RESIGNATION is the only appropriate course of action left for Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar if he can’t prove his charge that $1,000 was offered to Senate reporters to cover the presscon of a retired policeman linking President Rodrigo Duterte to the Davao Death Squad.
Andanar was completely unapologetic when asked by irate Senate reporters, the National Press Club and the National Union of Journalists to prove his charge, so no apology from him is forthcoming. His defense that he didn’t name any particular Senate reporter and didn’t know if the offer of $1,000 was accepted was no defense.
Why did he air the charge at all if he didn’t have the facts in hand? In doing so, he besmirched the reputation of all Senate reporters, among them respected old hands in journalism. Incidentally, among them is Paul Gutierrez, president of the National Press Club.
If Andanar were a true journalist, he would have immediately suspected a “kuryente” when his source told him that ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS was offered to each of the reporters. The mention of “dollars” should have raised a red flag but no, not to Andanar who apparently believes that only the “bayaran” in the media would cover a presscon not in praise of President Duterte.
The Senate reporters don’t need any incentive to cover a legitimate news event. No self-respecting reporter will refuse to cover a big event unless he sees dollar or peso signs. And no publication will employ for long a reporter who gets scooped in a press conference.
I knew Secretary Andanar’s father Wency way back in the mid-1980s when the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino was still in its infancy and when he ran in Surigao. However, I have known Secretary Andanar only as a newsreader on a TV station. I don’t know if he had ever been a news reporter and if so, for how long. But, why should we care? Early on, some media men were happy that Andanar, whom they considered one of their own, was named to the Duterte Cabinet. I doubt if they still feel the same way now.
With his mindless diatribe against Senate reporters, Andanar will have great difficulty in building a good working relationship with the media. He showed his low regard for journalists covering the Senate. It’s but right that the media pay him in kind.
EDSA spirit gone
Thirty-one years ago today, then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, Deputy Chief of Staff Lt./Gen. Fidel Ramos and the Reform the AFP Movement withdrew their allegiance to the martial law regime. That show of defiance on February 22, 1986, won the support of Jaime Cardinal Sin and the sleeping anti-Marcos sentiment, leading to the end of martial law.
The so-called “return of democracy” led to high hopes in the country. The 1987 election was very clean and peaceful. Many candidates won with meager campaign funds, for people were voting with their conscience. Yet, the feeling of euphoria among the people didn’t last long. The “Spirit of EDSA” was short-lived and it didn’t take long for the bad old habits to return.
What took place at EDSA 31 years ago was a change in government, not a revolution. Extra-judicial killings persist even without martial law. And who’ll say that there’s less graft and corruption now, that there’s real democracy in the polls?
EDSA is now regarded as a mere footnote in our history. It’s no longer celebrated as a shining moment of our growth as a nation. We were the toast of the world in 1986. Where are we now?