First, and if you will allow me, a recap of some of the main points I raised on Ricky Carandang’s Big Picture program.
1. On Jarius Bondoc’s ethical dilemma: We try not to be judgmental, but we certainly need to be critical. I hope Jarius appreciates the difference.
2. I sympathize with his situation, I understand where he’s coming from; but I am not alone in thinking he made the wrong choice.
3. He is torn between his responsibilities as a journalist and as a citizen; in my view, he would have fulfilled his citizenship responsibilities by meeting his obligations as a journalist.
4. The journalistic privilege is indispensable to the free flow of information; Justice (now Chief Justice) Reynato Puno, in a stirring dissenting opinion in the landmark Jurado case, declared that “independent sources of information” must be protected, otherwise the press as the agent of the people won’t be able to meet its duty to inform.
5. Journalists must keep an open line with “insiders” in the government or other power centers; these sources must feel confident enough in the discretion of the journalists they deal with to continue talking to them.
Second, and I think you may find the following more interesting, a quick roundup of the things that did not get said on air, that were shared in the corridors of ABS-CBN or in the lulls between takes.
1. All of us, the three guests and host Ricky too, most definitely want the probe into the ZTE scandal to continue.
2. But we all agreed that there was a right way to do it; when journalists become part of the story, the issue becomes murky, muddled.
3. Vergel argued, and I agreed, that what Jarius could have done, in outing Romy Neri, was to write a news story, not an opinion piece —- in large part because more editors would have had a chance to vet the story, and because the discipline would have required a stricter accounting. (Actually, come to think of it, Vergel said this on air, too.)
4. Jarius aired his concern about Romy Neri being severely under duress —- but his decision to out him and reveal some of the information relayed in confidence surely placed Neri under more stress.
5. (In other conversations with other journalists) Romy Neri spoke to several other journalists, not just Jarius alone.
I don’t doubt that, if there had been more time, these too would have found their way to the public discussion.