After investigating the facts surrounding the issue of Medical Technologists-to-RITM, I have arrived at the following conclusions:

  1. There was no malice in the report on Cong. Janette Garin’s presence on the flight.
  2. The headline “Hijacked?” should be read in the context of the posted news item. Hence, not libelous. In the spirit of fair play, DG immediately posted the reaction – via an official statement – from the congresswoman sent through Florence Hibionada.
  3. The report was not FAKE NEWS. There was an actual, living, and breathing source: Cheska Lim. As of this writing, however, Miss Lim has deactivated her Facebook account out of fear for her own safety. She also does not want to lose her job because of the controversy which ignited out of her FB post.
  4. It was not the intention of DG to malign Cong. Garin as the story was simply facts-based, although there were errors on certain points to wit:
    • The plane that was used is 11-seater as opposed to the 6 stated in the report.
    • There were no “staff” of Cong. Garin on the flight.

5. It is my conclusion that both Cong. Janette Garin and Cong. Julienne Baronda have all the best intentions in fighting COVID-19 through the establishment of testing centers for Western Visayas. Somehow, miscommunications among the Department of Health, private sector groups, and some government officials resulted in the confusion as to the actual number of medical technicians to be flown out of Iloilo on March 22, and the aircraft to be used. For instance, the iAMUPHi people who organized the trip and the medtechs thought all the while that they will ride construction mogul Alfonso Tan’s plane. They were surprised to learn on the day of their departure that they were flying with Cong. Garin on a plane she claimed is owned by the “private sector” or “relative.”

Journalism’s mandate is to inform the public of socially relevant issues. This responsibility to report on the activities of officials elected by the public does not cease even during a pandemic such as COVID-19. It is even more imperative that the public be informed of their activities during this crisis. If in following this mandate, we are threatened with charges of libel, we have no other option but face them and protect Freedom of the Press. We will then continue to do our jobs in telling the Ilonggo story.

On these principles, we established Daily Guardian.

On these principles, Daily Guardian will continue to serve.

However, I will return to being a PUR, person under retirement.

The only way through this COVID-19 crisis is together.