26 October 2006

A giant among men and women

MY DIGITAL camera failed me, and the only marginally decent picture is to the left. (Time to replace the Energizer Blue batteries that came for free with a glossy magazine I bought at the Birmingham International Airport last July.)

It shows, from left, former Camarines Sur Congressman Cho Roco; Bukidnon's Nereus "Neric" Acosta, who gave a truly moving speech; Sonia Roco; Eggie Apostol; Mayor Jess Robredo, who is mostly covered by Vice Mayor Gabriel Bordado, Jr.

This is the first time I saw Ms. Apostol in person. But what she lacks in height, Eggie more than makes up with the legendary spunk, a cutting wit, and an integrity that simply shines from within. In a totally off-the-cuff address before the mostly grown-up audience--forced by circumstance as students took advantage of the DepEd sem break--she asked telling questions:

  • Are your local papers objective? Who owns them?
  • Do you think local media practitioners subscribe to the Journalist's Code of Ethics?
  • And the one that brought the house down: Where is Louie Villafuerte*?
That last question sounded hilarious at the surface, and drew mirthful laughter all around, but it cut the deepest wound: mirroring the fractured and polarized Philippine society, can our local politicians still work together on something, anything, for the common good?

Eggie the quintessential journalist still asks the tough questions in search for the Truth. And for a moment it raised some flicker of hope in the optimistic dreamer in me. Now I know why she is a giant among Filipino men and women bar none.

*For the unitiated, Villafuerte is the incumbent congressman of the 2nd district of Camarines Sur, president of Kampi (GMA's own party), a die-hard administration stalwart, and political rival of those allied with the late Senator Roco.


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