Dean Armando J. Malay, who was a journalist for over 40 years, and who died last week at the age of 89, was one of the pioneering faculty members at the College of Mass Communication, then Institute of Mass Communication (IMC), of the University of the Philippines. In his May 16 to 18 wake at U.P., his former students, many of them now editors in the country’s leading newspapers, recalled how, together with the late Hernando J. Abaya and IP Soliongco, he shaped their development as journalists.
I didn’t quite now how to do this paper. The martial law period is a personal matter to me. It is not only because I was imprisoned for seven months, from October 1972 to May 1973. It is also because of the many people I knew, some of them among the brightest and best sons and daughters of the Filipino people — students and poets, artists and doctors, teachers and lawyers, journalists and farmers, workers and small businessmen, nuns and priests, and plain citizens of their generation — who lost their lives, were separated from their loved ones, or suffered torture and other indignities during that brutal period.
My assignment this afternoon is investigative journalism and people’s issues. Everyone of us here knows what the standards of investigative journalism are, and are familiar with that form. I think what we need is a framework from which to appreciate what it can do for this country. I will therefore start with a review of journalism’s role in society, and more specifically its responsibility, or what I think should be its responsibility, in a society like ours–or to be more precise, in a society in perpetual crisis, where the most fundamental issues of governance, social justice and sovereignty have been begging for solutions for centuries. From there I hope I can go on to the subject assigned to me this afternoon.
I first met Pete Daroy in 1961, or some 39 years ago, during the Collegian editorship of Leonardo Quisumbing, now a justice of the Supreme Court. Pete was Leo’s literary editor. I was features editor. Jose Ma. Sison was research editor. Pete was from a town in Samar which he insisted had never heard of salt, Joe from Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, and I from Manila. Pete was a perennial taker of the Collegian examinations, but never quite made it to editor. That didn’t stop him from being in the staff of several Collegian editors over a five-year period. Most of the Collegian editors then, not all, were liberal, which was what Pete was, initially.