“HELL is empty, all the devils are here.”

I feel this statement by William Shakespeare ‘s lurking more in my head than before—days after the infamous murder of former senator Ramon Revilla Sr.’s love child Ramgen Revilla. Another story of crime barged into our screens as Talk and Text bigman Ali Peek got shot on the neck after their training at the RFM gym, which (thank God!) did not gave him severe wounds but, as of press time the bullet is still lodged in his nape.

Right now, no one knows what is the gun man’s motive for shooting. The growing number of crime news each week makes me anxious of the “demons” playing our existence.

***

Recently, we covered the UAAP swimming competition in Los Banos, Laguna. I didn’t hesitate to grab hold of the experience since not all campus journalists are privileged to have an out-of-town coverage. In return, we had to cover the whole event religiously in Trace Aquatic Center—getting stat sheets, interviews, and take photographs. Everything seemed to go by our side since our first day went by smoothly as UAAP officials were also courteous enough to help us gather the statistics we needed. But on the second day, wearing our Thomasian shirts and our press IDs, we were restrained to cover the event.

The bald security guard went berserk looking at our IDs saying, “Bawal media dito. Close event daw ‘to.” Getting perplexed and cranky, we found ourselves arguing endlessly in a seemingly pointless discussion. “Eh sir, kahapon pa kami nagko-cover nito, tapos ngayon bawal na. Bakit po?” “Naka-press ID kasi kayo, kaya bawal. Sabi ng management.” Since we couldn’t go home empty-handed, we negotiated until the security guards called up someone and told us, “Sige puwede raw, ‘wag lang kukuha ng mga retrato.” Eager to finish things, we agreed to their conditions.

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Minutes after texts messages were bombarding my cell phone telling that other media people were also not allowed to enter the events venue, including the ABS-CBN Sports which was UAAP’s major media partner. Other press people were forced to disguise as parents and some presented themselves as spectators just to cover the event. Apparently, the root of this entire dilemma was the involvement of Trace’s founder Efraim Genuino’s Pagcor scandal that Pres. Benigno Aquino mentioned in his SONA last June.

There was also the recent complaint filed by former senator Nikki Coseteng, with 10 athletes and coaches of the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA). The group accused Genuino and other official who authorized the release of P 36 million that was supposed to be PASA’s athletes but, instead, was allotted for Trace’s maintenance.

Genuino and the management of Trace acted unprofessionally in barring the media covering the UAAP event. Considering that the UAAP was paying Trace for the use of its facilities, its treatment of the UAAP press was abusive.

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