• Biases

    Katrina Stuart Santiago

    Katrina Stuart Santiago

    I don’t know what happened in that Dasmariñas Village gate on the night of November 30, but the point is this: who does?

    And it’s not so much that no one truly knows what happened, as it is this: everyone thinks they know what happened. Everyone thinks that what the Philippine Daily Inquirer sold as a truthful news report is already the narrative that’s valid. Because Nancy C. Carvajal’s “3 Dasma guards who stopped Binay convoy held, freed” came first, every version of the story that the Binays tell is a lie, is a spin, is a manipulation of that “original” story.

    We forget that the PDI story is only a version of what happened, and that its claim to being the “original” and “real” story is really only that – a claim. They are taking ownership of the truth via a nameless source and a 15-minute CCTV clip that shows only moving bodies with no clear faces.

    It boggles the mind that this is even the basis of a news story. One cannot help but wonder why we are not demanding more than this, why we aren’t asking for better journalism.

    What for?
    But it seems we do not know to ask for that anymore. At the very least we are not asking it of the broadsheet that first broke this story; neither are we asking it of every other media enterprise that claims the truth about some aspect of the story or another. In fact, any story that does not support or in some way agree with the first story is considered a pagbabaligtad. Certainly these questions I raise here will be seen as condoning the behavior of a member of one of the most hated (because?) powerful political dynasties in the country.

    And yet it is far from that. In fact I don’t think asking questions about media (ir)responsibility condones the behavior of its chosen subject matter. Not asking media for better news reports, not asking media about its own biases, in fact is to condone media’s lack of transparency about why it does these stories. And ultimately what we encourage is this kind of reporting, one that is being delivered without the proper context, the timing of which also highly questionable.

    Because this is an incident that happened November 30, and the story broke 19 days after the incident. Why did PDI come out with it at this point in time, when there are so many other more important stories that deserve to be in the headline? More importantly, why paint this picture of arrogance against Mayor Junjun Binay, 19 days after an incident that has since been resolved?

    Who’s arrogant?
    I tend to think that were Mayor Binay truly arrogant, he would’ve told this story first, right after it happened, and talked about how he and his convoy fell victim to the security rules of a village that falls under the jurisdiction of the Mayor’s Office. Were he truly arrogant, he would’ve slammed through that barrier that the Dasma guards refused to lift for him as a courtesy to his position as Mayor. (Fine, that sounds too action film for comfort, but you get what I mean).

    The head of the security agency has said it in various interviews: there is courtesy that’s afforded the President, the Vice President, and the Mayor of the City when it comes to being allowed to enter and exit these villages. He said the security guards on duty that night truly didn’t know that it was Mayor Binay who had stepped out of that car. He said that that the men themselves told him that the Mayor was not angry when he got out of the car and asked if he could pass through (it is unclear at this point what words were said).

    Ah, but none of these seem to matter to those who believe the PDI story to be the correct version of this narrative. The PDI itself has since come out with story after story about their own story, complete with “the video going viral” and “netizens are angry” stories – a practice that’s done by online media sites to generate more hits. PDI columnist Winnie Monsod – who lives in Dasmariñas Village – has sided with the security guards, saying that they did what was right, and in the end pushed for the narrative that Mayor Binay was just being arrogant. She said too that the security agency had no right to speak for her village’s homeowners’ association.

    I say: then this is not a question of whether the Mayor was arrogant or not, as it is a question of whose rules are more important, whose rules should be followed, by these guards. Ah, but that is not a question that Monsod asks. Instead she throws everything including the kitchen sink and calls the owner of the security agency a Binay supporter – because that explains everything. She also believes the PDI report, hook line sinker, and judged the Mayor based on his bodyguards pulling out their guns. Never mind that those guns aren’t seen on that CCTV clip; neither is it clear who exactly had their weapons at the ready.

    Who’s biased?
    The biases are clear here, and it’s not even just PDI’s. Monsod is clearly anti-Binay – treating as truth, as she does, that questionable report about the Mayor’s bodyguards pulling out their guns, and then concluding that “this is an indication of how Binay is going to rule the country.”

    In truth, the aftermath of this PDI report with highly questionable timing is an indication of how immature we are about assessing media practices in this country. We are so angry at politicians, we forget that they are not always the only culprits here. Media is biased. And there is nothing objective or honest about the manner in which this story was put in the headlines 19 days after it happened. There is nothing truthful about not getting the Binays’ side alongside that nameless source; nothing truthful in glossing over the fact that this has all since been resolved.

    The worst part is how social media opinion seems to have gone on arrogance overdrive too, where the righteous always feel more brave when it speaks with a (presumed) multitude. I for one don’t think we can function in this world without being biased for or against something. But while what this has fueled is the unkind biases against the Binays in general, what it has forced me to look at are the biases of media enterprises and personalities who purport to be credible and objective.

    What I insist on is the task of asking questions, because there is too much that we aren’t allowed to see, and too often when enough of us are screaming we also fail to hear who else is speaking.

    The worst thing about biases after all is that these can render us blind, deaf, and dumb.


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    1. introspective piece, perhaps not for the mad crowd who might fail to see the other things, keep it up.

    2. To Katrina Santiago- Are a lapdog of the Binays? If there is a Binay Administration, will you get a job.
      What you showed is the powerful trying to cow low paid security guard to let them. Where the hell, lady, is it acceptable to use a weapon. As a former combat soldier, my reaction would have been taking my weapon and aiming for the closest arrogant SOB’s Head!
      Give me a break, if you are not in the paid service of these arrogant pieces of SH*T!
      I would like Katrina Santiago to answer these questions- 1. Are you a loyal member of Binay’s Political Faction? 2. Are you on the payroll of the Binays? But as always, Katrina won’t answer. She has no principles and like a cockroach sees light scurries into the dark. Your article is a waste of time LADY! Get a real job!

    3. I think Mayor Binay’s group here is ultimately wrong in their actions. Saying that, i am not NAIVE to think that there are no “hidden forces” fanning this issue up there in the skies, good faith commentaries by concerned citizens notwithstanding.

    4. The author (Katrina) wrote: “I say: then this is not a question of whether the Mayor was arrogant or not, as it is a question of whose rules are more important, whose rules should be followed, by these guards. Ah, but that is not a question that Monsod asks. Instead she throws everything including the kitchen sink and calls the owner of the security agency a Binay supporter – because that explains everything. She also believes the PDI report, hook line sinker, and judged the Mayor based on his bodyguards pulling out their guns. Never mind that those guns aren’t seen on that CCTV clip; neither is it clear who exactly had their weapons at the ready.” — Excuse me, Katrina. Yes it was clear in the HIGH DEFINITION video clip who drew out their weapons first. It was PAINFULLY OBVIOUS who was trying to intimidate who. And to ask the question “whose rules are more important?” is evidence that YOU are BIASED FOR ANY HIGH RANKING OFFICIAL who can push their weight around, because an unbiased investigator will NEVER ask “whose rules are more important?” as if to say “who is above the law?”. With all the proof that you see, the CCTV footage, the testimonies of the guards themselves, the reaction of the residents of the village, and the poor manner by which Binay and his office are handling this situation, YOU are turning out to be “blind, deaf, and dumb”. Don’t blame Social Media or the News for blowing this up, because THEY blew it up when they started to show force and intimidation against the guards who were just doing their jobs. THEY probably didn’t think their actions will be put to light with today’s technology, and under scrutiny of the people who happen to be discussing this issue via the Social Media. THEY must’ve thought they could get away with their actions as they may have done so before (but were not caught on camera). One thing you clearly have not considered is GOD’S HAND over the entire matter. HE made a way for people to see the TRUE CHARACTER of the Binays so that the citizens are better informed about their leaders before the next election. GOD may also be allowing this to happen to the Binay family so that they will LEARN to RESPECT their positions and HONOR the people whom they should serve. GOD may be using this situation to MAKE OUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS think thrice before doing something stupid and give the rightful respect towards the people of this nation, because haven’t you noticed? They are more and more unafraid to show people that they are powerful enough to get what they however they want to? You can always point out that Media is biased… tell me something I don’t already know, of course they have always been biased! But sometimes they get it right because GOD has made everything so timely and so obvious and so available that it’s IMPOSSIBLE for them to get it wrong. You call it bias, I call it the hand of God.

    5. your attempt to spin the facts is pathetic. no public official is worthy of respect when he forces his way through a village gate by force of arms and two armies: one public and one seemingly private (but paid by public funds). at least now i know, once and for all, you are a paid agent.

    6. DALAWANG URI: Simpleng tao at VIP

      1. Ang mga sikyong nakatalaga sa Dasma: Kapakanan ng mga pribadong mayayaman pati na nang mga simpleng naninilbihan sa mga ito ang pinakaiingatan. Sila’y mga simpleng tao na nangangalaga sa mayayaman at mahihirap. Wala dapat iniintinding pansariling kapakanan.

      2. Ang alkalde at mga bataan niya: Kapakanan ng lahat nang sinasakupan ang pinakaiingatan, sa publiko at sa pribado. Sila’y mga VIP na nangangalaga sa mahihirap at mayayaman. Kasama na rito ang kapakanan ng mga sikyong nakatalaga sa Dasma. Wala dapat iniintinding pansariling kapakanan.

      Ang sabi ng babaeng kapatid ay unawain na lang ang alkalde ng Makati tutal ito’y nakaraan na at humayo na lamang nang mapayapa sa Kapaskuhan. Sino ba dapat ang pinaunlakan nang higit na pang-unawa, ang VIP o ang mga simpleng taong nangangailangan rin ng pang-unawa?

      Ang sabi ng ama ng alkalde ng Makati ay bigyan ng kortesiya ang kaniyang anak. Sino ba dapat ang pinaunlakan nang lubos na kortesiya, ang VIP o ang mga simpleng taong nanghihingi rin ng kortesiya?

    7. I’ve been through my fair share of PR campaigns, and this one reeks of it. A poor one at that as it seems to fuel the flames rather than divert attention.

      The writer asks the question: if Binay is arrogant – then why did he NOT tell his side of the story right away? Why did it take 19d for the story to come out?

      Dear Ms. Santiago, you speak of smart journalism, what about common sense? The simple reason why Binay DID NOT tell the story and it DID NOT come out right away is because the Binays want to KILL THE STORY as it really puts them in bad light.

      Did the Binays really have to enforce their authority on a simple issue? Obviously there was abuse of power here – or if you don’t want to call it that, let’s just say JJ Binay just wanted to show who has the bigger balls – him or the guards. Really very simple. Ego tripping.

      The other gate was just 150m away – just a minute away by car – why not just turn around? Why spend 15 minutes, draw out guns (and an umbrella), call the police and “invite” the guards to “voluntarily” go the a police precint?

      If this is not one guy showing how much weight his name carries, please tell me what it is. I am truly interested to hear your interpretation of what all that “show” was for.

      On one hand, we have simple (but vigilant) security guards – on the other hand, we have the security detail of a Mayor and a Senator who are political gods in our country.

      Ms. Santiago, I ask you this sincerely, given the two parties above – who do you think has the propensity to abuse their authority?

      Note to the BINAYS – the truly powerful will not think twice about being humble.

    8. Dear katrina, havent you heard of the saying ” a picture spells a thousand words” and ” actions speak louder than words”. The binay side was given a chance to explain through mr salgado and even sen binay. But clearly their explanation belies their action. Do the netizens airing their disgust need to say more. It seems you are the one with the biases. On your last sentence, tell it to yourself. Even those obvious binays journalists in manila standard dare not defend him coz they know they will look stupid.
      Henry ong, you are funny. Do you mean all those ambassadors, senators, congressman living there in dasma should be taking another road less taken for security purposes too?

    9. Ms. Katrina Santiago, whose rules should the guards follow? The rules set up by the village homeowners association or by the agency owner?

      One more, what is the umbrella for?

    10. The worst thing about biases after all is that these can render us blind, deaf, and dumb, just like Katrina Stuart Santiago.

    11. I can think of at least 6 crimes that were committed that night in plain view of the camera. None of them was committed by the security guards. So sorry, video trumps PR this time, Ms. Santiago.

    12. Nice try, but everyone’s seen the video, which makes your column irrelevant and, well, blatantly biased. No amount of contextualization can possibly explain away what happened in that video. So just please stop making yourself look foolish.

    13. Who ever u are katrina stuart santiago and whatever biases ur talking about people already decided what kind of people are these binays…..arrogance and to be in power are only their mission……

    14. In a democracy a mayor is elected by the people. He embodies the people and should give the example to the people. The rules that apply to the people should certainly apply to him, being the first citizen. All the rest is nonsense.

    15. Maraming tanong:

      1) Si JunJun at Nancy ba talaga ung lumabas sa sasakyan?
      2) Si Jun Jun ba talaga ang nakipag-usap sa Sekyu?
      3) Talaga bang sa village na yan, may curfew ang pag-pasok ng sasakyan sa gabi?
      4) Bakit dinala sa police station ung mga sekyu?

      Maraming haka haka pero, kahit anong sabihin nyo, di ninyo mapapasubalian ang mga sumusunod:

      1) Kung totoo ung item 1 at 2 sa taas, E BOBO PALA TONG MAGKAPATID. Kung ang purpose ay tambangan sila … e di tiyak na pinaglalamayan na sila ngayon kasi parang sumisigaw pa silang MGA ANAK NI BINAY ITO.

      2) Bobo ang mga coordinator ni Junjun. Dapat man lang, may advance na tawag dun sa Guard na nag papa alam na dadaan ung mga VIP na anak ni VP Binay. Di sana nabigyan sila ng COURTESY PASS na siyang isinisigaw ni VP Binay.

      Ngayon, malayung malayo talaga si Jun Jun kay Herbert. Nung hinarang at tinekitan ng MMDA Traffic enforcer ung sasakyan ni Herbert … aba BINIGYAN NI HERBERT NG COMMENDATION ung traffic enforcer for doing his job diligently.

      Take note … ito ay komento ng isang taong naniniwalang puro kapalpakan lang ang mga Dilawang politiko ng LP gaya ni Herbert.

    16. Of course there’s bias everywhere!
      You’re biased against irresponsible journalism.
      I’m biased against people who require an “umbrella boy” on a rainless evening.
      Biases fuel discussion.
      Even the blind, deaf, and dumb are allowed to discuss.

    17. I get they are not arrogant to you. They did not slam the barricade, right? The body guards or whoelse were with the binays just took rifles and guns and “courteously” showed the gun’s barrel to the security guards and backup guards. Perhaps the binay’s men were just letting the guards check if the gun is rusty?hmm. Girl, you are naive. You can write, but definitely, you cannot think right.

    18. Maria Fatima A.M. Bejar on

      Hello Ms Katrina Stuart Santiago. Have you seen the close up video?
      Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP6lUpkYUjk&feature=share

      Please tell me why the guard fell forward and his hat fell off. Please tell me as well why Mayor Binay’s bodyguard had an armalite. Also, what was Senator Nancy Binay carrying?

      Lastly, if you were one of the security guards of Dasmariñas Village in the video, how would you feel?

      Thank you and I hope you find the time to answer my questions.

    19. joseph tumulak on

      You talk about responsible journalism and you start your article by saying that you do not know what happened? Obvously you have not seen the video or the one where there is a close up version which clearly showed one bodyguard drawing his gun and later took an armalite rifle from another companion. So who is irresponsible now, dumb, deaf and blind? You go figure.

    20. Fernando Rovillos Jr. on

      This is a question of how our personal biases try to downplay sensational or more pressing issues confronting our government and how these prejudices conversely sensationalize trivial matters of no substantial meaning. The mainstream media have the power to shape spectrum of public opinion. The question is why the PDI raised up this dreaded lurgy 19 days after the incident considering that this was settled amicably among parties. Surely the PDI wanted to capture wide audience to spread the contagion of this canker which is not that serious but is easy to catch. WHY?

    21. “better late than never”
      like daniel, i cannot seem to think why you thought otherwise. unless you’re thinking that the video was edited and spliced together again.
      or do you have a different video (perhaps with audio, this time) to say otherwise.
      what do you want, that when the father sits on the throne someday, that will be the right “time” to bring this to the public? won’t that be “discourteous”?

    22. Is it a biased mind that would conclude that the police arriving at the Dasmarinas gate to lift the gate barrier, and allow the “maligned” mayor of Makati to pass through the gate as he wanted initially, a display of power and arrogance? Isn’t the use of policemen to lift the barrier instead of turning around a display of political power and arrogance? This is just to prove to the guards that the mayor always gets the entitlement he feels he deserves! Pardon my bias, but the 1987 Philippine Constitution (Article XI, Accountability of Public Officials, Section 1 “Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”) seems to imply (my bias may be getting ahead of me) that the citizens MUST BE BIASED in favor of PUBLIC TRUST AGAINST ABUSES, perceived or actual, by public officials. PUBLIC TRUST is SACRED such that small miscues can violate it. So sacred that public officials must be as PURE as CAESAR’S WIFE! They are measured wuth more stringent standards than those used for ordinary citizens.

      As far as columnists are concerned, they are left better to their own biases for that is the very nature of their trade as columnists. They write about their biases (as if these were the truth). The columnists of Manila Times are no different from the columnists of different publications in their extreme opinions .

      May be you should lead a crusade that will bring back ethics to reporters. Notice present-day news reports also editorialize instead of just presenting the facts as plainly and objectively as possible. But I guess this is no lomger possible today because sensationalism generate sales and profit.

    23. Angel Concepcion on

      Are you BLIND Ms Katrina Stuart Santiago? You certainly displayed your BIAS towards the BINAYS. No doubt!

    24. If the Inquirer didn’t come out with this article we wouldn’t have known it happened. That’s all that matters. “Unkind”? The feelings of the Binays don’t matter to me.

    25. The Barrier and the Umbrella

      One was not raised for the elected Man
      The other put up to cover an authoritarian

      One kept the busy elected Man from leaving
      The other shielded him from the midnight’s misting

      One kept closed was made to appear irreverent
      The other was opened to venerate the heir apparent

    26. “Any man who must say, ‘I am the king’ is no true king”. This also applies to a mayor who wishes to be recognized and be treated as a mayor.

    27. Ms. Katrina Santiago, I’m not sure you have watched the full video yourself without being biased. The video says it all. I suggest you view it again and before doing that remove from yourself any form of bias. Reading throurougly your column, it’s seems you are talking about youself.

    28. Bias against somebody or some bodies do not just happen. One does not look at a person and just opine that he/she is bad or immoral – there has to be past behavior(s) that warrant such an opinion. A “multitude” thinking the same way about them cannot just be based on bias alone, there has to be some truth to the “rumor has it”. The same way that good deeds are bound to surface no matter how much the doer tries to hide it. Winnie Monsod does not strike me as a person who would blindly take sides without investigating the incident, and like the previous comment wrote, a video is hard to refute.

    29. Katrina, I suggest before you wrote on this issue, that you must see the video, evaluate, analyze and form your point(s) of contention. The way I see it, you just jumped into the rescue of that arrogant Makati Mayor who made all Filipinos aware of how that kind of royalty or honorary the Little Mayor wants to be. Ho-hum, what a waste of effort.

    30. It’s a lost cause, my dear.
      live with it.
      best recourse now is for the mayor to resort to the one option that was available to him on day 1: humility – with an apology and a sincere promise to make amends, where needed.
      anne curtis did it so well… and never waited for weeks to do so.

    31. I agree with what Daniel is saying. In the space of a few sentences, he succinctly summarized the main issues and demolished whatever rationalizations the Binay apologist give.

    32. If only the poor can reply to the comments of the rich…………baka mapuno to agad. But ts just so pathetic that they have no laptops ,computers, ifon, ipads that they can voice out their honest opinions. It is so clear “” the rich hates the Binays…..but the poor loves them so much”. The only time that the rich are thankful to them is when they watch free movie or enjoys their 20% discount when their olds pays their food on restaurants or maybe when they get their allowance /cake from the mayor. Or maybe when their drivers or helpers get free medical treatments via their masters.Saan ba cla tumatakbo?….Pag nagkasakit ba mga anak ng mga katulong or drivers nyo, saan nyo ba cla tinuturo?……Pagkatapos nyo ba enjoyin ang food nyo after a 20% discount masaya kayo? Pagkatapos nyo ba inumin ang mga gamot nyo na bawas ng 20%, masaya ba kayo?.Who started this?.Magisip kayo. Oo sometimes maybe tutulong kayo sa mahihirap, but up to when? Nakakalungkot isipin na kitang kita ang pagiging Crab ng iba dyan na sumasawsaw para sirain ang mga taong inaasahan ng mahihirap. Magisip kayo. Ano ba ang naitulong mo sa mahihirap.

    33. 1) video shows guards were roughed up
      2) video shows guards were not threatening convoy
      3) video shows Binay bodyguards drawing guns…an assault rifle at that

      What else evidence do you need? The video is enough.

      Either you lack the intellect to come to the proper conclusion, or you are under Binays payroll.

    34. eduardo topico on

      clearly, a blind person can see more clearly than you. When you said Monsod is anti Binay, you should have asked yourself first and you patently biased journalism. I believe in Karma and hope it won’t happy to you and your family where a hoodlum politician cross your way with a simple traffic altercation and cock a gun on you or your family believing that he has the right of way. I was once a Binay supporter, unfortunately , maybe will still vote for the father but not for his abusive children. My only reservation is that the father instead of condoning their act of his should have castigated them for tarnishing his reputation….

    35. You pointed out that Monsod and PDI are biased against the Binays. But readers, don’t u see that Ms Katrina Santiago are biased for the Binays! This is the 1st opnion writer i ever read that defended the Binays. Not even the other perceived pro UNA newspaper has defended Mayor Junjun. They just keep quiet coz there are no justifiable reason to defend the arrogance of Mayor Junjun.

    36. What Mayor Binay did on that night was perfectily in his right as Mayor of Makati and most importantly He did the basic rule in security precaution which anyone can verify from security experts that you avoid taking same route that high profile personality like the Makati Mayor avoided during that late night visit in Dasmarinas Village. Maybe the officials of that village should invite some security experts to give them a basic 101 on security precautions, esp. for those high profile, rich residents who may be subject of kidnappings, etc…. Oh, just to prove my point; the assasination of a town mayor from Zamboanga in NAIA 3 should be proof enough of the security precaution that Mayor Binay took that late eveining!!!

    37. We saw the video, for God’s sake. What else can you make out of it? Do you have another video of that incident that shows a different picture of that blatant show of force and arrogance? Why do they have to “invite” those guards to the precinct? Is it now a crime for private security guards to insist in doing their jobs as ordered by their superiors, if in doing so a City Mayor is inconvenienced or displeased? Forget the timing. The only issue is : did that incident happen or not? From all indications it did and no amount of bending, twisting and spinning by the Binay apologists could change what the great majority of our citizens now think of them.

      • You’re right Sir Daniel, maybe this author have another copy of video from the city hall..that copy has no bodyguards cocking their guns and no bodyguards holding in the corner those security guards responded arrived in motorcyles..the author is talking about biases..why not use ” to see is to believe” thing..