Shortform

"Because I’m Saying So."

via Rappler

via Rappler

 

The CEO of Rappler, a news website critical of the government in the Philippines, has been arrested at its headquarters in Manila.

Maria Ressa said the accusation of "cyber-libel" is an attempt by Rodrigo Duterte's government to silence the publication.

It is the latest in a string of different allegations against her.

The president, who calls the site "fake news", has previously denied charges against her are politically motivated.

Rappler journalists live-streamed the arrest on Facebook and Twitter.

 

This is the top story on the site at my time of writing this. This is a big deal.

A lot of chatter’s going to circulate the next few days regarding this, so I’ll just focus on this one part that caught my attention. Linked in the article is a Twitter thread by Rappler employee Aika Rey documenting the whole thing as it was happening, which includes a brief exchange with what seems to be one of the officers that came to arrest Ressa.

A rough transcript of parts of the exchange:

 

Officer: Come on, be cooperative. Your boss is already talking with us, no need for that… I'm sure you do understand what I'm telling you, right?

Rey: I’m not the only one doing it.

O: Yeah, but I’m talking to you right now. I’ll attend to them later, one by one.

R: Um… can you explain to me first?

O: Because I’m saying so.

R: And what will happen?

O: It’s up to you. It’s a simple request.

R: Can you maybe explain to me first—

O: No. No explanation for now.

R: Why not?

 

It’s like a parent trying to reason with their 4-year-old child.

Frankly, I can’t blame the officer for not knowing what to say. This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment affair – this was likely a planned operation. Someone had to have briefed this officer on what to do and what to say, and before that someone probably had to brief that guy, too. However long the chain of command involved here, no one thought to prepare something smart to say in the event of this being documented. At the headquarters of a prominent news publication.

You don’t need me to tell you this. The Philippines is a kakistocracy, and we need to take it back.