If you aren’t aware of the ongoing debate on the Right of Reply Bill, this will probably mean nothing to you.
On the other hand, every opportunity that our politicians take to embarrass themselves is of interest to all freedom-loving Filipinos, so you might as well read on.
Salient points of a radio interview with Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. over DZMM’s Tambalang Failon at Sanchez:
1. Sen. Revilla only wants to protect journalists from being killed.
It’s no secret that a specter has been haunting Philippine journalism: the specter of sudden-death-by-motorcycle-riding-assassins.
He said that by requiring journalists to air the side of politicians that journalists may have offended, media killings will decrease.
Media killings, in this case, seem to be some sort of ultima regio of local politicians and warlords who were not allowed the courtesy of
a rebuttal. Which does have a sort of logic to it, I guess. I mean, what choice would they have except to shoot journalists in the head for exposing their alleged infidelities to the law? Not be corrupt?
2. He just wants what’s fair.
Granted, there are people like Mon Tulfo who tend to shoot from the hip (or for a fistful of dollars,) and say all sorts of crazy shit. But journalists, for the most part, are bound by a code of ethics that requires them to get all sides of a story. Barring that, to present other sides when they become available.
“If the media can dish it out, it should be able to take it,” as some are arguing, is already par for the course, and those in mainstream media, however bloggers love to scoff at them, do generally know how to do their jobs.
If they don’t, they quickly lose their integrity, if not their jobs. Tulfo may still be at the Inquirer but more as a kistchy shabby chic sort of ornament.
Also, what sort of fairness can we expect from people like Rep. Monico Puentevella, principal author of the House version of the bill?
3. Revilla was a victim of rogue journalists
During the phone interview, which conveniently was cut off (poor signal, apparently) when Revilla couldn’t answer difficult questions, he admitted that he had been a victim of unscrupulous columnists and opinion writers.
It must be noted that before he became a senator, Revilla was an actor, and he still makes bad movies every now and then. One cannot seek the limelight (two times over,) and not be subjected to criticism.
Also, to legislate a law to benefit yourself is a bit of a conflict of interest. (Which, incidentally, could also open you up to more criticism.)