Drowning in detail

There was a whole lotta shaking going on in the newsroom yesterday — in terms of stories, I mean. For the purposes of the Inquirer Compact, which I help edit, any number of news stories could have been the banner on page one: The victorious race for overall honors in the SEA Games, of course. The rare joint rescue by the AFP and the MILF of two kidnapped schoolteachers. Malacanang’s confirmation of its Charter change campaign. The new CBCP head’s appeal for better press (about that, more later, or at least eventually). The naming of the first Filipino parish priest in the diocese of Rome. (Bene!) And then, of course, Garci’s return to Manila (complete with a MacArthuresque landing on an isolated Maguindanao beach).

We went with the SEA Games, because after all this is the first time since we joined the regional meet in 1977 that we placed first overall. But Garci’s dramatic return (landing on that beach, secured by men with AK-47s; arriving in Manila on board a PAL flight, even though his name did not appear — again? — on the flight manifest) would have been a compelling choice too.

Which makes me wonder: I trust Ricky Carandang’s instincts, and his instincts, he has said in at least one interview, make him suspect that Virgilio Garcillano and wife Grace decided to come out of hiding over their handler’s reservations. But the timing seems, well, too perfect: the SEA Games at its height, Christmas rising on the horizon, macro-economic good news already in the air. Could Garci’s handlers have chosen a better time for him to come in from the blue and make a soft landing?

In reporter Nikko Dizon’s story filed from the airport, Garcillano is described as transiting from plane to government-plated vehicle seemingly "drowned in a sea" of bodyguards and journalists. That may have been the whole point: coming out at this time, Garci would have had to swim mightily to rise above the flotsam and jetsam that clog the news stream at this particular time, in this particular year. But why paddle when you can float? 

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4 Comments

Filed under Readings in Media, Readings in Politics

4 responses to “Drowning in detail

  1. Hi Mr. Nery. Could you talk more about the Inquirer Compact in your future posts? We in the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility/PJR Reports closely follow your blog. Congrats for such a wonderful site.

  2. luisa belmonte

    Hello Sir John,

    What a nice blog. I am not quite sure if u still remember me. I used to write for Woman, the lifestyle magazine of Philippine Post & transferred to Prevention Magazine of Summit when it unfortunately closed down in 2000.

    I am now working for the Philippines News Agency covering the Senate.

    Anyway, I always follow ur blog. Keep it up! Hope to see a copy of Inquirer Compact here in Manila.

    God bless,
    Luisa Belmonte

  3. Mario

    My sense is that Garci was an unexploded bomb. His coming out now is a managed explosion. His performance is not meant to win points for GMA; rather it is meant to prevent him from being more damaging later.

    If my sense is correct, then the folks in Malacanang are really preparing to remain in power regardless of public opinion as long as they keep a tight reign of the enforcers of real power hold. Their view is sticks and stones may hurt GMA’s bones but opinions dont bother her.

    To these people, it does not matter if we hobble along as long as they remain on top of the deals. Whatever threat looms can always be bought out or brazen through. Any thoughts to the contrary will just stay in minds and not get translated into action anyway. In Marcos’ time, we used to be a country of 60 million people and one son of a bitch. Now we have grown to become a country of 80 million people and that son has gone leaving us his mother. Hayy, the more things change, the worse they get.

  4. It seems to be quite clear now that the coming out of Garcilliano is a well-planned operation, short of saying it seems to be fully scripted–like everyone have memorized their moves and act on numbered steps.

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