Published July 10, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Jullie Y. Daza


Jullie Y. Daza

President Duterte running for vice president? VP Robredo aiming for the presidency? What if they both win? A recurring daily nightmare for the two winners as well as the state?

As Mr. Duterte himself said, musingly, as if he were talking to himself, he cannot imagine working side by side with someone who’s neither friend nor ally. (Sir, how about with your mayor-daughter?)

Blame the Constitution’s silence on a one-term-only chief executive seeking election as vice president. Or lawyers’ interpretation of the law. Otherwise, blame his popularity before questioning his audacity. You could also blame the framers of the 1987 Constitution for allowing candidates for both positions to come from different parties.

PTV, the national television network, found itself in two difficult situations this week. The Commission on Audit revealed that a corps of “consultants on service” were receiving salaries 260 percent above the pay scale of its permanent and regular staff, incurring for the network an “unjustifiable” P70 million expense. Next, Secretary Harry Roque found himself defending PTV for airing a meeting of the President with his supporters to discuss the ruling party’s plans and strategies. Mr. Roque said why not, if the meeting was a worthwhile news event.

The questions to ask are: 1. Doesn’t PTV have enough talent on board, with the additional bonus of, as Senator Dick Gordon pointed out, “so many undersecretaries and assistant secretaries”?; and 2. If newsworthiness is the yardstick, how did the network miss the opposition’s 1Sambayan choice of six nominees for president and/or vice president? That the nominations turned out to be an embarrassment to the convenors as well as the nominees did not diminish the newsiness of the event nor the curiosity of audiences suffering from COVID fatigue and eagerly anticipating some form of political entertainment from the “other side.”

As “the people’s station,” PTV runs on the people’s money, and as its slogan says, “para sa bayan” (for the people). Like Voice of America and BBC, PTV exists not to glorify any group or groups but to notify its citizens – what they need to know from both sides of the fence, all sides good and bad. In the forthcoming elections, the other side shouldn’t have to demand equal time; it is theirs by right.