Tuesday, September 22, 2009

After the storm comes… Justification

by Marciano A. Paroy Jr.

Some friends and readers were rather surprised by my feature on Capt. Dante Langkit last week. (Example: Sir Peter Balocnit of PIA said “Maysa page ti inted mo kin Capt. Dante ah…”) No need repeating their exact questions they voiced out, but they all border on my throwing support to a political aspirant. That was not the intent of the article, though. It simply presented the current situation that Capt. Langkit is subjected to – while drawing background material from foregoing circumstances.

The plight he is presently going through is a genuine source of concern – especially so that he is a constituent of this province. I’m even surprised to know that, when I asked around, many people are somewhat left in the dark as to Capt. Langkit’s case. I myself had to fill-in the vague areas in my knowledge about the case when, following his brief visit to Kalinga last May, he called for local media practitioners and bared the possible direction that he might take regarding next year’s election.

Take note of the speculative “possible direction” which means nothing is really final yet, even considering that he has clearly pronounced his intention of serving the people of this province. We all just have to lie in wait for that definitive “final decision.”

But before then, his story is one subject that is worth exploring – and I believe the feature on him last issue was presented bare of slants that tipped towards his side. We can write lengthily about a certain person or issue and yet still manage to distance ourselves from the possibility of being tagged. As a writer, I fiercely stand by that ability earned and continuously honed by us in the writing profession. Conversely, we can take a certain person and draw spotlight to him and make him appear as though he were, say, a Godsend. That is being done. Always. Which is why we have speech writers, PR people, media personnel (from both private and government-owned media outfits) discreetly working for political leaders – and I have nothing against that practice, so long as a line is clearly drawn between what is journalistically acceptable and what can be blatantly labeled as being under the clutch of the person cast under the spotlight.

Now, the issue story of Capt. Dante Langkit is one genuine topic that needs to be brought to the consciousness of our reading public – especially so that he is setting his eyes on 2010. That desire alone should merit his being given a certain media mileage to lighten up the gray areas: who is he? What has he done? What is he doing? What does he have in mind?... and many other questions.

The human angle of the story is that Capt. Dante Langkit is languishing in detention. He is a prisoner, as plain as that. It is that situation that immediately evokes sympathetic emotions – whether or not we totally identify with the principles that he and his group live by. Considering the impressive career that he has somehow built for his personal portfolio, we see a young potential whose leadership aspirations were nipped in the bud. Not allowed to shine, not given the opportunity to prove his mettle. So we can only stand by the sidelines and say “Sayang.”

And yet again, we are not here to judge the correctness or incongruity of his actions. We all do not have the ethical vein to accomplish that. What motivations drove him to take the direction he took, what intent backed his decisions, what inspiration fired him up – these are matters we can only gaze at, but cannot lay a hand on.

The moment he called and asked whether I had time for a conversation, it has never slipped my mind that the person I was talking to is someone who is confined within the walls of his detention unit. Restricted. Not free. I then decided to write last week’s feature about him – but even that piece took a long time to be completed, since one has to be detached as much as possible. I believe I did just that.

Whatever final decision the young army officer would take this November, I wish him all the best. And he may rest assured that, should he push through with his vision, this paper will also devote space for him – side by side with other political contenders. They’re all newsworthy. An enlightened voting populace is a wise populace. And the more options we have, the more we’ll be able to exercise the right to choose – and the busier we shall all be at the news industry.

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