Nelson Macam, a Math teacher in Ramon Magsaysay High School (RMHS) – Manila (the institution where I graduated back in 2006), was found dead in his Tondo, Manila residence. He was stabbed at least 20 times by a yet-to-be-named assailant. And as if Macam’s killing is not yet brutal enough, the local media’s irresponsible and sensationalized reporting on his death is tragic as well.
Apart from being an alumnus of RMHS, what made me interested in this case is the fact that I was in the school doing research when the news broke out in the afternoon of January 12. Born May 13 1963, Macam has taught in RMHS-Manila for twenty years already. At least five tabloids and one broadsheet carried this story. They are the following (click the headlines to read the story):
Abante Tonite – Titser, binurdahan ng 20 saksak
People’s Journal – Robbers stab HS teacher 20X!
Philippine Star – Teacher stabbed dead in Tondo
Pilipino Star Ngayon – HS teacher, utas sa lover
Remate – Titser, binurdahan ng saksak, tigok
Reading the news stories made my stomach turn. All the writers either speculated or explicitly mentioned that Macam is gay. It is no secret that he is, but I am wondering if these journalists even bothered to ask for permission from the victim’s relatives if they can mention that.
I think the use of statements like “the victim had a constant male companion who frequented the place” and “the victim frequently entertained male visitors and gay friends in his room” seems nothing but malicious innuendo. It is disappointing to see journalists succumb to sensationalism.
Let me discuss the appalling lapses of each abovementioned news items:
Abante, Hataw, People’s Journal, and Remate –
What is the purpose of including in your article the complete address of the victim?
“Sa imbestigasyon, nabatid na madalas magdala ng bisitang lalaki ang biktima na kilalang bading sa kanilang lugar.” – Ito ba ay tsismis?
Hataw and Pilipino Star Ngayon –
Paano ninyo nasabing “lover” ni Mr. Macam ang pumatay sa kanya?
People’s Journal –
What is your basis for writing that Macam “had a constant male companion who frequented his place”?
Philippine Star –
Did journalist Nestor Etolle ask where the police officer he interviewed got the information that Macam “frequently entertained male visitors and gay friends in his room”?
The news items are totally appalling and very disrespectful to a man who’ve dedicated over half of his life to molding the minds of his students. #