One good thing about this business we have chosen is that company lines blur a little when something big like an impeachment trial comes up.
This is my third year covering the Senate and I have probably spoken to more reporters in the past two weeks than I have in those three years. This is really more a function of my crippling shyness more than anything else, but this is so. With stakes this high and the country’s attention (we would like to think) on the stories we’re coming out with, it’s good to have someone to ask whether you heard what you thought you heard, or if this means what you think it does.
Sure, there are scoops and exclusives, but when all the networks and everybody else is there, an exclusive is only so until the next guy does a follow up within the next five to ten minutes. For outfits with tiny teams, it’s often better to work with a group.
And so, I found myself running up and down the the six floors of the Senate this week with a reporter from BusinessWorld and another from Rappler. The defense panel had just announced they had filed a motion to have Senator Franklin Drilon inhibit himself from the proceedings for supposedly acting like a prosecutor and not a judge. Supposedly, the Inquirer and the Star already had copies of the motion, but not being from the Inquirer or Star, we did not.
One lady from another broadsheet had a copy, but told us we couldn’t take a peek because we weren’t friends, and she didn’t even know us. This was true, and there was nothing for it but to try to get our own copies. I tried, invoking smoker’s circle privilege, to get a copy from her but since that didn’t work, I sprinted, lungs filled with smoke, back to the press office to check the copy machines, which as it turned out were not copying anything. Which meant a dash to the elevators with BusinessWorld’s Sieg Alegado to the 5th floor when we meant the 4th, an impulsive “Hi, sir!” at Senator Teofisto Guingona III, followed by a mental facepalm at not coming up with anything better to say or ask.
To the 4th floor where the Public Relations and Information Bureau, which supposedly had a copy but did not, was and then up the stairs to the Senate Secretary’s office on the 6th floor, running into Rappler’s Natashya Gutierrez and mock accusing her of having a copy (she did not and she was a sport about it), to be told the document was with PRIB all along. Which it was, except it hadn’t been stamped yet, so according to the government, that meant they didn’t have it. But because we knew they had it, they stamped it and we proceeded to the copy machines at the 2nd floor press office, which is where we first checked for them.
And then reading, excuse the language, reading the shit out of that motherfucker, trying to make sense of it in the context of the past two weeks of trials, making sure to include input from the other side, and from Drilon himself. And loving every moment of it.
Hangout Hangout Lang With History
*in the words of one senator: Porke’t kumuha ka ng dokumento, akala mo hero ka? How impertinent.