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THE speed with which the Philippine National Police has identified, and filed murder charges against, the suspects in the killing of an Ilocos Norte journalist was unprecedented.

Police investigations into extrajudicial killings and the killing of journalists, if they take place at all, usually move with the speed of flowing molasses. This time the investigation, identification of the suspects, and the filing of charges took place in one week in what must be the police equivalent of lightning speed. It is also unusual for local officials to be so quickly charged , the alleged principal being the vice mayor-elect of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. But that he has not yet taken office and established the usual networks with the police and the military could have helped hasten the process.

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But he has nothing on

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THE ADVICE, totally unsolicited, for Benigno Aquino III to be “consultative” and to be the President of “everyone including his enemies” sounded odd indeed from a Malacanang bureaucrat who was no doubt speaking on the instructions of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Being everyone’s President, after all, is the last thing Mrs. Arroyo, has been.

But Elena Bautista Horn, the current chief of Arroyo’s Presidential Management Staff, presumed to lecture Aquino on what being President of the country should be like, in belated reaction to Aquino’s saying that he would not retain Gen. Delfin Bangit as AFP Chief of Staff.

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Information denied

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ANY JOURNALIST in this country with some experience, and who has had to look for documentary sources from government when writing a news report, analysis or commentary, knows one thing: secrecy is not one of the bureaucracy’s strong suits.

It is possible, though not always easy, to get copies of the documents one needs, such as the Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) of government officials. In addition, there’s always someone in a government office eager to show how much he or she is in the know by providing reporters “inside information.” Of course journalists have to be wary of attempts to mislead them, thus the need, demanded by best practice anyway, to consult other sources for confirmation.

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Dumber, dumbest

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IT’S BECOME nearly standard practice for NGOs and other groups to heap praises on the Filipino electorate in the aftermath of every election.

The puffery was especially pronounced after May 10, and consisted of two types: one praised the voters and the Commission on Elections for walking them through the first automated elections in the country’s history. The other praised the voters but not the Comelec, which some groups had been saying since about a year ago was neither adequately prepared nor preparing for the exercise.

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