Naturally, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was quick to react on yesterday’s attacks by the MILF. But her sound bites aside, it was very apparent that a very newsworthy side story was her infamous temper just before she had made her statement.
As former industry colleague Jove Francisco (TV5) insightfully writes, complete with visuals too as shown below, the President was irked when she walked into the briefing room, ready with her prepared statement — but without the needed teleprompter that would allow her to deliver the statement without having to read from paper, or as we say in Filipino, her kodigo.
Not seeing it, the President angrily walked out of the briefing room a few times, and made her tantrums along the corridors of the New Executive Building’s second floor (from the video, I even heard objects heavily falling to the floor). The President even angrily went to the control room of the briefing room to follow up on the prompter. Almost everything was heard and documented, considering the usually tight implementation of security and protocol at the Palace.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But what about a ten-minute video? Well, let the TV5 news team’s video speak for itself.
Such scenes are no longer new to the public, and definitely not to the media. Understandingly, one can only imagine what was going on the President’s mind– from her present problems, as well as the backlog of problems since she assumed office in 2001.
Still, it should be noted that it wasn’t just Radio-TV Malacañang that suffered the brunt of the PGMA’s wrath. It was apparent that the media again also became the unintended brunt of PGMA’s infamous temper. This was when a highly-irritated President told reporters herself that she was only taping her message and not answering any questions.
Having covered the Palace myself in the past, this is nothing new, and I don’t think the media needed to be reminded of PGMA’s silence on many issues. After all, the President has kept mum on so many issues, especially since the “Hello Garci” controversy broke out in 2005. The rule since then has been “less talk, less mistakes”. But whether avoiding the media’s questions — and by extension the public’s — has done the country any good, is for the Palace’s bigwigs to re-think.
This is especially in a situation of escalating violence, where guidance from government is much needed by the general public.
I won’t be surprised if the media again will be subject to blame by some quarters and some politicians would again be blamed for this video. But at the end of the day, I trust the media will do what is best — let the discerning general public decide.
Truth be told yet again, the Palace can only blame itself for the bad publicity it gets, for not being able to communicate clearly, and for feeling that its voice is not being heard enough by the public.