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“PATAYAN DITO, patayan doon. Wala man lang ibinalita na ‘Sagip Party-list ni Cong. Rodante Marcoleta, namigay ng [bigas]´. Kasi marami akong nahingan ng bigas sa mga kaibigan ko. Kailangang ibalita puro patay? Nirape si ganito, ninakaw ‘yong ganito. Ito ang nangyayari.”

So, Sagip Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta scored media focus on crime stories at the ABSCBN franchise hearing Monday.

“Would you agree with me, Mr. Katigbak, that, probably, the fourth estate, mass media, is more powerful than government itself?”

So, Cavite 7th District Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla baited ABS-CBN president-CEO Carlo Katigbak.

“I don’t think we’re more powerful than government, Your Honor. That’s why we’re here today because I understand that our future is in the hands of government, in the hands of the legislature.”

So humbly, if not meekly, replied Katigbak. Aye, it would not have been in character of him to have impacted upon Remulla the response of the towering intellectual among all American presidents in not so-dissimilar straits.

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Thus, Thomas Jefferson, writer of the US Declaration of Independence.

Marcoleta and Remulla, that is beyond their ken. Add their House cohorts Janette Garin and Mike Defensor too. For all the honorific before their names, so apparently dishonorably wanting in the basic understanding of how media work in a democracy are they. Aye, last time we look, the President signing the Anti-Terrorism Law notwithstanding, democracy still resides in this benighted country.

“To remind our legislators: it is the job of journalists to expose, criticize, explain, and provide context to the decisions and actions of personalities and the movement of events which are otherwise difficult to understand without a free press. As public servants, you are not your own; you are held to a higher standard. The people have the right to know if you are living up to those standards. That’s where our job comes in. If you cannot stand the heat all because you cannot stop yourself from screwing it all up, then I suggest you stroll out the kitchen door and have someone capable take your place. Stop whining that you’ve been exposed for the incompetent little amateurs that you are. It’s pathetic.”

On point is the journalist Joel Pablo Salud there. On that last word, most pointedly.


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