Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Trail of the (Lim) tape

Talk of the town these days is the video showing Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim declaring his withdrawal of support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The video, which was supposedly to air on television had an alleged coup attempt succeeded in February of this year and aired in ABS-CBN's Bandila last July 3, showed Lim saying that he could not bear supporting a "bogus president" (referring to Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo whose election win in 2004 was hounded by cheating allegations) and called on his fellow soldiers to abandon Arroyo, their commander-in-chief.

Lim added in the video: "
We call on Mrs. Arroyo to accept gracefully the formation of a new government. As soldiers, we don't seek political power for ourselves, but we shall not allow anyone to use political power to commit crimes against our people, or to pursue their own personal agenda at the expense of the national interest."

I wrote about Lim's taped speech when it broke out last March. In the April 2006 issue of the PJR Reports, my story focused on how the government was then pressuring ABC-5 to hand over the said tape. Back then, Presidential Chief of Staff Mike Defensor told media that the station has "a taped interview" with Lim announcing his withdrawal of support from the administration. The interview supposedly took place on Feb. 23, the eve of the 20th anniversary of People Power 1.

"The government's dogged efforts to get the alleged Lim tapoe is viewed by the press as reflection of the continuing clampdown on media, especially those labeled by the administration as 'seditious'," PJR Reports wrote.

"A comical, if not pathetic, pattern is emerging," the story added. "The government, which has been earnestly trying to clamp down on media, is also turning to it for help in providing information it needs to fight for its survival."

So, the tape exists, finally showing to the public Lim's speech that has never seen before and which existence has been only whispered in media and other circles. How the press was again the first to confirm and show its existence, even after the government is looking for months for it to surface, deserves another story.

"It wasn’t the intelligence arm of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or the National Bureau of Investigation, or the Philippine National Police that did it," as the Philippine Daily Inquirer wrote in its editorial today. "It was the media."

Read the PJR Reports story when the issue first broke out.

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