Although the Philippines is afflicted with many disasters, natural and man-made, it is heartening that you have chosen three Filipinos to be among 50 leaders at the forefront of change ("The stars of Asia," Cover Story, July 3).

Two of the three Filipinos you chose are among the few fearless individuals in this country. Jimenez-Magsanoc, chief editor of the country's broadsheet, stood her ground in the face of the President's subtle but relentless assault on press freedom at the leading newspaper. Ex-SEC Chairman Yasay exposed what many Filipinos know but no officials affirm: that the President favors and protects his friends at the expense of 70 million Filipinos. That is the most fearless action ever taken by a public official before a vindictive President. Zobel, who belongs to one of the richest families in the country, is not a known critic of the Estrada administration. However, he is not a member of the President's circle of friends, who are having a grand time getting favors from the President.

Your choices mean that under the Estrada administration, the country is back on its sickbed, and we need leaders outside the administration to bring it back to its robust state.

Orpheus M. Velasco

Manila

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