Anticipating criticism that it was, as usual, being partial to the government, TV station RPN- 9 claimed that it was “not siding with anyone…not passing judgment on anyone…” when it released the other day video footage showing reporter Dana Batnag in conversation with fugitive Marine Captain Nicanor Faeldon last November 29 at the Manila Peninsula Hotel.
RPN-9 has been under government sequestration since 1986. It used to be the most watched TV channel in the country — until the government’s reverse Midas touch (everything it touches turns to dung) drove its viewers to other channels.
It’s tempting to simply dismiss the latest dribble from the Arroyo regime’s so-called secretary of justice as “arrant nonsense” — as indeed the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Amando Doronila did the other day. So arrogantly indeed would Raul Gonzalez’ January 11 media advisory deny the press its constitutionally protected right to cover events in furtherance of the public’s right to information that it seems too much a waste of time and effort to take issue with it.
And yet the Gonzalez threat that media organizations would be criminally liable if their reporters and other personnel refused to obey the orders of “authorized” officials to leave the scene of an emergency was not made idly, as subsequent police statements prove.
Despite funding constraints, the University of the Philippines (UP), which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, has grown from a small institution on Manila’s Padre Faura street into a national university system of 12 campuses (including the cyber or virtual campus of its Open University) and seven constituent universities.
UP has the most extensive undergraduate and graduate degree programs of any university in the country, and the largest, most competent corps of faculty from creative writing to law, communication to nuclear physics.