Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Same old, same old

Media attacks in Metro Manila may have been in the news recently. Elsewhere in the country, press freedom continues to be attacked.

Here is an editorial of the Palawan-based paper Bandillo ng Palawan regarding the latest incident of harassment against a Bandillo writer by DYER. Bandillo wrote the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (which had helped the press communities in Cebu, Baguio, and Palawan in setting up their regional press councils)

Last Tuesday, August 1, Amihan Sabillo, reporter of DYPR and news writer of Bandillo ng Palawan, went to bed early to relieve herself of the fatigue of another busy day. The other members of the household were away for the night so she was alone in the house. She fell into a deep sleep easily, but was awakened past midnight by the strange sounds and movement inside the house. In the darkness, she was able to make out the figures of two men, who were busy rummaging around and looking for something, unaware of her presence. Smelling danger, she quickly crawled beneath her bed and stayed there, trembling with fear until the two men left.

Nothing was taken from the house. Obviously, the two men did not break into Ms. Sabillo’s house to steal anything, as the house is bare of valuable furnishing. They were there to find and retrieve a document that would eventually strip Louie Larrosa of DYER of his masquerade. But Ms. Sabillo is wiser than the two men and whoever gave them orders to break into her house. The documents that reached Ms Sabillo’s hands, through a city government insider who can no longer bear the squandering of the taxpayers’ money by the administration’s cronies, are the original copy of the personal data sheet and contract of service of Louie Larrosa’s wife as shift supervisor in the Kilos Agad Action Center (KAAC).

Mrs. Ma. Felicitas Larrosa is receiving a P10,000 monthly salary from KAAC, but its personnel swear they have never seen even just her shadow in the office—a perfect ghost employee. As station manager of DYER, the radio station we all know belongs to the city mayor’s family, Larrosa wields such influence in the city government that he could have easily worked his wife’s name into the payroll. (Larrosa announced recently that he already acquired the station; we are leaving the matter to BIR personnel who could gladly assess the tax of our brand new millionaire, and will happily reward his “exemplary honesty,” sorely lacking among the country’s billionaires, with a certificate of appreciation that he can surely brag as another prestigious award for his station.)

For Louie Larrosa, whose name is now synonymous to mercenary journalism and whose broadcasting practice is the worst in Palawan, such an act is not surprising anymore: he is actually keeping a closet of stinking carcasses that would damn him once opened. It would need a divine miracle for him to realize how good he is at ruining himself and his family at such cheap bargains. We don’t care much if he is indeed dying to get rich even at the expense of his soul and his family’s reputation. However, we cannot tolerate that again, he made a mockery of this serious threat to the life of a fellow journalist.

Like what he did to Dong Batul after the failed grenade attack, he mocked Ms. Sabillo and made fun of her hiding beneath the bed, calling her a “buang” (crazy) reporter. Now, who will forgive him for such a statement made in the face of real danger? Where is the ethics, the professionalism, the respect, the humanity in that statement? Only a lunatic can afford to laugh in the face of real danger.

Enraged as we are, we are also sorry to note that Larrosa and his handlers still believe that the truth is a disposable commodity they can crush into dust with their soles. We are sorry that they believe the listening public is as gullible as they think, incapable of discerning and separating fact from fiction. Admittedly, Larrosa’s brand of broadcasting has, in some way, succeeded in deceiving the public from the truth. But no matter how subtle and shrewd the tampering done to the truth, it will always remain absolute. Something real and infallible will always emerge out of the haze created by lying tongues.

And one real thing that cropped up recently, which Larrosa can no longer distort and revoke, and certainly, make fun out of, are the authentic documents proving his corruption along with his wife in the city government.

Editorial published in the Aug. 7 – 13, 2006 issue of Bandillo ng Palawan

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