By Pet Melliza/ The Beekeeper
If columnist Peter Jimenea looked pleased nowadays, it’s his sense of satisfaction that several media colleagues graced the anniversary of his cable-TV talk show in a buffet at Hotel del Rio last December 17.
Another media outfit was also having a Christmas party that day. Colleagues though still managed to drop by at the 16th anniversary fete of Kape kag Isyu before proceeding to The Daily Guardian in Mandurriao district.
I only learned two days after that there was also a big gathering that same day in the same hotel which a fortunate batch of 15 reporters had been invited to cover but who incidentally did not show up.
I would disagree with colleague Limuel Celebria who described the no-show of the 15 invited media guests as a “snub”. Even the veteran Lydia Pendon who worked at the city hall popped up first at the lunch tendered by Peter Jimenea.
That Saturday, Hotel del Rio was under tight security. Armed persons, in uniform and civilian attire, were crawling outside the building, inside at the reception room, and on the poolside, venue of Kape kag Isyu.
Leon Mayor Rolito Cajilig, Iloilo Provincial Board Member Jerry Flores and his wife Miag-ao Mayor Juliet Flores were there. All mayors of Iloilo’s second district attended the gathering I learned later to have been convened by Sen. Franklin Drilon.
The discussions of the political tete-a-tete did not reach the public which, as explained by Limuel Celebria, was the result of the “media snub”.
Rep. Jerry Trenas, worried that no reporter showed up, was heard muttering to organizers: “dali, tawgi City Hall Press Corps para makadto d’i (hurry, call City Hall Press Corps (members) to come here)”.
Some city hall press corps faces did respond but they were a little too late. Some bits of their reports came off the press, like the successful lobby of the 2nd district mayors and Sen. Drilon to clip the wings of controversial Rep. Augusto “Boboy” Syjuco (2nd district).
Malacanang has ordered that the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel be given directly to the mayors of the second district, and no longer through the office of Syjuco. No voice clip or video footage of the gathering was released by local media outlets which means they only relied on press releases sent to them by the organizers of the event.
Be that as it may, even if Peter Jimenea and yours truly were aware of the Drilon led conference and their open door to local media, we would still shy away from it, if only to make even for the cavalier attitude the good senator has for the local press. He recognizes only the “national media” and looks down on the local.
Neither would Limuel Celebria nor publisher-editor Lemuel Fernandez gatecrash there. Their memory is still fresh 10 years or so ago when they made the rounds of Ilonggo legislators at the Batasan Complex to solicit advertisements for a local weekly.
Two senators, both Ilonggos at that, avoided them like lepers – Sen. Mar Roxas and Sen. Frank Drilon. “Ano man inyo, wala man gabasa papel nyo,” the latter retorted without even the courtesy of receiving the envelope containing the advertisement proposal. Roxas, on the other hand, did not say a word. He merely giggled, shook his head, wiggled his hand off the grasp of Rep. Rolex Suplico (5th district, Iloilo) who introduced the two reporters to him, and continued walking.
Peter would never attend any presscon with Drilon. Fresh in his memory still was the incident at Marina’s resto where the senator was to brief the press. Drilon was busy slurping “panic molo” without doing the local nicety of inviting reporters passing by to share the meal with him.
Alex Vidal, then editing a local daily, and yours truly: share a common motto on Drilon: Never again attend his presscon!
Remember one fine incident at the old domestic airport in Mandurriao. It was late noon, our stomachs were rumbling. Drilon came late for the press briefing. He ordered one bowl of pancit molo and took our queries while eating. Then he left leaving us to scrounge for our meal.
“Kun kabalo lang kami nga pagutman man lang, wala na tani kami nagkari, (had we known we would only be left hungry, we would not have come here)” was our common grief.