OPINION: I stand with Ellen Tordesillas

Scarredcat - Inday Espina-Varona

Posted at May 01 2016 06:27 PM

First, they finagled a Facebook takedown of journalist Ellen Tordesillas's blog, which discussed how a citizen confirmed the existence of one of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged bank accounts. Facebook stupidly acceded to those demands on an output by a legitimate journalist.

Then they spread a blog that makes out Tordesillas as a tool of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. They spread that blog and hurl curses at a journalist.

I have been asked by friends in the Duterte camp: “Ano, what can you say about your friend, Ellen Tordesillas?

Here's my answer:

I trust Ellen. Period. Her track record as a journalist stands for itself.

Is she friends with some Magdalo folk? Hell, yes. So what? I could name dozens of journalists who are good friends of Magdalo people -- and some of them are with Duterte, for Poe, for Mar.

I am a friend -- if not exactly close -- of SOME Magdalo people (who don't even like Trillanes). So what? I am a friend to people in Duterte and Poe and even Binay's camps, and even people in the LP. So what?

Maraming journalists na pro-Duterte. I will never accuse them of being on his payroll -- their perspective, their right to it. Some journalists are pro-Mar, pro-Grace, and some pro-Binay? So what?

I am not even saying Ellen is for anyone -- and I do not care.

Our stories speak for themselves: Ellen posted a bank deposit slip confirming the reality of Duterte's BPI account. The REALITY.

Her friend's test was not the only attempt. If Duterte's camp mangled his message so that the tests made him out as seemingly fudging the truth, IT IS NOT ELLEN'S FAULT.

As for those websites ... So what if a Magdalo techie registered Ellen's website? Ellen is not a techie. Neither am I -- I once asked Carlos Conde to register my domain name, back when he ran a server. I have asked Denggai Silorio to register some for me, also.

Back in those days, journalists weren't that much skilled with administering websites. Then, few of us couldn't be bothered with the bells and whistles of websites. We tended to delegate these tasks to trusted friends.

There is only one issue. Was Ellen right or wrong?

She was right.

And you try to lynch the messenger?

Not too long ago, the AFP tried to tar me as a leading communist propagandist. Later, it became worse -- hints at close links to people they called arsonists. They took that back quickly because many people – my critics included – stood up against those tactics.

Many of those who spoke up were Duterte supporters. I cannot understand, why are you using the same tactics on Ellen?

Decades back, a journalist called Jun Pala was assassinated in Davao City. I was an officer then of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). We condemned the killing.

Pala was a nasty person. He cursed on-air. He was pro-Alsa Masa. He called journalists communists for criticizing human rights abuses. He actually called on vigilantes to kill such journalists.

People were aghast when the NUJP condemned Pala’s killers. How could you do that to someone who encouraged attacks on colleagues?

I was mentioned by Pala several times. Back then I said this: the real test of our adherence to press freedom and democracy is when we stand up to the least palatable of our brethren. Pala was a journalist. We slammed him for his abuses. But if we only defended saints, we would be hypocrites.

The case of Ellen Tordesillas isn’t even that complicated. She got her story right. And you are punishing her for that. So much for “change.”

(Disclaimer: The views of the author are her own and not necessarily the view of ABS-CBN Corp.)

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.