Lacierda and Joker Arroyo-A A +A
Thursday, October 10, 2013
PRESIDENTIAL spokesman Edwin Lacierda in Monday's press briefing said Joker Arroyo as a senator failed to speak out against corruption during the term of then president Gloria Arroyo. Lacierda was trying to blunt Joker's criticism of the Palace pork barrel.
Tuesday Joker hit back by saying Lacierda was being lazy and didn't check the facts.
Joker said that as head of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee in the 13th Congress, he co-authored the report that recommended the prosecution of suspects in the fertilizer fund scam.
What does this incident say about having a spokesperson?
Without Lacierda or some other spokesperson, President Aquino, if he wanted to, would've to criticize Joker himself. Using a spokesperson enabled him to avoid direct line of fire.
While Lacierda spoke for PNoy, he didn't quote the president: the Spokesman reflected the thinking of the Palace but didn't use specific words from PNoy.
Lacierda served as buffer against flak, providing some distance and deniability. Thus, Joker lashed at Lacierda, not PNoy.
That may be the reason Sen. Panfilo Lacson wondered why Malacañang p.r. people don't "insulate" PNoy from their mistakes. Instead, they push him to the front, relying on his popularity for the public to accept his explanation.
But there's no clear rule when the president must face the hail of potshots himself and when he needs to seek cover. Spokesperson and client play it according to best p.r. practices and by ear.
Whoever is taking the bullet though must be armed with facts and candor. They can't afford to be wrong or dishonest.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 10, 2013.