MULTIMEDIA

IN PHOTOS: Cinco de Mayo

Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2021 08:32 PM | Updated as of May 05 2021 10:21 AM

This piece is part of a series to mark the first anniversary of the shutdown of ABS-CBN’s broadcast on free TV and radio which happened May 5, 2020.

Fernando G. Sepe Jr., or Jun Sepe, is the Deputy Editor for Multimedia of ABS-CBN News. Jun heads the unit at ABS-CBN that produces photos, videos, graphics and multimedia reports for the network's news website.

Photojournalists, they say, sometimes have a death wish. We live for moments when things go awry and we put ourselves in harm's way as long as we have our cameras there to record it.

A rowdy demonstration is better than a prayer rally. A lawmaker gone amok is better than two government officials shaking hands. Bad news is good news.

But not when the bad news is about you or your colleague. Certainly not when the bad news hits home.

May 5, 2020, started inauspiciously when I covered the cremation of coronavirus victims at the Baesa Crematorium in Quezon City. The death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic was rising. 

If the sight of people grieving but unable to even touch their dead was not wrenching enough, news that ABS-CBN was about to be shut down felt like the sky was falling as I raced to the office with daylight slowly fading.

Nothing prepares you to see toughened journalists from every generation feel the crushing weight of the decision handed down by the government's telecommunications regulatory office. Nothing prepares you when the tables are turned and you become the news. This was the sight inside the ABS-CBN newsroom that night.

When you see our head of news, Ging Reyes, with tears in the corner of her eyes; when you see our CEO, Carlo Katigbak, slumped on the sofa; when you witness colleagues you've been accustomed to seeing always busy in the newsroom suddenly with a blank stare, the barrier that is the camera between you and them suddenly falls and you feel that you are one family experiencing the same sorrow.

But we had to "soldier on" as Ging is wont to say. And . . .

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

Photos by Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News