The DIFFERENCE between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and De La Salle University Manila.
"One has been facing up to a crisis with dignity".
Bare Eye : Is the President really that wholesome?
First posted 10:57pm (Manila time) Nov 13, 2005
By Recah Trinidad
Inquirer News Service
Editor's Note: Published on Page A26 of the November 14, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
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SO WHAT'S THE SIMILARITY between the De La Salle University and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?
Nothing, you can't compare a school with a nation's president.
Of course, you can. Both are institutions.
OK, you're right there. Now please tell me the similarity.
One has been facing up to a crisis with dignity.
What about the other?
She's been reacting to crisis like a burning building.
A little explanation: That dialogue did not actually take place.
Honestly, it's your reporter's way of summarizing what he had heard around last week regarding the La Salle case and the President's assessment of Philippine media.
That assumed dialogue, we surmised, was the clearer way to summarize a portion of public thinking on the twin issues of the beleaguered school and the displeased President.
Both GMA and DLSU were in the firing line of media practitioners for assumed anomalies in their respective backyards.
La Salle for the player eligibility mess centering on two members of its basketball team that had submitted doctored documents to qualify for college.
GMA for several questioned moves, topped by her anomalous conduct in the last May 2004 election, where she was discovered to have repeatedly given instructions over the phone to a very influential election commissioner.
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La Salle did come out in the open to admit fault. It offered to return its 2004 UAAP championship trophy and forfeit its runner-up finish in this year's cage league.
The President, after much hesitation, told the nation she was sorry and meekly admitted she suffered a lapse in judgment.
Pressed for more judicious action, La Salle conducted its own probe. When the unclear result of its investigation was not accepted by the UAAP board and the public, top La Salle sports officials, including coach Franz Pumaren, resigned. The trophy was surrendered and the school announced it was mulling a leave of absence from the UAAP.
Pressed to resign, the President tried to turn the tide by going on the offensive, resorting to the extreme by playing fireman and allowing opposition stalwarts to be brutally hosed at Mendiola, before maligning media by calling her critics bad boys.
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No need to state anymore which of the two institutions, GMA or La Salle, behaved with honesty and dignity.
But before us media practitioners get carried away, let's reconsider the impact of the President's mouthed displeasure.
She did try to blast media in a clear bid to divert attacks on anomalies in her office.
But that dirty dig from the President should also be taken as a pat on the back.
Why? The President getting mad at journalists clearly showed that the Philippine press, despite unavoidable imperfections, has been living up to its noble calling.
It's the main chore of the true journalist, as part of his calling, to fight corruption and help the citizenry get a better break.
If Mrs. Arroyo, say, had instead heaped praises on media, despite the rotten state of affairs hereabouts, media people worth their salt should feel insulted.
It would've shown Philippine press was sleeping on the job, or looking the other way like a bought cop, while a crook was robbing pedestrians dry.
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So thank you, Madame President, for unwittingly setting the record straight.
You indeed deserved to look very delighted, like a fresh rose, in your latest appearances.
Anyway, we can't help but recall how the great Ninoy Aquino brought the house down one night in the US when he told of the amount of love the Conjugal Dictatorship had for Filipinos.
How much? Quoting a Japanese, Ninoy said: "You have a First Raidy who robs you, but your President robs you more."
Out in Makati a couple of nights back, this amazed Japanese tourist also had a mouthful to say on how radiant and wholesome GMA had appeared to him.
"You hev a very whoresome President," he said smiling.
Why do you think she's doing all these?
"Arl in tha name oph rob."