Malu Fernandez, that embattled journalist of Manila Standard and People Asia, yesterday resigned from her post apparently because of the global shame she incurred through her article “From Boracay to Greece” (published in June 2007 People Asia). That account of her flight experience with OFWs, which she described as done in “tongue-in-cheek humor” and “acerbic wit” drew the outrage from the blogosphere. Expectedly, the OFW community also took the cudgels and joined the campaign to shame the penwoman as well as pressure Manila Standard to fire her.
I tried to visit Manila Standard Today today to take a look at Fernandez’s resignation piece but, geez, that “unable to serve request” page appeared. As the explanation sought to mean, perhaps people around the world were curious to read the article. Or some hackers put the site down.
This month last year, former Supreme Court justice Isagani Cruz was severely scoffed at for his disparaging remarks about gays. Fernandez must have learned from that controversy. As a matter of reiteration, the Fernandez brouhaha teaches a big lesson to those tending to use their power of the pen without restraint or discretion: Don’t write or be caught saying something that antagonizes a person or group of persons that also have might of the pen, so to speak, and have a wide network of supporters from around the globe. Or be bashed literally into pieces.
As champions for a better world, bloggers do not only make or unmake policies; they also have the power to make or unmake persons. And for those institutions or persons unmade by public outrage, theirs is a chance to change for the better and turn over a new leaf. Failing that, they’ll go down in history as personae non grata.