Journalism students should look at government radio’s Erwin Tulfo’s reaction when he failed to immediately get an interview with Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista — he threatened to slap the retired Army general and even called him crazy — as an example of how those seeking interviews should never behave.
The protracted democratization process began during the reform and revolutionary periods of Philippine history, but was derailed and interrupted by both US conquest as well as by the treachery of the rural gentry that had hijacked the Revolution.
Some 1,800 new lawyers have just passed the 2018 bar examinations. Will they be going into the practice of law — or had been moved to take it in college — only to advance their interests no matter what the cost to the public and Philippine society? Or will they practice the profession in behalf of the urgent need of defending the laws that Philippine experience and history have demonstrated as necessary in the making of a just society?
It isn’t only the powerful who mock the very laws they either passed themselves or which they’re mandated to enforce. There’s the same lawlessness among many ordinary folk that’s manifest not only in such transgressions as smoking in enclosed spaces, but also in selling their votes come election time.
World Press Freedom Day will be marked this year by journalists’ and media advocacy groups with trepidation in the context of the continuing attacks on press freedom by a government that obviously fears its power to expose official wrongdoing.
Singapore passed early last May an anti-“fake news” law that will be implemented this month. The “Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation” Act gives government the power to compel online news sites and even chat groups to remove statements “against the public interest” and to correct them. Not only individuals will be affected but also social media and news organizations like BBC and Reuters.
The way the Philippine Party List System has worked since it was created by the 1987 Constitution to assure “proportional representation” in the House of Representatives, and the Party List Act (Republic Act 7941) passed in 1994, has provoked even the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to consider asking Congress to amend the law. But it is unlikely that that body will do so — at least not towards making it truly serve the voiceless and marginalized sectors of Philippine society.
The problematic — and for many Filipinos, depressingly predictable — results of the May 13 senatorial elections have provoked the usual mini-debate on whether the mass of the electorate is really so stupid as to vote against their own interests. They have after all elected, among others, accused plunderers, liars, supporters of tyrannical rule, opportunists, enforcers of extrajudicial killings, and, in general, the yes-men and chorus line of the Duterte regime.