Monday, May 5, 2008

Panganiban: Mr. Media and Ms. Justice Are Husband and Wife [sic!]

On yesterday's Comment Thread, the Jester-in-Exile said that during the recent IBlog4 conference, "mlq3 (Manuel L. Quezon III) spoke on msm vs. blogosphere as akin to the age old debate between a professional priesthood and enthusiastic amateurs."

Since he is both a blogger and a columnist for PDI, one wonders how Manolo would care to describe himself. But today, let's take a look at another interesting personality who also wades in two different rivers of information wearing two different hats to whom both characterizations appear to apply: Artemio V. Panganiban (former Supreme Court Chief Justice turned professional pundit for the Philippine Daily Innuendo).

Let's take a good look at his Monday column piece, Supreme Court-Media relation.
AVP: LAST SUNDAY, I WROTE ON THE CONGRESSIONAL proposals to decriminalize libel and how the Supreme Court has protected media’s freedom of expression in relation to libel. I said that the Court appreciated the difficult plight of journalists when powerful officials use the police and the prosecutory arm of the government to harass and intimidate them.

Criticism without venom. Indeed, the Court winces when media professionals are unnecessarily arrested and handcuffed publicly, fingerprinted and photographed like common criminals, detained until they put up bail, and required to attend protracted hearings before prosecutors and judges who are sometimes rude and inconsiderate. And worse, when they become victims of unexplained disappearances and extra-legal killings.
Now this is world-class INNUENDO at PDI's finest, where Pundit Panganiban is referring to the Manila Peninsula incident, tar-and-feathering the police authorities for treating almighty journalists as "common criminals" and suggesting a plight of harassment and intimidation foisted on the media people involved (after they clearly obstructed justice, got in the way of an obvious crime scene, made fools of themselves in public, and then cried like cry-babies when they got into trouble. ) AVP does not mention that the media has lost spectacularly in both the Courts of law and of public opinion trying to prove some slight to their precious freedom of expression in that incident.

But I really wonder what AVP means by "the Court winces when media professionals are unnecessarily arrested and handcuffed publicly..."

The media were not acting professionally in that incident and it was absolutely necessary that they be arrested and handcuffed for disobeying lawful authorities to clear the scene so they could implement a Court-ordered warrant of arrest against Antonio Trillanes and Danilo Lim for trying to start another Oakwood style mutiny at yet another Makati hotel. The Courts certainly did not "WINCE" when they threw out those crazy lawsuits filed by Ellen Tordesillas and company against the cops for actions that in fact led to a peaceful, if forceful conclusion to another act of conspiratorial juvenile deliquency between rebellious military officers (about six of them) and the coterie of admiring lady reporters and male photographers who later had the temerity and hubris to claim that they had prevented a bloodbath. The Court "winces" my foot!

But AVP continues...

AVP: In turn, media have generally been kind to the Court. Journalists criticize only after a careful review of the relevant facts and after double-checking their sources of information. Many of them realize that, when subjected to unwarranted attacks, the judicial institution may be permanently damaged and judicial integrity hopelessly undermined.
Here it almost seems as if AVP doesn't quite know which hat he is wearing today. The "judicial institution" has always been responsible for all the permanent damage done to it, and the undermining of its integrity has been most self-inflicted. For example, in the Marcos era cases and now in Neri v. Senate. But it's just a setup for the following strange claim...
AVP: Verily, the judiciary and the media are natural partners. They are bound by the same reasons for being -- the search for truth, the protection of the people’s rights and the defense of the basic norms of society. Since both do not have direct access to government resources, or to the police and the military, they rely only on the persuasive power of reason and the core values of organized society.
OIC! They are natural partners in the "search for truth". They are the cerebral and noble protectors of the people's rights and upholders of basic norms. They have no resources, no police or military force, only the power of reason and the values of organized society. (Bow, kneel and scrape your foreheads to the floor before such noble defenders of the people's rights y'all!)
AVP: Live TV coverage. The cordial relation between the judiciary and the media has not ruled out occasional face-offs. One recurring conflict started on Oct. 23, 1991 when the Court issued a resolution prohibiting live radio and television coverage of court proceedings. The controversy was revived 10 years later when then Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez asked for live coverage of the Sandiganbayan trial of former President Joseph Estrada.

By a close 8-6 vote, the Court denied the petition (“Perez vs Estrada,” June 29, 2001). (I voted with the six.) Weighing the conflicting rights to information of the public and the right to a fair trial of the accused, the Court held that “the right of the accused must be preferred.” It explained that live coverage of the prosecution’s evidence would tend to create undue prejudice to Estrada.

Later, when his turn to present his side came up, Estrada himself asked for live coverage. However, the Court rejected his request. Sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander. Nonetheless, the Court relaxed the ban on Sep. 11, 2007 when it allowed, under certain conditions, the live coverage of the promulgation of the Sandiganbayan decision. Note, however, that the ban on live coverage of trials was not lifted and continues to be observed in all courts.
The moral and judicial inconsistency of their original rulings and this peculiarly self-serving explanation can easily be seen by asking how and why the ORIGINAL impeachment trial of Joseph Estrada was allowed to be broadcast live on national media, whilst the post Edsa II proceedings became a matter of secret trial and proceeding. To the vast audience of history the reasons are clear: Panganiban and Davide brazenly violated the explicit requirements of the Constitution on Presidential succession when they conspired with Angelo Reyes and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Jaime Cardinal Sin to illegally overthrow the only truly democratically elected President Joseph Estrada (such as he was!) with their so-called People Power on 20 January 2001. All the judiciary's proceedings post Edsa II were unconstitutional and immoral, and the real poisonous root of the current dispensation. Since then the Constitution has been treated with impunity and secret disdain by these men in skirts, who had achieved with great satisfaction the secular equivalent of what MLQ3 called at Iblog4 a "professional priesthood."

What a friggin' laugh Panganiban is when you see that his real place in history will be that of a Destroyer of Democracy from the highest perch of our Bantay Salakay Supreme Court. See much more Philippine Commentary on this vast topic here.
The judiciary and the media have been great partners in promoting the public weal. Having been a member of the Supreme Court, and now of the media, I trust that these occasional conflicts will not degenerate to a total locking of horns. In fact, it is my hope that these differences will sharpen their cooperation, in the same way that occasional disagreements strengthen the bonds of husbands and wives.
So that is what the former Chief Justice thinks of such transcendental issues as Separation of Powers, Press and Religious Freedom, fealty to the Constitution, executive privilege and brazen violation of democratic principles by the institutions charged with guarding our most precious values and axioms: "occasional conflicts between husbands and wives."

Mark him! He's one of the biggest jerks in town. And I yeah, I'm packing as much venomous criticism as I can in this statement, with malice and disdain aforeblog. Compared to this Fascist in Judge's and Pundit's disguise, I actually feel warmth and sunshine for the "professional priesthood" of the Main Stream Media and the "enthusiastic amateurs" of the blogosphere, because this guy has abused and demeaned REAL POWER.



manuelbuencamino said...

Manila Pen is the wrong example. The behavior of the journalists there was exceptional. The police demeaned their institution

DJB Rizalist said...

unfortunately for your point of view, the general public disagrees vehemently with it. You are simply unable to accept the idea that there are real limits to this thing you call Press Freedom. Your blindness is rooted in an important point of principle: that the commercial press cannot possibly have any greater freedom than the general public to get information about anything. That they have commercial as well as noble motives is what confuses people like you.

If I were to accept your point of view, imagine applying it to non political reporters and their right to act as exceptionally as you claim for Manila Pen. Just try the gedankenexperiment say on entertainment reporters and show biz coverage. You will realize how corrupt your POV actually is.

manuelbuencamino said...


unfortunately, for your point of view, an EVEN GREATER MAJORITY of the general public disagrees vehemently with it.

You are simply unable to accept the idea that there are real limits to this thing you call Police Power.

Of course I understand you learned your lessons on your uncle Rudy's knee

"“Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do." --Rudy Giuliani

Sig Heil Mein Fuhrer!

DJB Rizalist said...

mb, hahaha, you you can play word games all you like MB. But take care, monkey see, monekey do, pretty soon monkey think!

manuelbuencamino said...

enjoy your banana

DJB Rizalist said...

okay, that's a lil better. in your first comment, i know you only disagreed with the example i chose. but i wonder, were you not at all disturbed by the TONE of CJ Panganiban's transparent attempt to co-opt the Mass Media, as if to say, you and he are buddies and ought to make some kind of common cause with a Supreme Court that I've always maintained is like the Marcos Court--willing to rule with the Executive as true conjugal dictatorship.

Are you really willing to make it an Unholy Trinity of Fascism then?