In the practice of journalism, it is sometimes inevitable that some people will get hurt. That is what reporting is all about. We report it as it happened. Quite often, the truth hurts. But the people have a right to know and readers of Philippine Sentinel want to know the truth.
In the past, this column has defined journalism as the process of seeking the truth, verifying the truth, and publishing the truth, even if it hurts.
Such is what happened in the case of Dolores Amarille, a tenant of Kapitbahayan Cooperative, as reported by columnist Benjie de Ubago in the September 2010 issue of Philippine Sentinel.
Mrs Amarille was served an eviction notice on 15 June 2010 by Kapitbahayan and was required to leave the premises on 12 July 2010. Amarille stayed past the due date prompting Kapitbahayan president Ruben Amores to take the case to the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT).
Reasons cited on the eviction notice included installation of a TFC antenna without permission; arrears of allegedly 2 weeks rent; and “not fit to be a resident of Kapitbahayan.” CTTT regarded the reasons for eviction as weak and ruled in favor of the tenant. Mrs Amarille won and was allowed to stay.
Court records do not lie
On Monday, the 20th of December 2010, Mr. Amores and the editor of this paper bumped into each other during the HAPAG presentation at Bowman Hall in Blacktown NSW. Maybe he deliberately waited at the staircase for me to come out. Referring to the article of Ms de Ubago about the Amarille case, Amores said that “they were all lies.” He added: “Kasama ka sa kasinungalingan.” (You are part of the falsehood.)
He was obviously referring to my role as editor of Philippine Sentinel. Did he really expect me not to publish the column of Ms de Ubago? Or maybe, he expected me (for whatever reasons) to censor or revise the report made.
But court records do not lie. At the time of publication and up to the present, I am satisfied that my columnist exercised due prudence in doing her research about the Amarille case. That is what journalism is all about –
seeking the truth, verifying the truth and publishing the truth, even if it hurts.
Apparently, Mr. Amores was hurt by the article of Ms de Ubago. I owe him no apology and will not make any apology, ever! He does not deserve any apology coming from me. He should, in fact make the apology for claiming that I was part of the falsehood.
By the way, during the unscheduled meeting, I invited Mr. Amores to send us his reply to the column of Benjie de Ubago. I promise to publish it verbatim. – Dino Crescini