For a former media person himself, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar certainly committed the greatest gaffe a spokesperson and media liaison could commit. He turned on his former colleagues.
More specifically, he issued a blanket accusation that all the reporters—and by extension, all their editors and superiors—who were present at the press conference held to present the recanting of retired police officer Arturo Lascañas regarding the Davao Death Squads, had been paid no less than $1,000 each to cover the event.
Some have commented that Andanar might himself have been on the receiving end of bribes when he himself was a reporter and news reader on TV, since he so easily and quickly aired his accusation.
In an unprecedented move, the Senate press corps immediately issued a statement denying Andanar’s claims, demanding a public apology. They also in turn accused Andanar of spreading “fake news,” which they said is “truly unbecoming of someone who, just a few months ago, came from the media industry.”
They strongly protested Andanar’s accusations and demanded that the communications officer prove his allegations, while stressing that bribery “is not tolerated” within their ranks.
For his part, Andanar refused to even acknowledge the accusations aired by Lascañas, dismissing the press conference as all part of a “protracted political drama” launched by the enemies of President Duterte.
But other than dismissing the revelations as mere drama, and turning on his former colleagues in the media, Andanar had nothing else to say regarding the veracity or untruthfulness of the DDS revelations.
Maybe his rash and reckless accusations against the media are all part of Andanar’s efforts to divert attention from Lascañas’ serious revelations. And he may have succeeded in part. From being a story on the corroboration by a once-trusted Duterte aide of the President’s involvement in the activities of the dreaded DDS, the impact of Lascañas’ explosive exposé has been blunted somewhat by a side issue: corruption in the media.
Perhaps Andanar succeeded in part, turning the attention of the public and even the media from the core issue of extrajudicial killings dating back to Mr. Duterte’s days as Davao mayor, to the distraction provided by accusations of bribery and corruption among the media.
Remember that suspicion of the mainstream, legitimate and responsible media has been rife since Duterte has assumed office, and Andanar’s latest broadside is but part of that general animosity.
Still, we would all do well to keep in mind that so many other questions raised by Lascañas remain unanswered. And they will linger in the minds of all concerned and conscientious citizens who wonder how much longer we as a people will tolerate a murderous, thieving and lying regime.
“I inspire. I innovate. I am a Filipino Woman.” That’s the theme of the TOWNS Women Leaders Forum 2017 on March 4 at the Ateneo Professional Schools Theatre. Main speakers are the eight awardees of the 2016 The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service representing various fields of endeavor.
The eight are: Cherrie De Erit Atilano for social development; Hidilyn Francisco Diaz for sports; Patricia Chanco Evangelista for media; Luisa Mercedes Paez Lorenzo for arts; Marissa Arlene Andres Martinez for government service; Aisa Alvarez Mijeno for social enterprise; Lou Sabrina Saavedra Ongkiko for education; and Jocelle Batapa Sige for information and communications technology.
The Forum is jointly sponsored by the TOWNS Foundation and the Ateneo Alumni Association.
The TOWNS awards are given every three years, honoring Filipino women between the ages of 21 and 45 years who have “contributed positively to strengthening national capability and shaping the nation’s future.”
A registration fee of P250 will be charged for the benefit of TOWNS Foundation and Gawad Kalinga Sibol pre-school program for children in Molave, Payatas, Quezon City. Register as early as possible as seats are limited. To register online, visit http://tinyuri.com/WFL2017
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