Setting the example

She called Reps. Umali and Banal “lawbreakers and thieves.”

    “I want to manifest that according to the timeline, Congressman Banal received a photocopy from an anonymous source on January 31. He has no clue where it came from. On February 2, Umali also received the same photocopied document and he has no clue where it came from.”

    “The law is very, very strict. When he is asking for information on a certain foreign currency account that does not belong to him, he is violating the law. When he entered the bank and asked for a certain foreign account, he was already violating the law.”

    “We don’t just accept a piece of paper…If you cannot explain how you got the document, then you must have stolen it.”

And yet when she was the editor of the Philippine Collegian Miriam Santiago wrote an editorial based on stolen university documents.

The biography of Miriam Santiago in Ramon Magsaysay Award website says:

    …as editor of the Philippine Collegian, she exposed UP involvement with the Dow Chemical Company in Vietnam-related chemical weapons research. Based on purloined university documents given to her secretly “in the dead of night,” her editorial, “Dow is Here,” revealed that the company had leased research facilities at the UP College of Agriculture at Los Baños. The editorial was reprinted verbatim in a popular Manila daily. Embarrassed, UP President Carlos Romulo tried to persuade DEFENSOR to reveal her midnight source. She refused.

Maybe she started it all?


Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.

  • GabbyD

    although, MB, i must apologize about your piece on corona and his appreciation of his role on the HL trial.

    a couple of days ago, he did say, unequivocally, he was crucial to the HL decision. amazing (-ly stupid), but true.

    so, yes, he does believe it, and i will not forgive the prosec for not raising this issue, when the defense cries “collegiality”.

  • GabbyD

    huh? again, the KEY POINT is that it is HYPOCRISY ONLY IF the acts are morally equivalent.

    my point since the start, is that not all stollen things are morally equivalent. journalism is the PRIME EXAMPLE where there are other (competing) interests involved.

    it seems that you view that stollen is stollen, REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCE. that is a curious, un-nuanced position, that the majority doesnt subscribe to. i’d love to learn your reasoning here. it MAY turn out you have good arguments. 

    but merely insisting they are the same isnt an argument. to build an argument, you have to say that the competing interests are irrelevant/inferior. i havent heard ANYTHING to that effect. 

    it would be fun to discus this if u had an actual argument. if you dont, , if you just want to INSIST THAT THEY ARE EQUIVALENT, then never mind.

    • Manuelbuencamino

      So journalism justifies possession of stolen goods?

  • GabbyD

    nalilihis tayo. forget some hypothetical stolen goods story. we are losing track of the original issue.

    A. do you believe that journalists breaking news with confidential sources as STEALING?

    OR (AND)

    B. do you believe that courts shouldn’t admit confidential/stolen sources as proper evidence?

    which is which? if u believe BOTH ARE MORALLY EQUIVALENT ACTS, then you answer yes or no to both A and B. 

    so, which is it?

    • Manuelbuencamino


      Ikaw ang lumihis. I was talking about Miriam talking about possession of stolen goods and concluding “If you cannot explain how you got the document, then you must have stolen it.”

      But we can also play with the new topic that you introduced.

      A. do you believe that journalists breaking news with confidential sources as STEALING?

      NO if the confidential source was merely a deep throat,. However if the confidential source handed over documents etc. that were stolen,then YES. The confidential source stole those docs and if the journalist took possession of them then he is now in the possession of stolen documents.

      B. do you believe that courts shouldn’t admit confidential/stolen sources as proper evidence?

      In a criminal court NO. Evidence illegally obtained has no place in a criminal court. In an impeachment court YES. And for obvious reasons.

      • GabbyD

        ah fascinating! finally, we can talk about journalistic ethics, which i find so interesting…

        so, in your opinion, the US SC was wrong in saying that freedom of the press triumphed over the govt’s case in the publication of the pentagon papers? interesting… why? because its stolen? 

        in practice, what is the difference between words that are written VS words that are spoken (by a person who is an informant)?

        shouldnt the issue NOT be what FORM the words take, but the SUBSTANCE/IMPORTANCE of the words themselves?

        • Manuelbuencamino


          Lumihis ka na naman. I was not talking about freedom of the press. i was talking about the hypocrisy of someone who was herself in possession of stolen docs condemning others who were also in possession of stolen docs.

          Now if substance is what you are talking about then both Miriam and those two congressmen should be commended for bringing the truth out. 

          And so Miriam should have commended the two congressmen instead of condemning them because like them she broke the law in the pursuit of exposing the truth which is, as you say, the real (and presumably higher) issue here. That’s why I said she is a hypocrite.

      • J_ag

         Not so fast. If someone working for a corporation finds out that the corporation is doing something illegal and gets the proprietary information and brings it to the regulators/authorities that is not stealing. It has been used many times in criminal cases.

  • Anonymous

    There would probably be more damning evidence against Corona to be found in his office at Sup[reme Korte and also in his house.   Tupas should send thieves into those places and get the documents.  After all,  this  ( if PresiNoynoy is to be believed )  would be A-OKAY  since how evidence is obtained is not important when it comes to impeachment actions.  

    YEY!!! Daang-matuwid!!!

    But Tupas is afraid of “Brenda”…. what a wuuussss.

    • Anonymous

       oOf course,  the possibility exists that Yellow-Inquisitive-Minds had already penetrated Corona’s office and his house  but    ” Sir!! Sorry, sir…. Wala pong ebidensiya!!”

  • “We don’t just accept a piece of paper…If you cannot explain how you got the document, then you must have stolen it.”—Senator Mirriam

    What nonsense from the smart senator and illogical too. Umali and Banal already explained how they got the document.

    It’s like saying that, ‘I don’t believed your explanation, then you must have stolen it.’, ‘di ba?

  • J_ag

    An anonymous source sent the prosecutors a document containing allegedly details of bank accounts of the CJ. The prosecutors present the document to the court and the court itself verified with the bank /banks concerned whether such accounts existed with the bank/banks. The banks confirmed all the account numbers mentioned on the document as belonging to the CJ. 

    Now the information on the dollar accounts could not be delved into since there is an absolute law for secrecy on dollar accounts. 

    Do you think the impeachment court which is a politically mandated court would disregard the facts established about the bank accounts because it may have come from a whistle blower in the bank? 

    it would be political suicide for the members of the court to decide to remove the bank accounts as evidence in court. 

    In a criminal case where someone could be sent to jail it is another matter. 

    If CJ cannot explain how he came to have all those monies in those accounts which may be over an above his legal income than he should be removed from office. His civil and criminal liabilities can later be determined. 

  • Anonymous

     What is dumvb-ass about Banal/etcetera  is their unwillingness to swear that the document they were providing ( to the nearest centavo,  mis-spelling, wrong-account number and drop-of-coffee (if any) )  were authentic.   

    “Tama po ang ibang numero diyan!!!”…   pero problema na ninyong hanapin kung ano ang “Daang-matuwid”-na-tama , kung ano ang tunay na tunay na tama, at kung ano ang  boladas.

  • GabbyD

    i hope you arent comparing college journalism with a court’s rules of evidence.

    please tell me that you know there is a difference.

    • Manuelbuencamino


      I am pointing out the hypocrisy of a lawbreaker and thief calling out lawbreaking and theft. “We don’t just accept a piece of paper…If you cannot explain how you got the document, then you must have stolen it.”

      I am also pointing out that there is nothing wrong with protecting whistleblowers.  “UP President Carlos Romulo tried to persuade DEFENSOR to reveal her midnight source. She refused.”

      • GabbyD

        mb, its not hypocrisy when the act is judged differently depending on the situation/context.

        do you believe that a journalist’s actions (as a journalist) can be judged the same way as a lawyer’s in a criminal court?

        please tell me your answer is no. 

        hell, a lawyer’s actions in a CIVIL case is not comparable to that in a criminal case. you know this. you have to know that. 

        even in real life, we know this. our actions as kids for example, cannot be judged alongside our actions as adults. 

        hypocrisy exists when our actions are different in comparable moral/ethical contexts. EX:  jesus said that the pharisees were hypocrites when they taught one this to people, while not following the teachings themselves. note that the assumption here is that pharasees are no different from other people w regards their moral obligations. 

        • Manuelbuencamino


          Possession of stolen goods is possession of stolen goods no matter what the context. Start from there.

          • GabbyD

            really? so all confidential sources (which were “stolen”) in journalism. thats equivalent to theft? nytimes printing the confidential memos… theft? 

            very interesting… 

          • Manuelbuencamino


            Okay then show me an example where possession of stolen goods is not possession of stolen goods.

          • Winky

            Sigh, Gabby you just don’t get it. It’s like this you see, the Cojuangcos stole Hacienda Luisita from the Filipino people, but you know, they didn’t really steal it.