When this seemingly innocent little tweet of mine caught the attention of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s editorial staff last week, I didn’t intend to make an issue out of it. I just posted a brief comment on my FB account, then that’s it. But then, I got mentioned again by the same newspaper the following day, and this time by one of its most “respected” columnists. So I think that, hey, they really won’t let me be. Blast it.
First of all, I AM NOT a sympathizer of Janet Lim-Nipples. If you ask me, with all the evidence being presented by investigative journalists, I think she really is guilty. I don’t like her one bit. Imagine: buying several mansions and condominiums here and abroad when she and her husband only have four kids! Isn’t one house enough for these greedy people? But that’s them: stinking drunk with wealth and power.
However, I am not out to condemn Janet yet since she has not yet been formally investigated in a court of law nor has she been convicted. I’m not a fan of trial by publicity. But I’m a fan of sarcastic and witty memes, hehe!
When I tweeted that Janet was being bullied by Inquirer reporters, that didn’t necessarily mean that I was already sympathizing with her. It was just an observation of mine. Because that was the truth: she was really being bullied, particularly by Managing Editor Joey Nolasco and photographer Edwin Bacasmas. Imagine: she went to Inquirer on her own accord, ready to air her side, and knowing that she was to speak to only ONE journalist: the editor-in-chief herself, Ms. Letty Jiménez-Magsánoc. But her humble request was denied. Instead, the suspect was shanghaied into a round-panel interview that she was not expecting. Here, check this out (at the video’s 1:18 mark):
Nápoles: Yes, ma’am, I’m sorry po. Kasi ’di ba parang everyday na, tapos wala naman. Tapos sabi ko sa husband ni [pointing to reporter Cathy Yamsúan], first time kong nakita siya si Ma’am Cathy. Sabi ko, Brian, may access ba para sa Inquirer. Para lang umapela ako bilang ina na sana bago isulat, kunin muna side namin. Yun lang ho talaga. Kaya akala ko, mga 10:30, pag wala na hong. Kasi hindi ko alam may mga ganito. First time ko pumunta ng Inquirer. That’s why, Ma’am, na-shock ako sa inyo. “Don’t you know that there’s a roundtable?” Sabi ko, “Ha?”
And throughout the video, the suspect has been pleading the photographer, Mr. Bacasmas, not to take her picture anymore. Bacasmas already had taken several, but he still disrespected the suspect’s pleas. Worse, Mr. Bacasmas was not even admonished by Raúl Pañgalañgan (PDI publisher). What really irritated me is that some of those journalists asked her questions as if they were members of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee! My golly. For instance, listen to Mr. Nolasco’s arrogant questioning (11:03 of the first video above, then at the first few minutes of the video below):
Nolasco: Mrs. Nápoles, tutal nandito na kayo…
Nápoles: Nakakatakot ka, sir, ah. Bakit anong kasalanan ko sa’yo?
Nolasco: Heto, pagkakataon mo na ’to. Ano ang maling sinulat ng mga reporters namin tungkol sa inyo? Sabihin niyo na ngayon. Ilalabas natin.
Nápoles: Asa anak ko, naka ganun eh [mimics writing/listing]. Naka… [laughs]
Nolasco: Siguro naman naalala mo ’yung mga main points nun. [This refers to Nolasco asking Napoles to talk about inaccuracies in the reporters’ stories on the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.-Ed.]
Chato Garcellano/Opinion Editor: Oo naman, alam niyo ’yun.
Nolasco: Pagkakataon niyo na ’to.
Nápoles: Mahirap magsalita.
Pañgalañgan: Kahit hindi lahat. Just a few.
Nolasco: Anong naaalala niyo dun? Kasi inaakusahan niyo ’yung mga reporter namin na…
Nápoles: Ah kasi [unintelligible] si Atty. (Lorna) Kapunan ng kaso. Nilagay niya. Eh dun na lang. Baka magalit sa akin yung abogado. Kasi kung [unintelligible].
Nolasco: Ang ibig sabihin, Mrs. Napoles, hindi niyo alam?
Nápoles: Hindi ko alam. Kasi siyempre, nasa dyaryo. Siyempre, hindi naman ho lahat ng sinulat sa dyaryo pwede mong idemanda. Siyempre babasahin mo, pantay ba yung [unintelligible].
Nolasco: O, ano? Ano ang maling sinulat ni ano … ng mga reporter namin? Wala? Wala kang masabi?
Nápoles: Hindi ho, meron siyempre.
Nolasco: O, ano?
Garcellano: Sabihin niyo na.
Mike Suárez/News Service Chief: Sabihin niyo na.
Nolasco: Dahil ’yun ’yung susulatin nila, wala kang masabi.
Blast it, do these journalists really expect the most hated Filipina today to be as articulate as they are, especially in an unexpected round-panel interview? Even I would have stammered like sh*t if I were placed in such a situation even if I wasn’t guilty of anything. So to paraphrase Mr. Mon Tulfo, that candid interview with Nápoles would have won her sympathy from the public had her initial request been respected.
On a related note, I do not believe that the pork barrel would be scrapped that fast. Malacañang almost always uses it as a form of “bribe” to legislators. Cooperative senators and congressmen receive their pork barrel in full and on time. Those who are in the opposition would receive nothing. That’s the sad truth.
So I think the only remedy at hand is to enhance the government’s procurement processes. They should upgrade to e-Procurement wherein all procurement activities of the government are transparent to both buyers and suppliers. In our country, the only Filipino company I know that provides e-Procurement services is Transprocure (not sure if BayanTrade is still around). So why not give e-Procurement a chance? It’s worth a try.
And lastly, Janet’s last name is pronounced as NAH-po-les, not Na-POH-les. Her last name is Spanish for that lovely Italian municipality called Naples, a major international tourist destination (no wonder traveling is in her daughter’s genes, LOL). So if you can’t pronounce it right, go for Janet Lim-Nipples. Blast it.