Editorial: A uniform doesn’t a gentleman make

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014


LAST Monday, Davao City Police Director Vicente Danao had the audacity to bawl out three young reporters all because of his ineptitude.

The three reporters, Sun.Star Davao’s Ivy C. Tejano, Mindanao Times’ Ma. Cecilia Badian, and Edge Davao’s Armando Fenequito Jr., went to his office to get updates on the Richard L. King case and were instead met with invectives from the police officer. What got this policeman’s goat? The fact that the Sun.Star Davao reporter found out who the “persons of interest” are in the case, while he still didn’t know anything.

“Kayo nalang magpulis,” you said, Mister Danao. You even shouted at our reporter to turn off her recorder. That alone means you know that your tantrums couldn’t be recorded, then why throw a tantrum, pray tell, officer? They were decent enough to seek you out in your office, they did not come climbing up your quarters and breaking into your room just to interview you. The fact that they got the information and may we add, through fair means, simply manifests their tenacity as journalists. That you had no idea what was going on in the investigation, as you yourself admitted loudly to these three reporters, simply manifests your ineptitude.

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“Huwag niyo akong kausapin, wala pa akong tulog!”Really, now. Then why did you choose to become a policeman if you wanted complete sleep every night?

We have trained our reporters to be amiable to their sources, to befriend everyone, and to be polite. That is the very reason, Mr. Danao, that they even returned to your office after you bawled them out only to be bawled out all over again.

Notice Mr. Danao, that we are addressing you as Mister. No way will we ever refer to you as “sir” because calling anyone “sir” connotes respect. You have given us no reason to respect you since you yourself do not respect our representatives, our reporters.

You cannot blame these kids, Mister Danao, if they know their way around all offices. After all, they are journalists not policemen. See the difference? Or do we still have to spell it out for you?

We cannot also blame them if they tried their best to remain quiet while you verbally abused them, which older journalists would have refused to be subjected to, after all, they got their young feet wet with your predecessor who not only got things done, but did it with deep respect and courtesy to journalists and all those around him.

Col. Ronald dela Rosa showed them how to be on their toes in following up police stories because this officer and gentlemen commanded the respect of all and worked fast. Even when things got out of hand, never did Col. Dela Rosa turn his ire on journalists. There is mutual respect because both parties know their role. Thus, it was not surprising to editors whenever a reporter would ask to withhold some information. Why is that? It is because Col. Dela Rosa was always decent enough to ask their permission not to publish anything as well as brief them on developments, and he ran a smooth operation that every department and precinct knows what needs to be done. Mister Danao, we cannot say the same about you.

Your action, Mister Danao, shows how little respect you have for decent, young, well-trained journalists and we in the media industry will never tolerate that because it is in this lack of respect where impunity grows.

Sure, you can order all your police precincts not to release any information to the media. Good luck then to you. There are more important things happening in Davao City anyway, we will not run out of readers if we do not report about you, not even your accomplishments. Tit for tat, it’s called.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 18, 2014.

Opinion

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