A much-changed Doro | Inquirer Opinion

A much-changed Doro

/ 12:42 AM October 28, 2011

In two columns (Inquirer, 9/7/11 and 9/11/11), Amando Doronila, consultant and senior columnist of the Inquirer, berated  WikiLeaks for undermining the relations among states. He deplored the “deluge of secret state documents pilfered by the self-appointed whistle-blower WikiLeaks and unloaded into the ocean of information in the guise of ‘creating open governments’,” doing a job “no less nefarious than the piracy of buccaneers during the golden age of exploration and discovery in the 13th and 14th centuries.”

How times have changed. This is not the same Doronila, the diplomatic reporter we used to know during his assignment at the Department of Foreign Affairs, from the time of Secretary Narciso Ramos up to that of Minister Carlos P. Romulo. Doronila then was enamored with only one thing—news leak. He and other young and assiduous members of the diplomatic press corps, like Kit Tatad, D.Y. Caparas, Dick Pascual, Rosauro Acosta, Kiko de Leon, were at the foreign office almost daily. They could roam around, chat with the rank and file, or have coffee with them at the DFA canteen.

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At that time, Manila got the reputation of being one of the freest and rambunctious press centers in Asia, if not the world. The broadsheets represented by Doronila et al. printed news on foreign affairs, normally on the front page, almost every day. The foreign secretary complained about the leaks and routinely blamed his special assistants who could only shake their heads with a smile. Doronila has now a different perception of information leaks.

Especially with the US Embassy, government officials have a soft heart and a colonial mind. A high-ranking AFP functionary during the Arroyo administration regarded US ambassador Kristie Kenney as the best envoy the United States has ever sent to the capital; even a retired member of the Supreme Court saw Kenney as the “diplomats’ diplomat.”

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But the realistic assessment of RP-US relations was made by the incomparable Conrado de Quiros who thanked WikiLeaks that Kenney’s smile was “as real as the smiling (Marcos) authoritarianism” and a “smiling face masking the duplicitous one behind it.” De Quiros likewise thanked WikiLeaks that the United States might not find it so easy to turn from conspirator to liberator this time around. Kenney maligned a true hero, Cory Aquino, and favored Arroyo’s candidate over Aquino’s son who nevertheless became president. We feel that Kenney  should have been sent back home—for having blatantly ignored the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

Finally, while observers were appalled at the manner the US government has dealt with friends and detractors around the globe, Prof. Randy David issued earlier an analysis different from Doronila’s, thus: WikiLeaks is digital guerrilla struggle with information as its only weapon, disclosure as its sole technique, and truth as its only ideology. WikiLeaks professes transparency, democracy and freedom of speech.

—NELSON D. LAVIÑA,

retired ambassador,

[email protected]

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TAGS: amando doronila, letters, wikileaks
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