Blind Items from the PNP and DOJ

I remember November 29, 2007 all too very well. I was still very much a reporter then, and many reporters, especially those from the Malacanang Press Corps, thought that it would turn out to be a slow news day. But we were all very wrong. Shortly after one of President Arroyo’s routine, copy-paste speeches at the Local Peace and Security Summit in San Pablo, Laguna, PSG Commander Romeo Prestoza personally gave the word to the President herself: Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV had just walked out of his hearing and took over the Manila Peninsula in Makati.  The rest is… all in the media.  Two months fast forward – Trillanes is back in detention. Gen. Lim says he was “forced” to join Trillanes – but oh boy, his media sound bites said otherwise!  Civilians who camped out with Trillanes had long been freed.  Cases and brickbats have been flown left and right.   Still, no sight of Capt. Nicanor Faeldon, who walked out with Trillanes, who strangely, in the latest twist of developments, was allegedly able to escape thanks to a “reporter”. As to who this “reporter” is, the public and many in the media do not know just yet.  And the PNP and DOJ are giving no specifics, except for the “curtain-raiser” that a “reporter” was involved.  Just intrigues, but no help at all.  For instead of filing the proper cases or naming the identity of this said person – who is said to have curly hair – the authorities are enjoying playing Ricky Lo and Cristy Fermin by dishing out mere blind items to the general public.  For more media mileage?  Maybe, for it’s definitely extending the shelf life of this news story, and certainly giving more airtime to government officials.  Certainly, the officials involved have a second career waiting in showbiz once they retire! Seriously, what is worrisome with these blind items is the chilling effect it has again on the media.  Intimidation yet again.  Of course, those who have a clean conscience need nothing to fear.  But still, without naming anyone or without filing a case against the person involved, anyone could be a sitting duck, especially with so many questionable arrests happening as of late.  Of course, this is not the first attempt to intimidate the media since the Hello Garci controversy broke out in 2005.  I’ve lost count.  What is sad is, the unintended finger-pointing to particular personalities in the industry, who may most likely be innocent to begin with.  The PNP has declined to name the reporter so as not to prejudice their follow up operations.  In that case, it should just shut up altogether about it until it actually gets some work done.  This, instead of intimidating or tainting the image of the whole industry.   Is the PNP even sure it was a “reporter” who helped Faeldon escape?  If there’s an RPN-9 video showing it, where is it?  Show it (I hope RPN shows it as a good scoop).  Make it public.  If it really is a “reporter”, no one is above the law and cases should be filed if there is actual legal basis.  PNP at DOJ, updated sa showbiz happenings? Enough with the blind items! But anything is possible, considering that one of the fugitives is a man who wore a wig.  Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were haoshao’s pretending to be reporters at the Manila Pen at the time, who were part of the strategy of the suspects, or just pretending to be media to have some piece of the action.  I’ve encountered some real haoshao’s on field in the past.  Let’s hope no journalist disappears in the process of things. Meanwhile, while the PNP pursues the “reporter”, has it held accountable security forces at the Makati RTC and the Manila Pen who were given the slip by Faeldon?

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