By Raîssa Robles
Most Filipinos, when they pose before a camera, automatically squeeze their faces into a smile.
It was the same for the reporters yesterday who had to stake out a grim subject at the Philippine Heart Center – Zaldy Ampatuan who is accused of conspiring in the mass murder of 57 people, including 32 journalists.
Thank you, Jeff Canoy and Nina Corpuz, for posting the photo below yesterday on the social networking site Twitter and allowing me to use it.
I’m sorry. Seeing the journalists’ picture yesterday just brought home to me the utter horror of the crime that Zaldy Ampatuan, his brother, father and cousins are all being accused off.
Two years ago, a group of journalists similar to the group now staking out Zaldy Ampatuan at the hospital was not only gunned down. Some of them were even mutilated, including the women.
Who are these monsters who did such beastly acts? Not me, Zaldy Ampatuan insists. He is doing everything to wriggle out of a court room trial.
We in the media have been accused of being biased against the Ampatuans.
Let me try to explain how the media works when confronted with a horrendous case like the Ampatuan, Maguindanao massacre.
The media will report verbatim what the Ampatuan family lawyers say in defense of their clients, no matter how astonishing their statements are. The media will go out of its way to air the side of the Ampatuans.
But the media will dig and dig and dig what that backhoe tried to cover up.
And the media will joke and laugh about it. For instance, my hubby Alan asked me this morning at the breakfast table:
What’s the theme song of the Ampatuans?
I replied, “Sirit.”
He said: “Backhoe, backhoe, it’s off to work we go…
And then Alan, who’s a born satirist, made an observation about Philippine Heart Center’s most prominent patient today. He said:
re a certain hospital patient: doctors won’t have a hard time taking a blood test, all they have to do is look at his hands.