The making of a ‘juicy’ President

I shall refrain from writing reports which will adversely affect a private reputation unless the public interest justifies it.

Journalist’s Code of Ethics, No. 4

The Manila Standard TODAY’s frontpage article “President had a hot date, but it was not Shalani” (10/11/10) by Joyce Pangco Pañares seemed inappropriate for a newspaper projecting itself to be into serious journalism.

Since the story is about the Chief Executive himself, it does seem worthy of a frontpage treatment (there’s Prominence for you, mah friend). But not this story and in this frivolous style.

Below are some excerpts from the article:

Socialite and chef Tina Pamintuan…said in her Twitter account that she saw Mr. Aquino and his date, whom she described as “sweet,” having dinner at Nuvo Restaurant…

She said…that Mr. Aquino and his date were at the table next to hers. Mr. Aquino ordered a bottle of Hardy’s red wine while his date had lychee martinis. Their wine and cocktails aside, the couple also had appetizers.

“Do I make you laugh?” Pamintuan quoted Mr. Aquino as telling his date.

Dolly Anne, is that you?

The story does not entirely deserve the space (and thought) allotted to it.

One, it degrades the institution that is the Presidency, pulling it down to the level of show business.

Two, the dude needs some privacy (“Can I keep my private life, the 5 percent left of it, to myself?”). Sure, he is not a private individual anymore; as President, he should be the most public person! But is our sovereign nation interested in the vicissitudes of his love life as if the stock market depended on it?

Three, the article features a claim that a young TV5 reporter may or may not be the President’s “hot date” last Saturday.

It wasn’t clear whether the woman with the President was Patricia Ann Roque, the TV5 reporter and former child star who is said to be Mr. Aquino’s new love interest.

“who is said…” — Said by whom? By the reporter herself?

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