Wherever you may roam

When President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced this week that three names had been shortlisted to choose the next Press Secretary, he quickly added that he prefers someone with a background in media to take over the post vacated by the resigned Trixie Angeles.

At least in the interim, Mr. Marcos’ wish for government’s messaging to come across loud and clear, without being mucked up, would be the primary responsibility of ex-journalist Cheloy Garafil as officer-in-charge at the Office of the Press Secretary.

But did Garafil resign her chairmanship of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board just to warm the OPS seat for somebody else? That’s rather impractical, although she can always get appointed to another post in the event a permanent Press Secretary other than her is appointed.

As OPS undersecretary and OIC, Garafil, unlike those appointed as secretaries, would not be saddled with the pressures of needing to get confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. This means she can buckle down to work pronto at OPS as a lawyer and former member of the media.

Before news of Garafil’s appointment was confirmed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Marcos told reporters they need somebody experienced in messaging, “probably a journalist or a media practitioner.”

“Someone who knows messaging so what we want to come out will really come across. That’s what’s important — that we get the information, the messaging across,” the President said.

It took Marcos less than a hundred days, surrounded by so-called vloggers and social media influencers, to realize that critical government communications are best left to those who have trained to relentlessly crosscheck information, and get the nuances of events right in this age of fake news.

If this President is to succeed, he should continue being a fast learner, especially in getting the right people to prop his government. He must realize that while Presidents must be on top of things, that doesn’t mean they need to micromanage everything.


If you’re reading this on good old print and you’re wondering about that black space across, that’s for Joseph “Galaero” Cortes, the man who, for me, wrote the best-ever review of a classical performance by the late Luciano Pavarotti when the portly tenor visited the Philippines.

It was a review by Joseph that did not see print, he intimated to me two decades later without explaining the why, probably giving me the benefit of the doubt that I knew enough about the vagaries of publishing to not need an explanation.

I remember enough, though, that it was a brutally honest review by JC that the Italian was not at his very best when Filipinos paid princely sums to see and hear him sing in flesh and blood. Pavarotti would later be self-deprecating about that performance.

That’s Joseph then — when we were tagged the “wonder boys” of that other paper —he as a food and music writer and I as a sportswriter. That’s him, unchanging to the very end, possessing an acerbic witticism dripping with irony from having lived his short life to the fullest, the way he wanted it lived.

As the Daily Tribune family says our goodbyes to JC who allowed me to write this column without me bothering to edit it, knowing my pieces were in good hands, I’d like to say that he’s gone too soon, but that he won’t have us singing Vesti La Guibba.

From someone whose journalistic journey started off parallel to his and whose career later on intersected with his here at Tribune, Godspeed JC: Wherever you may roam is home.

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