What If Your Correspondent is on the Payroll of the News Subject?

This is a valid question especially where the news reports call for an objective narration of what exactly happened in an event that comes close to the heart of the press: the death of a broadcaster.

There is no denying the fact that, true, media practitioners must unite as a show of strength, but there are strands of rivalry or competition among these media men. Personal animosities sometimes even run deep among them. Under these circumstances, and due to some economic reasons, a few of these journalists gravitate with some local personalities and on the side take care of the latter’s public relations. The gravitation becomes apparent if one looks at the pattern of the releases of the correspondent. If the news report is adverse to one local personality, the question to be asked is is it favourable to the patron of the writer. One national newspaper carries the odium, as it turned out thru the years, as one big press release bulletin board. Understandably so because the newspaper appears to be just a medium to play up with the egoistical nature of some public officials, the politicians more especially. The more it features these Neanderthals (Larry Henares’ favourite word), the more business the magnate gets.

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A Bicolano Betrayal

” ‘Tis not seasonable to call a man a traitor that has an army at his heels.”
John Selden (1584-1654), British jurist, statesman. “Traitor,” Table Talk (1686).

We pride ourselves with our regionalistic inclinations. We identify ourselves with our friends, relatives, and neighbours. And we find ourselves more in common with our kababayan. Our townmates, provincemates, and yes, our cabalens, kabayans, kasagpi, kauragon, etc., are our extended primos. Especially when we speak the same dialect.

Ferdinand Marcos was the pride of the Ilocandia. The Osmenas, the Visayans. Diosdado Macapagal, his cabalens from Pampanga. FVR, the Pangalatoks. Now here comes Raul Roco, the unmistakeable rocket of Bicolandia. “Sain ka maduman, Raul Roco?” Quo vadis, Raul ? What happened to your kababayans? Why are they forsaking you?

It came as a shock when the governor of Camarines Sur where Roco comes from, being its erstwhile congressman for two terms, has spoken in behalf of the six governors from the Bicol Region that they are, to a man, a believer of Danding Cojuangco. When asked why he’s supporting Cojuangco, Gov. Villafuerte said, “We’d rather support a non-Bicolano. Raul Roco does not deserve our support.” That came as a bolt from the blue. How do the Bicolanos react to that declaration? Do these governors, with their much vaunted political machinery, have the capacity to elect Danding as President?

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Barefaced Local Corruption

In its September 14, 2003 issue, the Philippine Star reported the following:


The Subic International Hotel (SIH), the Freeport’s largest hotel, will invest P300 million for the construction of a world-class convention center which, when completed, is touted to be the largest in Asia.


SIH President Alejandra Clemente said they are going to push through with these investment projects despite the lingering effects of the Asian economic crisis because they are confident in their ability and that of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to promote the whole place as a world-class tourist destination.


Clemente also said that the P300-million world-class convention center when completed is touted to be the biggest dome in Asia – bigger than the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. The center will be a key proponent in Subic’s bid to be an entertainment and cultural center for those who cannot afford to get to Manila to watch international shows and concerts or see art exhibits.

Also in Cebu, its governor announced the erection of a convention center where its design was the subject of a province-wide contest. The winning plan expressive of the aspirations of the Cebuanos, was won by a resident architect. At least, that province economized on the design. Not only that, the design was open to the eyes of the public who has the knowing glance whether the bill of materials is over priced or not.

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One Quezon

Quezon Province, no doubt, is one big stretch of a country. A former governor once mused that Pres. Quezon, being a semi-dictator in his time, personally delineated the metes and bounds of his province, Tayabas, using a pencil in the presence of the chiefs of the Bureau of Lands and the present day National Mapping Authority. He made it a point that Tayabas had a taste of the Pacific, the belly of China Sea, the cheeks of Sierra Madre, the heels of Mts. Cadig and Labo, and the sharp elbow of Ragay Gulf. LAND IS A MAJOR ASSET OF QUEZONQuezon is indeed geographically unique. It pre-empted Laguna and Rizal from the sea. Thus, present day development plans integrate the geography of Quezon allowing the landlocked provinces access to the waterlines. This might also be the reason why our neighboring provinces look at our tie lines with envy.

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Investors, Anyone?

The other day I was talking to a “veteran foreign investor”, that is, someone who has clinched a project or two during the last twenty six years starting with the LRT and other forgettable ventures with local businessmen. He said nothing can top Marcos’ time by the way one foreigner like him did business in this country. All that Marcos did was to call each one who matters in one deal and with a couple of this and that bottomlined the instructions, “I want this project handled by Mr. Foreigner and may you please coordinate with him.” And the next day Minister So and So beats a path towards your doorsteps and then you have the entire timetable morphing before your eyes. What he was saying was that it was so easy doing business during martial law. You were only talking to one man. Were those circumstances present today, the Philippines would be the sweetheart of investors of substance. But as the song goes, “some good things never last.”

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All Rise

Of all the three branches in republican government, the judiciary is unique. It is described thus because the persons appointed in it are insulated from the people’s popular approval. Unlike the legislative and the presidency, the members of the courts are not popularly elected. In the former agencies, the ethical and the academic qualifications do not largely matter among the electorate so long as the candidate is perceived to be the popular one (coupled of course with the usual financial wherewithal to wage an impacting campaign).

Appointments in the courts entail the tedious selection among the many applicants who among them has not only the credentials as magistrate but the inclination to an isolated and lonely reflection in weighing the conflicts of litigants. The parties to a suit must never be on speaking terms with the judge. This is the ideal situation where we place the taxing role on the person on the bench the proverbial “cold neutrality of an impartial judge”. One may ask however if there is still a species of a neutral arbiter?

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Quo Vadis Quezon?

Now that the sound and the fury of the May 2004 elections have dissipated, where is Quezon going?It is not going to the dogs as some of us fear, but our fears are certainly real since we are going straight not to the wailing and hungry canines but to a long, cold, and stormy night. The only thing certain is the uncertainty. Our newfound leaders have nothing to offer but fear itself.

This writer has not encountered any blueprint of the next provincial administration, except the much-publicized conversion of the Quezon Memorial Hospital into Quezon Medical Center . The construction cost of this new edifice is placed at P700M! So that for the next three years the sitting governor’s concentration is focused on this task, and therefore expect nothing for the rest of the province. Nope, SOP is not our main concern here, sorry.

We have to give it to the sitting governor for his burning ambition of practically burning the provincial coffers to put up the edifices of his obsession. Who can blame him? He has seen the Parthenon in Rome , the pyramids of Egypt , the Empire State Building of New York, the Petronas of Kuala Lumpur, etc., and they have stood the test of time. He is now setting his eyes on history, and he wants to be remembered as the chief of the greatest mischief in these parts.

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Anti-Poor Supreme Court

The Constitution mandates that the Supreme Court shall promulgate rules and regulations that foster inexpensive litigation and the rendition of justice is conveniently made available to all. Thus, it shall

(p)romulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged . Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade , and shall not diminish, increase, modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. {Art. VII, Section 5, 1987 Constitution, emphasis ours}

lawyer’s stupidity binds the client.

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