for Rabusa. “Naniniwala kami na credible witness sya, tulungan natin syang maihayag lahat ng katotohanan, yan ang responsibilidad natin," he said.
Dizon also asked the public to pray for Gen. Reyes and his family. “Our Christian duty is to entrust him to God. Tungkulin ng mga naiwan, ng pamilya nya, kung ano man ang nagawang pagkakamali ni Gen. Reyes, na gawin ang lahat para maituwid ito.”