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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Fine Art Of Staying In The Public Eye

If he hadn’t brought a reporter with him to chronicle his latest attention-grabbing stunt, maybe I’d have a little more sympathy for former police officer Arturo Lascañas.
But for the life of me, I don’t remember anyone fleeing persecution—or possible assassination, as Lascañas claims— who brought along a journalist from the only newspaper that still believes everything he says, to ensure that his every move was documented just the way he (or his handlers) wanted it.
But there he was, the man who said he had a “spiritual awakening” that made him admit to personally killing hundreds of people, including two of his own brothers, after he swore an oath that there was no such thing as a Davao Death Squad, back in the papers.
As far as Holy Week stories go, the flight of Lascañas was decidedly biblical—after playing the Apostle Paul having an epiphany on the way to Damascus, the perjured ex-cop has become the Child Jesus being spirited out of the country, away from the clutches of a murderous King Herod.
Only it shouldn’t really be that way. Normally, people who confess to being one-man, Terminator-like killing machines are brought to court and to jail, where many a real spiritual awakening has taken place.
Indeed, if Lascañas was really not part of some complicated and well-funded plot to embarrass the Duterte administration, the media would certainly have reported with equal fervor and tenacity the unusual case of Guillermina Barrido Arcillas.
Arcillas surfaced recently to claim that she had been offered P1 million by anti-Duterte forces led by Senators Antonio Trillanes and Leila de Lima, among others, in order to testify against President Rodrigo Duterte.
But the Manila-based media didn’t even pick up the tale that Arcillas told in a press conference in Davao City.
Never mind if she even showed a text message purportedly coming from a Jesuit priest known to be sympathetic to the cause of the Liberal Party, sending her cash through a money-remittance company, with the instruction to immediately delete the message once she had gotten the funds.
Why the story of Arcillas—a self-proclaimed member of the LP who alleged that she did not sign an affidavit alleging crimes committed by Duterte because all the money promised was not given—was ignored by Big Media is a mystery to me.
If the press can run stories about the spiritually reawakened Lascañas as if he had not seriously damaged his credibility by perjuring himself and hold his hand all the way to Singapore, I don’t know why someone like Arcillas cannot even get close to receiving the same treatment.
And you wonder why Duterte calls out the media regularly for being biased and acting only on the behest of its oligarch-owners. The apotheosis of the terribly compromised Arturo Lascañas is just one compelling reason why.
By, Jojo A. Robles

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