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A blatant display of animosity from the South Wing

June 3, 2011

It took me two days assessing whether to put this bad experience or not into words.

Taking into account how we reached our destination all the way from Malate up to the House of Representatives in the afternoon of May 30, 2011 was really strenuous. But the intention of the visit even without prior appointments from our respective congressmen was to take advantage of the situation while waiting for our flights back to our place of origin.

The intricacy of getting inside the house is the standard practice that everyone should undertake. But since it was not a “first time visit”, the process of submitting into a routinary check-up at the entrance of North and South Wings was no longer an issue.

We passed through the two buildings (North and South Wings) as the offices of the subject interviewees were located separately.

In order to maximize our time, Elad Perfecto (Catarman Tribune Publisher) and I decided to go back to the South Wing Room 216 of An Waray Party List Representative Florencio “Bem” Noel for the purpose of requesting for an interview or to follow-up our pending request for medicines (intended for adults) and to verify the status of the new scholars admitted for the program. Though I already had prior information from Jude Acidre in regard to the scholars’ checks, we believed it would be more convincing and would add more impact if we get the side of Cong. Noel or any of his staff in the house.

Upon reaching the room of An Waray, we knocked twice and initiated opening the door. A person of his 50’s immediately asked for our identity and we hurriedly answered that we’re from Samar Island Press Club. I couldn’t remember him asking us for a seat but I sat infront of him as he continued asking about the purpose of our visit.

The very first concern I conveyed was the pending request for medicines. He immediately called Tacloban staff about it and right after his conversation on the other line, he told me in vernacular and I quote “pirme man ngay-an kamo nagrerequest, pirme kamo nareklamo”. I was stunned hearing his statement but I calmed down by saying, “Yes there was a pending request last time we received Samar supplies in Tacloban City.” Then he followed up if we’re still conducting medical missions, which I said… “We suspend doing it instead we continuously give medicines through our respective media outlets like radio stations and the like. I added that most of the people who came to us were adults and we couldn’t give any medicine because what we could offer are for children”.  Though I felt the atmosphere of animosity from him and other staff members were just staring at us, again I inquired about the scholarship status specifically the release of checks. I told him that we received complaints from the parents who are bothered that their children could not be enrolled this semester; that Tacloban coordinator in the person of Ms. Jean Padual seems so preoccupied that she’s always out of coverage area causing us not to get exact information. That moment we were already pacing towards the door and my companions were already at the lobby sitting at the couch. He called up again Jean Padual in Tacloban City to check on the scholarship status. After their conversation he blatantly told me that Ms. Padual was attending her classes and not out of coverage area. That instant I was no longer interested to listen to his other statements as I felt his antagonism. I could sense that even my colleagues got awkward of the situation.

Feeling uninvited, I rectified his impression by telling him that “we’re not complaining but was just making follow-up on the programs and services of An Waray Party List; and we didn’t drop by the office to ask for anything but pure information.

The fact that we are visiting a government office, a friendly ambience is expected.

Just the two of us arguing, he persisted that our presence and the manner of the visit was to make a complaint. In as much as I would like to maintain my composure, the feeling of animosity seemed so unacceptable.

As a member of the fourth state, it is incumbent upon us to deliver the message to the right person who happens to be an elective official of the land and in his absence, any information, issues and concern can be passed on to any of his authorized representative.

Undeniably, he answered our queries in a manner where we could sense his enmity.

An Waray Party List through its representative Florencio “Bem” Noel and the Samar Island Press Club had a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) wherein all of the programs and services of the party list shall be aired or published in our respective stations and publications like broadcast, print and e-media.

In fact, the medical missions initiated by the press club and the disposal of medicines as well as the facilitation of applicant-scholasr in Samar provinces are also part of the agreement.

Both parties have commitments in the name of public service.

Coming to the office of An Waray Party List was not the first time either. Our experience in the previous visit was enfolded with warm reception.

In this last visit, the swift change of mood was so surprising!

I don’t want to be presumptuous but other members of the Samar Island Press Club, (SIPC) Inc. feel, the club we’re no longer part of .An Waray’s agenda. The club should realize that our role as partner or collaborator has been terminated without palpably informing us.

Media personalities and Non-career service or coterminous have diverse interests in terms of “public service.”

There is a common saying that “there is no permanent friend or ally in politics, only permanent enemies.”

If journalists are guided with our code of ethics, coterminous like the “confidential staff” is dependent on the whims of the appointing authority or subject to the pleasure of said appointing authority which is limited to the duration of a particular project for which purpose employment was made.

The manifestation of arrogance and hostility in his person is inherent in him and will always reflect to the office he’s representing.

Compared to 2nd District Representative Emil L. Ong and his staff, they received us warmly. Just like in the previous visit either in his hometown at Brgy. Rawis, Laoang, Northern Samar or in the House of Representatives, we always end up conversing and doing good interviews.

In that visit, we learned our lessons. Never to rely too much to the words of our local leaders or any of his representatives for their display of sincerity could be deceiving. No matter how good a person/leader is, if he is blinded with power, it dominates the whole being. Failing to notice the very fact that he is affiliated with an elected official of the land whose duty is to serve his constituency; that in the absence of his superior, he has to act with civility to everyone and even to the lowest class of human being in this country.

According to Theodore Roosevelt, the most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.