Friday, April 17, 2009

When the news anchor's name is on the news headline.

Last Wednesday morning, the Philippines was shocked with a tragedy involving the wife of a popular TV news anchorman. Trinidad Etong, wife of Ted Failon, a multi-awarded broadcast journalist and the anchorman of the country’s longest running TV newscast “TV Patrol World” was said to have shot herself at the head inside her daughter’s bathroom.

Police investigators are quick to dish out premature scenarios, like a possible foul play. There were insinuations that the newscaster himself is involved in the shooting. Ted Failon, along with his wife’s relatives and other members of the household are under investigation for a possible foul play. It appears that the investigators found inconsistencies in the statements of Failon and his housekeepers. Add to this the fact that the scene where the alleged suicide transpired was compromised after it was cleaned by the housekeepers.

This case has been muddled by so many conflicting reports and so many people are quick to jump into their own conclusions. Some people didn’t even honor the family’s right to mourn for their loss. Well, Ted Failon’s paraffin test resulted negative and their children, housekeepers and other friends and relatives of Trina believe that this was a suicide. They said that even before this event, Trina already confided that she has a problem and she doesn’t know how she will tell this to her husband. Failon will later on hint that this is about the family’s finances. People close to Trina even attest that Failon is not capable of hurting his wife. However, we really don’t know what happened, this blogger hopes that the truth will soon come out.

What irritates me is on how the police have been handling the investigation. They are quick to sow seeds of doubts in the people’s minds that there’s a foul play even without completing the investigation. Granting that there were circumstantial evidences proving that this was not a suicide, this doesn’t suffice to ruin a person’s name and family life too quickly.

The police have also arrested Failon’s in-laws and helpers using excessive force and it was even a “warrantless arrest”. They were arrested at the hospital without consideration to the family’s ordeal at that time. From what I saw in the television, it looks as if the policemen were arresting criminals who just committed heinous crimes when in fact, they were being charged for “obstruction of justice.” I doubt if proper police procedures were followed during the arrest. My heart goes with the kin of Trina especially to the sisters who were begging for the police to let them be on the side of their sister who is fighting for dear life. The heartless policemen continued with the arrest and the commotion possibly contributed to the subsequent death of Failon’s wife.

I won’t be too quick to make conclusions here. I, just like anybody else, can only base my observations from what I saw in TV or in other media. The way I see it, a strong motive should drive a person to kill and I can’t see any motive in this case for Failon to murder his wife. In fact, with all the circumstances, I tend to believe that Failon has nothing to do with it. If this was a planned crime, whoever planned it was full of stupidity. For one, the bathroom was cleaned; if Failon is guilty and this was a planned crime then the body should have been moved as far as possible to their house. He should have let somebody else discover the body. From what I heard, they reasoned out that they cleaned the bathroom to prevent Failon’s 12-year old daughter to see her mother in a pool of blood which to me is acceptable although it may not be sound reasoning. Events like this can dull a person’s rationale. In shock, people may see events in different lights at different perspectives.

The question is: who is benefiting with all the media mileage that this tragedy has created? I bet this news is a breath of fresh air for those people who were on the headlines recently. The kidnapping in Sulu, the charter change, government scandals and other issues took a backseat as media put the limelight on the Failon family’s tragedy.

I felt sorry for Ted Failon. I have a high regard for the man who has helped a lot owing to his public service programs in radio and TV. This is the same man who had a taste of politics and had the courage to admit that politics is not his calling. In 2001, he ran for a seat in Congress and defeated a political dynasty in Leyte. He did not ran for reelection, he simply went back to his first love, broadcasting.

I even think that he is getting this treatment because of his fearless commentaries in his radio programs. He, after all, has been criticizing the police authorities and other public officials for any abuse or wrong doing.

I can only hope that justice will prevail in this case and that due process will be exercise. Let us remember that a person is innocent until proven guilty…

My condolences to the Failon family.


Betchai said...

this is such a sad story. i would have not known about this if not for you as i do not have frequent access to Philippine news. My condolences to Failon family, and hope that this case will soon find justice. I always am saddened to hear this kind of news.

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meryl said...

sad news..i just knw about this news through blog posts...hope the truth will prevail...
my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.

Melissa said...

What a terrible story. Women, even today, are still so often the victims of violent crime. It is sad if she did take her own life, but it is even sadder if somehow her own husband somehow was responsible.

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Eddie Garcia said...

It is very sad to hear of a life being taken no matter the circumstances. My condolences to the Failon family and I pray they will find the murderer, if in fact it was murder. If not, then I pray God will have mercy on her soul. Thank you for this post.

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Femmepower said...

I hope the truth comes out the soonest to prevent more damage to the bereaved family's morale and for the soul of the departed to be at peace.

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Nhil said...

Everyone here in the Philippines is talking about it. Sadly there are a lot of people who are jumping in, with their selfish motive in mind. I just hope that a lot of Filipinos will be more "media intelligent" this time to discern whether these people are really sincere in helping or just out there to expose themselves in front of the cameras.

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