Both in the Internet and mainstream media.
We decided to banner- headline the alleged US$81-M deposit of a “top provincial official” whose passbook was reportedly accidentally seen by a clergyman , a parish priest even from Songculan , Dauis . Father Patricio Galon , the said priest, was so distressed – he purportedly confessed (roles reversed) to a Media Man what he saw. So the story went.
The Media Man escalated the story using the Facebook, print and broadcast media and alleging the priestly confession to him was done.Â And that the concerned bank teller is now missing.
While the fairy tale may appear hilarious and an obvious product of a less than fertile imagination of Â amateur fiction author, it was not as innocent as it first sounded. And here’s the reason.
Three institutions were hurt. The Banking System which is to report such a Â huge deposit to the authorities under the RA 6160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the “top government officials” (from governor down to the SP members) who were automatically Â alluded to Â and the Clergy itself- a Â “man of the cloth” – his person and name used to give benediction and credence to the tall tale.
AsÂ ChronicleÂ trademark, we called in the experts and did not pretend to know the nook and cranny of this fairy tale in order Â to protect the innocent.Â The Bankers Association called it an “implausible story”, the harassed priest denied having been to that bank, having seen anything resembling the ghost of such passbook and that he never talked to the Media Man.
The concerned SP called for a probe. The amount involved is way above the P50-M threshold with which Â one can be Â charged with plunder since the peso equivalent of US$81-M is P3.6 Billion. Â Â If it was not in their Â SALN – that represents absolute “ill gotten wealth” as had caused the downfall and impeachment of the late chief justice Â Renato Corona. So to some people, this joke was not funny at all.
We picked the story as our banner story not because it is true but because it is patently false. When someone maliciously Â screams “there is fire ” (when there is none)- people can panic ,stampede Â or the weak suffer a heart attack. We have to protect the innocent from being unduly hurt. That’s what our paper often Â stands for.
TheÂ ChronicleÂ Â bannered the story not to sell our paper as people have been buying us to death for the last 62 years. But Â we do not need any advice from any pathetic “know it all” editor Â what we should print in our papers as he insinuated in his Facebook.
The last we checked, we only obeyed orders from the Old Man Dejaresco, and he has just observed his 12th death anniversary Â and is now six feet under the ground. Others in the same industry Â should mind their own business- improve their paper- so it will sell , get advertisers and win national newspaper awards. Rather than poke their nose into private policies of newspapering.
He gloated their paper did not pick up the story because it was “stupid and a foolishness ” per his Facebook.Â But theÂ ChronicleÂ Â picked up the story for the same reason – but with a different purpose: to protect the innocent.
But now that this editor has also called the story “ridiculous and preposterous” during the “Kita ug ang Gobernador” press conferenceÂ – he and the Media Man who invented the script should settle the name calling – by verbal joust, boxing match or a gun duel like Roxas and Duterte.
Now the Media Man happens to be the current vice chairman of the most prestigious association of newspapers called the Philippine Press Institute. We wonder how Media Man would feel being called and known as such (nationally by the PPI) by a local boy?
They are grown ups – they should settle it between themselves.
On our part – we also Â have over 20 years experience in banking and finance to know a farcical story especially when it comes to financial matters. It is not humbug- it is just part of the territory- part of our unplanned history. So tell us no lies and we tell you no jokes.
There are maybe two simple lessons to be learned here. One, is that never assume that everyone is stupid. Second, is that look at garbage especially unverified dung from the internet with jaundiced eyes and justifiably raised eyebrows.
Sometimes, it Â also pays to be a Doubting Thomas. Who only believed the truth of Jesus ‘ resurrection Â when the Lord appeared before him and asked him to place his finger inside His wounded palm.
In this world of shades of gray- doubt and investigate. And when one has ferreted the truth- be brave and say it to the world.
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