Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reaction on the Philippine Daily Inquirer's Picture of Defense Witness Demetrio Vicente

The Philippine Daily Inquirer ran this picture of Corona Impeachment
defense witness Demetrio Vicente on its frontpage. It is claimed that
Demetrio's twisted and gnarled facial expressions are the result of having suffered
a stroke. An inordinate number of people who saw it registered their disgust
over the apparent breach in journalist ethics and scored the
newspaper for violating its own code of standards and practices.
This article is my take on the online brouhaha.

People who have family members or friends who have been suffered a major stroke may have felt disgust upon seeing this picture of Corona Impeachment defense witness Demetrio Vicente on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

It is claimed that his twisted and gnarled facial expression in these series of photographs is the result of some nerve impairment caused by a massive stroke or strokes.

The pictures are unflattering, to say the least.  And the caption below it hints that whoever wrote it must have been making fun of the old man's picture.
CHARACTER WITNESS. The many faces of Demetrio Vicente on the witness stand. He's no ordinary windess after all. He's the cousin of the Chief Justice whose wife sold him several parcels of land in 1990...
Whoever wrote the caption should be aware that most people can figure out the manner in which the word "character" was used tends to come off as a disparaging innuendo -- perhaps that of being a character actor.  The fact is, Vicente was not testifying on the character of the accused but was giving testimony on the parcel of land he claims he had bought from the Coronas. 

Whether the Inquirer's treatment of Vicente's picture on the frontpage of Inquirer reveals bias or an attempt to brazen attempt to discredit Vicente for the benefit of the Aquino Administration is another matter.

I have used the same picture, but instead of referring to Vicente as a "character witness", I chose to highlight the how his twisted facial expression matches his contorted claim of buying several properties belonging to the Coronas.

Of course, some people didn't pick up on the irony and mistook it for "making fun of a disabled" person. One person says I should have just used on picture and another says I should have added a phrase referring to his disability.

The thing is, this is my blog and I chose to write the caption in the way I did, which is "Defense witness Demetrio Vicente has difficulty keeping both his tongue and story straight."

Anyway, I think that in criticizing the Inquirer for coming out with Vicente's unflattering pictures, the detractors of President Benigno Aquino III should also consider that they may be engaging in a bit of duplicity.

A quick and simple search for "noynoy aquino funny pictures" will turn up hundreds of edited pictures of President Aquino.

Below are some examples:

Some of these edited photographs found its way on the internet sometime in 2009 and 2010, some are more recent.  Some were obviously done as part of an negative online campaign and some seem to have been done just because the creator of the edited photo thought it was funny.

My point in bringing this up is simple, Vicente and Aquino are both human beings.  Both are entitled to dignity and respect, just like every other human being on this planet.

Granted that uglifying public figures (they used to make effigies, but now in the age of social media, people are making pretty nifty graphic art in the tradition of effigies) is somewhat of a tradition, it is still an act that attempts to diminish the dignity and respect due to the people targeted by the pictures.

The rule here, really, is that people shouldn't disparage other people on account of their physical appearance or portray them in a negative way by capturing them in an unflattering pose or editing their picture.

If the anti-noynoy people who are criticizing the Inquirer for coming out with Vicente's contorted face are really the decent, respectful, and tasteful people they claim to be, then it should be perfectly all right also with completely ceasing any manner of self-publishing disparaging remarks about the President, his lack of hair or IQ. 

I don't know if any of the anti-noynoy crowd will admit to any degree of duplicity, but it seems some fail to check their own penchant for heaping all manner of disparagement on the President -- whom, whether we like it or not, is a symbol of this country.

Moreover, I don't know if they really care that the constant disparagement online may also be hurting the feelings of those close to the President.

So, really, if the detractors of Noynoy insist on dishing this stuff out... They have to have the stomach to take whatever it is that is going to come back right at them.

Let's not be cry babies here, okay?

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