Thursday, March 16, 2006

One-Sided

On one side, I agree with Alex Magno's column today. He says, "Those who oppose government think that, by virtue of their political stripe, they should be immune from arrest. They may jaywalk, cause massive traffic jams by marching in the streets without a permit, conspire with those who seek the armed overthrow of elected government and yet, precisely because they are anti-government they should not be arrested because that would constitute undemocratic 'persecution'."

How true. One watches the so-called "Batasan 5" on TV and wonders why they don't let themselves be arrested, if only to give them more of a martyred image? One watches them hiding out in the Batasan, and thinks that they're all hot air.

But on the other hand, I do not see how he can tolerate events such as the raid on the Daily Tribune and the admitted Department of Justice(DoJ)'s monitoring of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ). And yet, he says in his column, "At the Senate, quality senatorial time is again being squandered discussing the "suppression" of a paper that was never really closed down and the matter of a search warrant on the offices of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism that, it turns out, was never issued in the first place."

How true. However, while nothing substantial was done, and no actual arrests made or controls imposed, the message of intimidation was clear.

Does this mean for Mr. Magno that it's all right for the government to intimidate the media, all in the name of protecting the state?

The problem with columnists like Magno is that he only seems to see one side of the situation, and dogmatically defends that side, believing it to be the only right one. One forgets that in our political situation today, neither side is saintly pure, both are corrupt, and to defend either side is to accept that corruption.

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