Monthly Archives: January 2011

Edge of Darkness: A Look Back At 2010

Fellow MAGDALO staff and all Emilians,

Another year has come and gone with more game-changing elements introduced into the battle for our school’s press freedom that is steadily going into the dogs. And the EAC administration keeps on gloating right in our faces.

This year began with the release of an issue that is adviser Armando Paras’ impromptu attempt to moon at the staff members he deliberately maneuvered to purge. The issue, erroneously labelled as Vol 1-1, was a bare-faced attempt to denounce previous batches as people he claims in his twisted mind are corrupted with “false idealism” from the outside.  As it turned out, the feedback from the students was well in the negative, with some giving it the well-deserved tag of a “Coloring book.” We also made the effort to reach out to some staffers of this batch.

As the 25th anniversary loomed, we made the effort to capture covers of previous issues in an effort to document our paper’s evolution over the years. It was a worthwhile effort, even if our school was too busy corrupting the paper to even care. We, on the other hand, used the issues to find former members, with some scattered across the planet.

Paras amplified his arrogance when he added a former staff member and posted a message in her Facebook wall in March. Despite later claims that he meant differently with the post, the message was obviously another proof of his braggadocio. The response he got a few weeks later was overwhelmingly against him, and he tried to rub it in the staff’s faces that the purge he and his cohorts did was legitimate, when it violated the Emilian’s freedom to join any organisation of his or her choice.Despite removing all of his posts, there was no denying that he had committed a grave error he will never own up to.

As June approached, there was the question of possibly trying to have his lies exposed once and for all…due to unexpected circumstances, nothing happened. The EAC administration decided to further consolidate their grip on the publication by eliminating people who have been ascertained as a major threat to them – including blacklisting a former staffer from the campus and spreading stories about a supposed confrontation between the staff member with EAC President Dr Jose Paulo Campos and OSA Dean Estefanio Boquiron that never actually took place. All the while, the staff created a special election issue and one of their members, along with Paras, participated in a trek retracing President Emilio Aguinaldo’s escape from American forces during the Filipino-American War.

The 25th anniversary in early June came and went, but as usual, there was nothing to mark it, but on the other hand, our sister publication, DLSU-D’s Heraldo Filipino, had lots of things planned.

The selection of the 2010-2011 batch again had former staff members banned from applying, despite the return of examinations that have been a hallmark of MAGDALO selection over the years. The process itself was questioned because positions were decided based on public speaking skills instead of actual journalistic skill, which spawned a dispute. It also became known that Paras spent the few weeks prior the exams trying to recruit students, including two from the 2009-2010 Central Student Council and – for no clear reason – a former managing editor who returned to school after spending the better part of a year at work.

A few weeks later, word came down that the staff members who are from the College of PT/OT joined forces about creating a college paper of their own, which eventually resulted in THE REHABILITAIRE. Such a thing smacks of conflict of interest, because if the same top MAGDALO staffers populate the senior ranks of another college publication, it leaves little opportunity for non-MAGDALO Emlians to make a difference.

In September, the same staffer who was unceremoniously blacklisted by the school made the effort to finally visit the Heraldo Filipino offices in Dasmarinas, Cavite and link up with them as they celebrated their anniversary, which is also ours as well. We also got the chance to reach out to some of the MAGDALO’s pioneers.

The staff later participated in the 2010 INKBLOTS Journalism Seminar, where ten people attended three days of instruction under the aegis of the UST Varsitarian. Given the origins of the current batch, it is a strong possibility that the lessons learned will only be used for more propaganda.

The second sem brought more revisions to the staff, with promotions galore based on perceived strengths and weaknesses, but still no opportunities for former staff due to misguided prejudices.

A few weeks ago, the staff who went to the Rizal Youth Leadership Institute’s annual gathering in Baguio City created a new special group. Called the Kabataang Pangarap ni Aguinaldo, the group’s supposed intention is to inspire bravery in the Emilian befitting the late President Aguinaldo himself. However, this may be at best deceiving, as the group is managed by the same people being given every opportunity to advance in the publication at the expense of others sacrificed in the altar of political convenience. Can this be a vehicle of youth empowerment in the College, or will it be another platform to raise sycophant student leaders trained to parrot “official policy” or extol non-existent virtues?


The events that happened to the publication in 2010 have turned out to be the opposite that happened in another editorial board…

When the Pampanga Midget won in 2004, our publication was itself emerging from another period of darkness and we strove to rebuild the Emilian’s faith in the voice we wanted to give back to them. While her administration was rocked by scandal after scandal, we in the paper struck hard at the powers that be who committed wrongs, some of whom are still alive in the College today. We ensured that change was happening, and that every Emilian worth their salt had an opportunity to make themselves heard even if they were not on the staff. We sought help from the outside and built good faith as a publication that was not afraid to tell the truth. We were in need of inspiration from other student publications whose exploits and quality of issues were worth taking a cue from, given our huge resources. Most important of all, we had advisers who knew their roles as prescribed by law and counselled us as we did our jobs as student journalists, not lord over everything from content to developing friendships with publication alumni from years gone by.

But now, as we see the only son of a legendary president take charge, the reversals are now clear. The publication is now being mentored by a misguided man who’s nothing more than a cheat even to his colleagues, the writing quality borders on praise release and editorialized news, the staff are now more selected on their “reliability” and have become every bit arrogant, even to former personnel and alumnae.

As a new decade dawns upon us, we pray that the staff will be finally enlightened to seek the truth deliberately being hidden from them, and find the evil that lies within the College. We are not the enemy; the real threat to our publication’s freedom and integrity is already out and about in the halls of EAC, and they are either too blind to see it or they have made their false peace with it.