President Benigno Aquino III slammed (or scolded, as ABS-CBN put it) former Vice President (VP) and current TV Patrol news anchor during the said program’s 25th anniversary party last Friday night. Aquino, who did not mention De Castro by name during his tirade, recounted instances when the former VP made negative commentaries against certain government initiatives during the newscast. The full text of Aquino’s remarks is now posted in the government website.
Echoing his predecessor’s frequent attacks on the media, Aquino said: “Ang pagkiling sa negatibismo ay mag-aatras lamang sa dapat sana’y pag-usad na ng ating bayan at mga kapwa Pilipino” (Leaning on negativism will only push back the impending progress of our nation).
Aquino then sought to rationalize his actuations that night before closing his speech: “Muli, at ako po’y pagpasensyahan ninyo kung masyadong prangka (na) nagsalita ngayong gabi. Maganda na ho siguro ‘yung totoo ang sabihin para magkaunawan tayo nang maliwanang” (Please pardon my excessive frankness tonight. I believe it’s better for us to tell the truth for us to understand each other better).”
De Castro did not make any public comments about Aquino’s pointed remarks against him, but his daughter Kat reacted via Facebook. The TV host wrote: “Kapag inimbita ka sa tahanan ng isang tao, huwag mong titirahin.” Paraphrasing a famous quote by former US president Harry Truman, the younger De Castro later added: “If you can’t take the heat, get out! I will always be my father’s daughter.”
Here are some observations of this writer:
1. Aquino is fond of using formal occasions to bash people he does not like in their presence (remember Renato Corona?). What’s more troubling is that the nature of these events makes it impossible for the individuals he is attacking to react. There is nothing wrong with being frank, but this should be done at the right time and place. Mr. Aquino, have you left no sense of decency?
2. Nevertheless, this brouhaha once again brings into the surface two questions regarding TV Patrol. First, is it ethical for ABS-CBN to let De Castro resume his anchoring duties in the program just four months after his term as vice president ended? Second, is it right for “Kabayan” to make side comments during the newscast itself? The short answer to these questions – NO.
NOTE: Shortly before stepping down from the vice presidency in June 2010, De Castro revealed that he was offered a position in the Aquino cabinet. He declined the offer, and no one from the Aquino camp denied De Castro’s claim.