Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Adventures Of Batang Mandaya Comes To An End

How safe is the Davao media, or the Philippine media for that matter, from vengeful people who believe that the GUN is mightier than the pen?

The ambush of a good friend of mine, Ferdie "Batman" Lintuan last Monday right after his radio program at DXGO was an eye opener in the same manner that the killing of Gene Boyd Lumawag a few years ago was also an eye opener. But how many eye openers should the 4th estate get before we finally say TAMA NA!!!?

I got to know Batman when I was still a neophyte writer, aspiring to be called a journalist. He was already some kind of a legend then, having been able to escape his would-be killers who strafed the radio station where he worked before. He still had the bullets to show for that second lease on life and he was boasting about it when we were preparing to march to protest the death of Gene Boyd.

If you do not know Batman then you would not like him at first because he was so makulit and he would test your patience and wit. He used to tease me because I was sexy (that's when I was starting out he!he) and a few years later because I was siksik. I worked with him before when I was still with ABC 2 where he was union president (he also led the filing of charges against the management) and then again when I was senior reporter for Sunstar Davao. We have remained good friends and we would usually see each other at SM's coffee shop.

I remembered when I saw him right after his wife's death. I asked him how life was now that his beloved was gone and he said "Sus intawon INATAY gyud ko (that means ina and tatay) to his 4 kids, the eldest is 22 and the youngest is 11 years old.) We saw each other often after that and would talk a little about life and career.

Imagine how shocked I was when I learned he was ambushed morning of December 24. They finally got to him. The Adventures of Batman has come to an end.

We in the media are not paid much and we do not even have insurance. And except for a few who manage to become rich in their own way, most of us still live payday to payday. While not all of us in the media are honest and faithful about our craft, there are media people who are still the real thing and who have not been corrupted by the system. Maybe this is why I am proud not only of my chosen profession but my chosen vocation in life.

And as his family and friends grieve over his death, I hope the gunman will realize that he has killed not only a man but also a father of four. And I hope he mulls over that before he sleeps every night---if he still can.

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