Irritated press

Image looted from Hotmanila.

I missed the President’s first interaction with the press since June, but it was, thankfully, covered by Punzi and of course, by Jove Francisco, who describes it as a messy product launch (The product? The President, of course, as he previously explained). reports the press conference as “manipulated,” which has incurred the ire of both the Palace press corps, and the Foreign Correspondent’s Association of the Philippines. The real news in the press conference was the President’s idea of setting up a consultative commission to help Congress draft constitutional amendments. It’s a good move, politically, as it allows her to gain some leverage over the process, which otherwise seems a total surrender to former president Ramos and Speaker de Venecia.
Incidentally, the Tribune has an interesting story on the bishops who accompanied Cory Aquino to appeal to the President to quit.

Mainstream media is still grappling with either charter change or impeachment. The Inquirer editorial characterizes the state of the nation address as a plea bargain:

What the President attempted to do was seek a way out, both for her and the party she now needs to rally to her defense. That wasn’t statesmanship or vision, it was a plea bargain like you see in the movies: in exchange for what the authorities want, the guilty party settles for a shortened sentence. Lakas-CMD wants Charter change, to be managed by it and defined by it. The President wants to bow out of office not in an act of surrender, but through some sort of face-saving vindication. Lakas has offered it. She has accepted it. The public is not involved in the plea bargain.

Marichu Villanueva says charter change is a divide-and-conquer strategy; Amando Doronila says the proposal taps into a genuinely popular desire for change; Ram Mercado takes an amusing look at the speech:

When I heard this portion of her 23-minute address, and saw the spontaneous pandemonium of acclamation by the members of Congress assembled, it was like the feeding time of crocodiles in a pond, where the dressed chicken and chunks of meat thrown to them were snatched in mid-air even before reaching surface.

Emil Jurado blasts critics of charter change, saying they miss the benefits of parliamentarism, the best thing since sliced bread:

Under a parliamentary system, no more presidential candidates, just a prime minister, heading the government chosen from among his peers, and who can simply be booted out with a simple “no confidence” vote. No more mob rule, People Power and Edsas ad infinitum, which saps the economy.

Max Soliven, on the other hand, points to Italy as the other side of the parliamentary coin. A never-ending merry-go-round of governments. Carlos Conde reports charter change seems a diversion.

On impeachment, Ed Espiritu says it’s the best shot at resolving the crisis; Patricio Diaz says the President has to face impeachment sincerely, and without fear; and Carmen Guerrero Nakpil paraphrases the President’s speech as follows:

What Mrs. Arroyo really said in her state-of-the-nation speech before Congress last Monday is: “All right, you people want to throw me out? I’m not going to talk about the reasons why, since you’ve said you don’t believe me. Here’s what we’ll do, Ramos, de Venecia and I. We’ll cut up this country into little pieces of federated states, each with its own government, and small parliament districts represented by members of parliament and they’ll elect a prime minister and even a president. We’ll dismember the budget, the policies, trade, industry and the “economic take-off” I talked about, the whole nation, its history and culture. What will I do? I’ll take care of myself. Don’t worry about me. You worry about all your goddamn, degenerate selves. I told you this is not a popularity contest. I am extremely unpopular. But you’re not getting what you want; I am.”

Greg Macabenta gives overseas Filipinos advice on how to become politically involved; Tony Abaya apparently had something to say, today, but his paper decided to provide a blank page for his online column. Hotmanila has two good items: Alan Robles wonders,

Facing a catastrophic political crisis, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is searching for the proper leadership image. Should she be a resolute lame duck, an aloof lame duck, or a kinder, gentler lame duck?

While mercifully, a column by Vergel Santos (who writes for Business World, which however, doesn’t make its columns available online) on the middle class appears:

The middle class knows with moral certainty where it stands, although, having precisely gone wrong with Arroyo, whom it had installed in Estrada’s place, it may yet be searching for a fresh strategy – a fresh wisdom.

In the blogosphere, Howie Severino by way of Mario Neri and commenter Mario Taguiwalo who coined the phrase, which is clever indeed, remarks that the President’s speech marks the transformation of republic from strong to thong. Edwin Lacierda says we now have a triumvirate, on the Roman model, composed of former president Ramos, President Arroyo, and Speaker de Venecia:

But who will be the last proconsul standing in the triumvirate? And who will be the Julius Ceasar, the Marcus Licinius Crassus or Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus of this troika? Will they plunge the Republic to civil strife? If Roman history is any gauge, only one will survive and consolidate power. And most especially, who among them will cross the Rubicon and mutter “Iacta alea est”- the die is cast?

Philippine Politics quotes Miriam Santiago against charter change; La Vida Lawyer is back in Sun Tzu mode, and advises the President that deception does not work in politics; Fearlessbounce, last Monday, suggested Congress engage in a boxing match to resolve the crisis.

Willy Prilles in Naga City points out that while everyone focused on the President’s speech, media failed to notice an editor being thrown in jail:

But Joe’s case is one for Ripley’s, at least in the Philippine setting – with the extraordinary speed that the judge handed his order sending him behind bars. Without clarifying the terms for bail in his order, the judge later made himself scarce after the hearing and well into the weekend break – to ensure that Joe would serve time. And pay the price of press freedom.

Speaking of the provinces, PCIJ reports bribery is on the increase in Davao. In iBlog, a thoughtful post, from some days back, on media and blogging. And finally, Rank Merida mourns the high cost of books.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

16 thoughts on “Irritated press

  1. and we were thinking nasa bakasyon ka. after the “mess” and when LJ and i were writing our stories and scripts, naisip namin “where is manolo?”. lol

    and yeah, “The real news in the press conference was the President’s idea of setting up a consultative commission to help Congress draft constitutional amendments”… was overshadowed by the “kapalpakan”.


  2. lol jove, hinde, medyo under the weather lang ako ngayon, i think im coming down with the flu. tapos maraming imbitasyon ngayon. tom. there’s some sort of civil society confab sa lsgh, tapos saturday im addressing the bangon filipino movement, sa monday flag ceremony sa senado tapos speech sa pnu, etc.

  3. Ultimately all three fell. Crassus defeated in battle his head chopped and made into a theatre prop. Pompei betrayed by the Egyptians was assasinated and his pickled head presented to Ceasar. And the great Ceasar himself was assasinated under the statue of Pompei the Great in the Senate. For a time there was another triumvirate – Anthony, Lepidus(?), and Octavian. The winner Octavian, the adopted son of Julius Ceasar, took the name Augustus and became the First Citizen of Rome. The Republic of course was emasculated.

  4. leo, newsmen do that the world over, the moment governments try to regulate the news, white house press corps people do it all the time, and thn it spills over from tv to the press. the press in europe complains, too, thats why the press is called the fourth estate.

  5. yes, of course, they do. what i’m trying to say is that PDI’s Gil Cabacungan felt the presscon was manipulated and the FOCAP complains they were excluded — and that’s the “news”.

    as i would say, pardon my ignorance but why would we readers give a hoot?

    so let’s say they were manipulated. so what should they do? complain? sheesh! they are supposed to be professionals, they should feel shame for getting themselves manipulated.

  6. Whether they were a victim of a snafu or “manipulated” it does seem like news. You really cannot stop what the person feels like saying or writing. Its up to you as the reader to discern whether it is newsworthy or something else.

  7. well…i find the incidence newsworthy after all. the office of the president is a public office. everyone has a right to information…i guess as part of the media institution, media people are not prohibited to know what’s the news…i presume they did not violate any ethical standards or whatsoever. wala lang.

    the problem with gloria/malacanan is that they are controlling the “messenger” rather than the message itself. they lack the sophistication and finesse in dealing with their communication plan. which, i said before is not actually a “communication” plan after all.

  8. Manila Bulletin and Phil Star were called.
    Inquirer not.
    Cabacungan = Inquirer
    Sour Grape.

  9. hehehe!advice ko yan kay presidente!baka kasi mabuko nanaman kami e baka itanong ang hello garci tape namin e…

  10. This only reveals media’s tendency to be ridiculously self-absorbed and self-important. If the story will not be ladled out in front of your pampered selves, then go after it. Do your job. Don’t whine in front of everyone else. Good grief.

  11. i don’t think that it is sour-graping for the part of the inquirer. twice na nangyari iyang ganyan with inquirer. the first was that erap isolating inquirer because of their obviously critical posturing.

    was even wondering whether the Office of the President is trying to divide the Malacanan Press Corp…he he he utak conspiracy lang po.

    on the second thought, maari ring namang yung mga tanong na binigay ng mga reporter is not necessarily “manipulated” but ratehr moderated dependent on what the president wants to answer.

    sabagay, tama nga rin naman na the MPC has the capacity to collectively ask 10 questions, if that is the allowed number of question due to time constraint.

    hmmm…kung may time constraint bakit mya photo-ops? he he he.

  12. Public office is Public trust;Likewise, a public servant must give EQUAL treatment to all, regardless of stature in life.

    To put it bluntly: QUE MAYAMAN, QUE MAHIRAP, PANTAY SA MATA NG LIPUNAN. Yan ang dapat mangyari. NGUNIT SA KATOTOHANAN, iba ang tunay na nangyayari: just look at who were invited, as against those who weren’t. PANTAY BA YUN?
    ….AT SINO ANG MAY PASIMUNO?…. the topmost leader of the land!

    JUSTICE, HUH? WELL,BETTER BRACE YOURSELVES COZ gloria is making more people ‘JUST TIIS’.

  13. By now, Malacanang should have realized that an honest-to-goodness presscon with GMA just could not be worked out. A managed one would be just as unwieldy and would simply further alienate media. The media blitz they are dreaming of would have to go through a major revising but I wonder how. A presscon is much too unmanageable even risky because there are too many questions that would put GMA into the corner no matter what she says.
    She could stay in power for now but she must be getting the feel of how day by day the price of staying is mounting.

  14. I think the media have the duty to report everything and ask important and relevant questions to clear the issues.

    regulating and manipulating the media sounds spooky to me…parang they are only giving what they want us to know… paano na yung gusto naten malaman from them? hindi naman tayo puppets di ba?

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