28 October 2010
In view of the letter published in our Facebook and Blog disowning the
letter published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI, below is
response of the editor.
1. As a matter of policy and practice, letters approved for publication
are edited to suit them to the Inquirer’s editorial standards and style.
But the Inquirer makes sure that the principal messages of the letters
are kept essentially the same.
2. For a very obvious reason and because the letter could only be
accommodated on Oct. 15, we had to change the point of reference of Ms
Bacalso’s Sept. 28 letter from “before” to “after” Oct. 8.
3. Ms Bacalso’s Sept. 28 letter was published on the assumption that as
of Oct. 14, when the letter’s publication was set for the next day, no
meeting had yet taken place between President Aquino and the
desaparecidos’ kin and their supporters. Please note that Ms Bacalso did
not recall her Sept. 28 letter or tell the Inquirer that, on Oct. 6,
2010, the President had met with AFAD and FIND. Neither was there any
news report about such meeting that the Inquirer was aware of.
4. May we remind Inquirer readers that Inquirer expects those who would
use its Letters section to air complaints to immediately update the
section on any major intervening development regarding their gripes.—Ed.
From the above-mentioned response, the editor of the Philippine Daily
Inquirer stated that I did not withdraw the letter. While it is true
that I could have informed the PDI that a meeting between President
Aquino and us had transpired on 6 October, however, since the purpose of
the said letter was for it to be published on the first 100 days as
indicated in its first paragraph, I thought that there was no need to do
Moreover, from my experience sending letters to the editors to the PDI,
most of these letters were not published. Hence, I never anymore
expected that a letter, meant to be published not beyond the first 100
days of President Aquino, would be published a week after the end of the
first 100 days and 18 days after the letter was sent. After all, the
same letter was already published in Malaya and in News Today on 1
October which really then served the purpose.
After our meeting with President Aquino on 6 October, the day after, a
picture of the said meeting with a clear caption appeared in our Blog
and Facebook. If PDI was not sure if a meeting had not taken place yet
within those 18 days before the letter was published, it could have just
quickly checked it. However, as Mr. Jun Cinco of the Opinion page had
it, the PDI did not have the time for it, since I was only one of their
millions of letter writers.
To my mind, it is PDI’s responsibility of ensuring that correct
information be printed after a careful verification. After all, the
letter was written in an official letterhead of the Asian Federation
Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) with all the contact details
written in it. Our Federation does not mind if the style be edited to
fit the PDI’s editorial standard. But obviously, there was no editing
after the first paragraph. However, the first paragraph’s content was
totally twisted which could affect AFAD’s and FIND’s credibility not
only before the Office of the President but equally important, before
the general public.
One of the readers in fact called me and said: “ Ang ganda ng letter
mo. Buti nga, napahiya si Pnoy.”
It is our ardent hope that PDI, being the country’s leading newspaper,
be an example to the genuine practice of the principles of responsible
MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO