Sexism in Headline: Trivializing Serious Challenge to Sereno
RECENTLY, media reported on a memorandum written by an associate justice questioning certain actions of no less than the Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines. The development deserves serious media attention and calls for the application of investigative reporting to verify the basis of the inquiry.
As it is, CMFR can only jeer the Philippine Daily Inquirer for trivializing the story with a headline “SC Catfight Looms” (July 20). De Castro questioned several things: Sereno’s alleged disregard of the collegial body in the appointment of the head of the Philippine Mediation Center of the Philippine Judicial Academy (Philja), the allowances of Sereno’s staff on foreign trips and the delay in filling up positions which have been vacant for more than four years.
Headlines in other newspapers were more appropriate: “Unrest in SC? CJ orders questioned” (The Philippine Star), “Sereno orders questioned by co-magistrate” (Manila Standard), “SC Justice Questions Orders of Sereno” (Malaya) and “SC cracks show; CJ acts queried” (Daily Tribune).
Unfortunately, just like the Inquirer, the accounts all relied on one source – the document as written by de Castro that she circulated on to all members of the High Court. The reports did not seek to get the side of Sereno or her office. Clearly, there is more to this than two women at odds with one another. The implied wrongdoing cannot be dismissed without follow-up. Or something big and ugly may be afoot; perhaps, to assault the integrity of the leader of an independent institution, a co-equal branch of government.
It is difficult to report on the Supreme Court. Hopefully, the media will sharpen its research and investigative skills, and make sure the public can understand what is going.
Inquirer was able to change the headline on the online version of the article but the URL remains the same. A Twitter user tagged CMFR regarding the Inquirer’s headline.