EDITORIAL - Injustice to Vidal

() - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

A Manila-based journalist named Marites Vitug has come out with a book called "Shadow of Doubt" in which she reveals the purported inner workings of the Supreme Court and the dynamics in the appointment of justices.

It is not clear just how extensive her research was in writing a book on such a delicate subject, but judging by the 13 counts of libel Vitug now faces as a result of its publication, it would be fair to say she probably did not cover her bases all that well.

Of more interest to Cebuanos, however, is a chapter in the book in which Cebu's own archbishop, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, is being depicted as a power broker who has been instrumental in the selection of some justices.

Not only that, to build the character of Vidal in her book, Vitug wrote that the cardinal liked to revolve in influential circles, describing the prelate as someone who would ask for P500,000 donations from businessmen.

Freedom of expression may vest in Vitug the right to have her book published. But it is appalling that, as suggested by her own admission, she did not endeavor to get the side of Vidal after "she got turned down" for an interview.

When she said she "got turned down," the presumption is she got turned down only once since she did not use the term "repeatedly." Neither did she mention the reason for the rejection of her request for an interview, which could have been valid and justified.

For a veteran journalist, it is incredible that Vitug would stop at the first rejection, especially given the kind of information she supposedly had on the cardinal. A more responsible and truly professional journalist would have labored mightily to get the cardinal's side.

Why, she did not even seek out known close associates of Vidal, relying on sources who were probably polluted. Thus, by that single omission, her body of work might be fairly branded as shoddy and haphazard, a compendium of probable innuendo rather than a tome of facts.

BOOK CARDINAL CEBU CEBUANOS MARITES VITUG RICARDO CARDINAL VIDAL SHADOW OF DOUBT SUPREME COURT VIDAL VITUG
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