In defense of Noli and ABS-CBN-A A +A
By Jun Ledesma
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
NAIA 1 and NAIA 3 are both monuments of corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency but the curse and the demons that lived with these projects survived exorcism and the wrath of the Ombudsman.
Last week, ABS-CBN, the giant TV network that went all the way for Ninoy Aquino when he ran for president, held a special event to honor men and women who were behind the highly-rated TV Patrol. The most formidable talent in the pool of anchormen that served and are still serving as hosts of the program is Noli de Castro. They were to be honored for their craft and to add prestige to the spectacular event, management invited who else but the President of the Philippines. They were cocksure all the superlatives will come out from the man that the network had unabashedly supported in the last polls. The same man whose parents the network had likewise unconditionally provided all their resources from the start of their struggle to restore democracy, to the presidency of his mother and all the way to her graveyard and to the great beyond.
But the expectations for a grand commendation did not happen as the utterances of the President were acerbic as it was intimidating. It appeared that President Aquino harbored resentment over a repartee by Noli to a reporter who noted a perceptible increase of passengers in NAIA 3. Noli innocuous remark was actually harmless: “Nasa NAIA 3 ka kasi; kung nasa NAIA 1 ka, doon malala”. The president apparently took umbrage over this matter-of-fact statement he went on to berate Noli de Castro reminding him that he was in the helm of the government for six years and haven’t done a thing to fix what are to be fixed in the debilitated NAIA 1.
Oh well, de Castro may have his faults and shortcomings as a politician but blaming Noli for the bad state of disrepair of the NAIA building is not quite apt since the broadcaster hardly had any role to play in that project. Besides de Castro and the field reporter were merely stating the truth. And the truth was that NAIA 3 was opened and therefore there was a surge in the number of flights and conversely the number of passengers that boarded and disembarked in the new terminal had spiked. Truth is while there was a sudden rise in the number of passengers and flights that used NAIA 3 that does not actually mean that there was a dramatic increase of domestic and international traffic.
Instead of being priggish about that harmless repartee of Noli, the President could have merely said that “from the time TV Patrol made a report on NAIA 1, the present government has made tremendous progress in face lifting the decrepit terminal when they took over from the previous administration where your co-anchor was once a vice president.” That would turn the face of Noli red but won’t make the president childish. It might have been precisely due to the remarks of Noli de Castro that prompted Pnoy to address the problem promptly. The President must take into account that Noli was a broadcast journalist first before becoming a politician. He is back to his old profession for good so Malacanang media watchers should have expected that Noli will also be back to his role as a member of the fourth estate.
Malacanang wants us to spin only the good news. The last time Marcos ordered that, he heard nothing but good he was oblivious of what was bad. The bad things overwhelmed him eventually, these went out of hands and thereafter sent him to exile.
ABS-CBN should be the last media establishment he should vent his ire on. If he thinks that TV Patrol is his enemy, then what will that make of the other giant network? What will that make out of community journalists? Does this mean that we can kiss the “freedom for information” bill goodbye too?
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 01, 2012.