Media. That’s who runs things around here.
Check out this news report, with this accompanying picture.
In a bid to end speculations, Police Civil Aviation Security-7 Director Ritchie Posadas shared with News 5-Cebu the photo he took before the plane took off at Mactan Airport last Saturday afternoon, when he escorted the Interior secretary.
First of all, Mr. Posadas, that picture shows the plane on the ground. In fact, as the report pointed out, the Nepalese still hadn’t gotten into the plane. If you were approaching this logically, then there are several possibilities which would mitigate against the sweeping conclusion that Bahinting piloted the plane. Bahinting could have piloted the plane off the ground, but in mid-air, could have switched seats with the student, for example, for whatever reason. In fact, Bahinting could have scooted over to give way to the Nepalese immediately after this picture was taken – as unlikely as that may seem. In other words, Mr. Posadas, this picture isn’t worth jack-shit. You probably just wanted a reason to have this picture picked up by the media, with the excuse of just wanting to “end speculations.”
Mr. Posadas is symptomatic of one of the reasons our “official investigations” don’t amount to much. Indeed, this whole Robredo affair has been marked by amateurish investigation efforts.
Think about it.
Instead of getting every bit of usable information from the lone survivor, our geniuses on the ground actually let him go back to the crash site and basically sit on his thumbs after he’d given his one useful bit of information: where he remembered the plane ditched. In the meantime, no one knew what actually happened except from the speculations of a million and one people, none of whom were actually there when it happened. Apart from a statement, allegedly from the survivor, published in a broadsheet, there appears to be no definitive document containing the survivor’s retelling of events.
And how about the Civil Aviation Authority, eh? Coming in days after the crash when they should have been among the first responders. Air crash investigations ought to begin as soon as the plane hits land – or water – to ensure that no evidence is polluted or lost. Finding survivors is essential, absolutely, but that’s someone else’s job. Everyone outside of the SAR teams should be busy doing their own bit of the investigation, particularly in the matter of finding out what the fuck happened. As it turned out, nearly everyone turned into a wailing chorus, wringing their hands fretfully as they waited for divers – who RAN OUT of trimix, for crying out loud! – and being buffeted by every stray rumor.
Now, here’s Mr. Posadas attempting to preempt the investigation with his photograph, with nary a peep of protest from the people who should be conducting the investigation. And besides, who is he to “end speculations?” – as though his mere utterance would establish fact. He may be a responsible officer, but with an investigation being – or about to be – undertaken, Mr. Posadas ought to realize that he is part of the puzzle to be solved, i.e., his involvement in the whole thing will have to be sorted out to determine if he had any responsibility. He was there, after all, and his official title does make it sound like part of the responsibility for keeping things safe would’ve fallen on him.
I could go on and on about how all this is being flubbed by people who ought to know better, but as I said this clusterfuck is really just a symptom of a deeper malaise: the fact that media dictates the flow of everything.
From the very beginning, media exerted a very strong influence on how things were conducted. And because media’s immediate focus was the tragedy – oh, the humanity! – and the quickly growing cult of personality springing up around the fallen Secretary, so too was the focus of official muckity-mucks sharpened to include only those things that fed the media trend: rescue and remembrance.
Again, don’t get me wrong. There was nothing wrong with commiserating with the family, or praising Robredo – but government instrumentalities should have no room for that sort of thing – especially not to the exclusion of the performance of their other, equally important, duties. But then again, what do you expect when too many government entities now conduct their business with an overly eager eye out for how the media will portray them on the evening news?