Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who Is Sick Really?

Somebody said yesterday that Occidental Mindoro governor Josephine Sato is suffering from cancer and (his own) people believed him. The source is a cancer survivor himself.

While it is a moral requirement upon public officials to disclose information about his or her medical conditions that are likely to seriously undermine his/her ability to fulfill the core functions of the office, said disclosure should be done by his/her doctors, by the patient himself/herself but certainly not his or her political opponent! More so if there are no proofs to support it. In any court of justice, such baseless pronouncement is mere rumor and to be treated as such. At this point sans diagnostic results and other medical records, such news is a blatant insult to citizens’ right to truthful information. And the media men who allowed it go unchecked is equally liable. As we repeat all over again, freedom of expression is always coupled with responsibility. We all are supposed to know that, regardless of our political belief and affiliations.

Being interviewed in a radio program over Bambi FM, a stationed owned by him, San Jose mayor Jose T. Villarosa, also known as JTV, disclosed that somebody informed him that governor Josephine R. Sato is suffering from kidney (or was it liver?) cancer while he held the anonymity of his source(s). Let us assume that the mayor and his source(s) are telling the truth, anchors of said programs should have not treated it as a gospel truth even if he is their boss. It should not have occupied airtime in the first place. That time, one of the two anchors is Father Ronilo M. Omanio, who happened to be the station manager and Sato’s opponent for the gubernatorial post in the past two elections. Sato always win with no less than 15 thousand votes.

Last week in a radio interview, this time over Heart FM, Sato said she had an appendectomy and very much on top shape now. She leaves again for US recently this time reportedly for a family vacation along with her daughter.

I remember in January of 2008, some broadsheets irresponsibly reported that former governor JTV went into hiding while in fact he is recuperating at the intensive care unit of the Makati Medical Center after going under the knife to remove his cancer stricken left portion of his lungs. Those journalist and reporters maliciously imputed that JTV was missing and freed out of prison without court order while the truth is he was brought to the hospital for treatment has the approval of Department of Justice and New Bilibid Prisons officials. House deputy speaker Ma. Amelita C. Villarosa said in a radio interview, “it really amazed me how they can come up with irresponsible journalism.” She likewise lamented further, “They did not even validate their story.” It is indeed very torturous and a great agony to find someone in this helpless and heart-breaking situation being victimized by irresponsible people from the media.

Is this case in point about sudden burst of the governor’s cancer story been validated by the radio station direct from the surgeons who allegedly underwent an appendectomy on the governor? Do they have plans to check the hospital and medical records of Sato? The public deserves to know all of these either from Sato herself or from other reliable sources including her political opponents. This would be accompanied with, of course, solid proofs or evidences. It’s the responsibility of Fr. Omanio to the listening public as a priest (Remember, he’s not yet laicized) and as a media man to dig deeply into the matter and present it again over the radio if possible fair and firm with the rest of his staff.

Be it rumor or otherwise, I wish that governor Sato once and for all would come out and tell us how fit or unfit she is because we have heard a lot of stories now about her sickness. What will happen next? Should we have to wait until she comes home for her disclosure to seal this matter or she’ll just shrug this off over her shoulders? Or another legal case is to about to loom. This situation will surely be capitalized by the rival propagandists at Heart FM to their advantage. And another thing is certain : that news (or was it rumor?) becomes another air pollutant. Anyway, we are already breathing the foul air since the beginning and we are immune to that already. Who is sick really? We all are.

Here in the Occidental Mindoro and elsewhere in the Philippines, not only health and related things like doctors (who take partisan stands), district hospitals (like those in San Jose and Mamburao that reportedly lack needed medicines and other supplies) and diagnostic center (that is projected to be erected in a disputed property) are being politicized but likewise the very sickness of the people themselves.

Massive politicking as such is sickening and deadlier than terminal cancer. Today, at least certain types of cancer can be prevented and cured. Pray this political sickness is not a hopeless case…

(Photo from Mindoro Post)

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