January 30, 2011

And the War Goes On

For those not in the know, there's a war currently raging in La Trinidad. Jimmy Laking versus the municipal council. The council has Jim Botiwey leading the charge.

This is a war which started with the La Trinidad council firing the first gun shot. The council can claim otherwise but this war would have been non-existent had they not declared journalist Jimmy Laking a persona non grata.

Councilor Jim Botiwey wrote a resolution banning Jimmy Laking from entering the town's session hall citing a variety of reasons which included the following:
1) that Laking misreported issues related to the proposed Jarco Mall in La Trinidad
2) that Laking did not undertake efforts to get the correct claims, stand and decisions of the council
3) that Laking violated journalism rules that espouse fair,true, correct, and unbiased coverage of events and issues
4) that Laking violated media ethics and standards
5) that Laking on several occasions, misquoted members of the council and erroneously reported matters that are not in accordance with the intent and final decisions of the council

Now, just because these allegations are contained in a council resolution doesn't mean they are true. They could be substantiated allegations. But then they could also be nothing but false allegations. It also applies the other way around. Just because Laking is denying these allegations doesn't mean he didn't break any rules.

The very first thing you will do if you are thrown such allegations is to react and defend yourself. That's exactly what Mr. Laking is doing right now. He is a journalist after all. He has his reputation to protect. All those years spent in the news field will go to waste if he does not secure himself from the rocks being thrown at him by the La Trinidad council. Lucky for him, he has the press and media community behind him. This is of course expected as he is one of them. It is as well safe to assume that the La Trinidad townsfolk is on Laking's side. It is Laking's job to enter the session hall and report to the townsfolk what's happening in there. If you are the townsfolk, why would you let the guy be banned from the hall when he is your only source of information. Unless of course if the council's allegations have meat in them.

Laking is a La Trinidad boy. A lot of the La Trinidad councilors can't claim such a title. (I suggest you read his column on the Baguio Midland Courier dated January 23, 2011.) This doesn't have anything to do with the “persona non grata issue “ at hand but it was brought up by Laking to make a point. The La Trinidad session hall is a public place. Since Laking is a La Trinidad boy more than most of the councilors, it is ironic that he is the one being banned from it. In the simplest of terms, Laking is being driven out of his own house by his guests.

On the January 23, 2011 issue of the Baguio Midland Courier, Laking, as we stated earlier defended himself on his column. He also wrote the edition's editorial piece. (You can go to the Courier site to read the pieces, if they are there.) We've been hearing Laking's side of the story for some time now. Yet we haven't heard anything at all from the La Trinidad council's side. They are totally on mute mode regarding the issue. They made a resolution that totally restricted the rights of one of their subjects. The people deserve to know why, now that the subject is crying foul. As Laking pointed out, if the council can easily ban him from the session hall, what can prevent them from banning other journalists or their constituents from entering the hall?

The council it seems aren't fans of the Spiderman. Because to them, it's not “With great power comes great responsibility.” It's “With great responsibility comes great power.”

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