Local News: Negros Occidental Media Groups Condemn Senator’s ‘Boorish’, Unbecoming Behavior
Three leading media organizations and their leaders have issued statements in condemnation of the actuations of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, against members of the media Tuesday in the Senate press conference room.
This took place after ABS-CBN reporter Niko Baua, tried to get her reaction on the statement of lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre regarding Santiago. Aguirre said she was not fit to be a judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The woman-senator from Iloilo City practically went ballistic, called the mediamen and women to the Senate conference room and berated them. The major subject of her ire was ABS-CBN’s Niko Baua, whom she accused of probably having been paid to disparage her.
Turning to the other journalists, she also scolded them, saying in so many words which were demeaning amd despicable.
The irrational actuations of Santiago immediately elicited adverse reactions from major leaders of media groups in the province primarily from the National Union of Journalists in the Philipppines-Negros chapter, now headed by Julius Mariveles as chairman and Negros Press Club (NPC) President Arman Toga who was interviewed on radio and TV and Edgar Cadagat, former NUJP national Chairman, ex-NPC President and secretary of the Negros Media Council for Press Freedom (NMCPF). Negros Daily Bulletin president Pert Toga being the NMCPF chairman, former NPC president and retired bureau Chief of the Philippine News Agecy (PNA).
In his written statement which also reflects the NUJP’s position on the woman-senator, Mariveles said of "Santiago that the country does not deserve a senator who is paranoid. Santiago has gone too far with her outlandish and outrageous behavior. She is becoming indiscriminate in her outbursts, the NUJP official noted.
Adding, Mariveles said in defense of Niko Baua, that he was only doing his job in asking Santiago, saying that what reasonable officials should do and should have answered the question in a decent and straight forward fashion. But she chose to shoot her mouth out indiscriminality.
Miriam has initially forgotten, as proven during the impeachment trial, that public officials must be accountable to the people at all times. Her attitude only bolsters the perception that she should, after all, have her head checked. The world deserves more than a neurotic judge in the country and also deserves a reasonable lawmaker.
With the opening of classes, Miriam should enroll in Kinder I and Kinder II and relearn good manners and right conduct. She also should undergo anger management classes, the mediamen stressed.
As far as NPC President Arman Toga is concerned, he said of Santiago that she was only acting true-to-form as this was not the first instance she did what was irrational to members of the media.
"Once the media conducts an interview of her, in many instances she answers differently, using disparaging words. But reporters only ask questions as part of their news-gathering functions and that her response would be part of what they would report on radio, television and newspapers. This is part of a newsman and newsman’s tasks and that lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre’s answer was part of the news.
"We, mediamen should assert our rights, reporting is but part of our job," said Toga.
Toga a former trustee ofthe Philippine Press Institute (PPI) for the Visayas, added that Santiago should remember she represents the region and if she goes overboard, it should not be tolerated as she represents it. She is not the only official in the country, he said.
On the part of the NMCPF, Cadagat said he strongly condemns the unwarranted action of the Ilongga senator, speaking demeaning words to journalists covering the Senate. It reflects negatively on her.
What she did, said Cadagat, was unfair, unjust and inexcusable referring to Baua as "having been paid by Aguirre when what he did was in furtherance of his obligations and the practice of his profession" as media practitioner.
Her having berated the members of the press corps was condemnable and manifests her ill-mannered culture, Cadagat stressed.
She should reflect on the things she has done because her past actuations would not befit her becoming an honorable judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC), he concluded.*