THE way some reports on Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo’s verbal exchange with veteran journalist Ellen Tordesillas were angled was not unexpected.

The incident followed Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s controversial first press con and Education Secretary Armin Luistro’s tirade re: media’s coverage of the sex education issue.

Besides, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III had, by then, ordered Cabinet members to undergo a media relations seminar.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Thus the angle that another member of the PNoy Cabinet lost his cool in front of reporters was par for the course. But so too would have been this angle: that Tordesillas and other reporters engaged the foreign affairs secretary in a debate on the three-month extension of the services of non-career ambassadors.

A July 18 report noted that Tordesillas “barraged Romulo with questions on the legality of the extension…Other journalists joined the fray and made side comments on the ethics of the practice…” In a TV footage, I caught Romulo saying, in obvious exasperation, that he is the foreign affairs secretary and not Tordesillas, or words to that effect.

The Lacierda case actually illustrates the same point. A reporter craftily used the adjective “blooper” to describe Malacañang’s recall of Memorandum Circular No. 1 that declared all non-career executive service positions vacant.

“At a press conference,” an report on June 1 said, “Lacierda refused to call the issuance of a revised memo a mistake. ‘It’s fine-tuning the language,’ said Lacierda, responding to a repeated question by a reporter if a mistake was committed.”

Lacierda insisted that the recall move was not a “blooper” but the reporter insisted on his own description of it, thus the heat surfaced.

“The job of a reporter is to ask questions, not to engage a news source in a debate,” respected broadcaster Mike Enriquez said in Tagalog after delivering the news item on the Romulo-Tordesillas exchange on GMA radio’s nationwide newscast yesterday morning.

“Media people should also be made to undergo a seminar,” he joked.

Enriquez’s tirade was directed at media people who he said act like they are knowledgeable about everything or are more “popish than the pope.” I say amen to that, although as an opinion maker, I do pledge guilty to that charge in certain instances.

Of course, we in the media are not perfect and there are times when we go overboard in dealing with news sources. Clash of opinions sometimes happen in interviews and press conferences.

And more often than not, this is caused by the eagerness of media people to ferret out the truth or correct what they perceive as wrong.

But admittedly, there are arrogant (holier-than-thou) and biased (because they are corrupt?) media people, but they are few.

Most of us follow the journalist’s code of ethics, although many also need constant reminding about it.


I didn’t know that my friend Jose Ribomapil “Joeyboy” Holganza is back in the Provincial Board as president of the Association of Barangay Councils in the province. Joeyboy was a PB member in the early ‘90s when Emilio “Lito” Osmeña was the governor.

Joeyboy attempted to recruit me to the Capitol, even managing to introduce me to Osmeña. But I was just starting my career in media then as a dyLA reporter. Until now, I am wondering if working at the Capitol would have worked for me.

( my blog: