Friday, November 19, 2004


Dear Mouse,

Now that the article is out, I feel I can publish already in my blog what she sent me days ago.

For her and my detractors, read how she humbly asked for apology.

For myself, I cannot ask for an apology because I know I did not err in standing by her side and believing in her.

Read and be enlightened:

The foolish and the weak

CRAZED By Patricia Chanco Evangelista

The Philippine STAR 11/19/2004

Three weeks ago I wrote a story about a young girl named Faye. I read about her account in an advertisement by Bread of Life Ministries, and like so many others, I was shaken by what I read.

The story painted the picture of a young girl who, alone and unaided, persevered in the face of incredible odds to bring honor to the Philippines.

Thanks to so many who believed in her cause, her story has been flashed from channel to channel, her name featured in newspaper columns and news articles all over the country, and her experience discussed in chat rooms and e-mail exchanges all over the world.

I was once in her shoes, but I was luckier than she was. I wanted to give her the chance I was given. It was against all I believed fair and just for such a situation to remain as it was. I called Bread of Life Ministries immediately upon reading the article – I may be guilty of many things, but that of "malicious journalistic adventuring" is where I draw the line. Bread of Life assured me of the truth of the story, the existence of a web site and the promise of an interview with Faye scheduled for the following week. I blame no one but myself for relying on the word and documentations provided by Faye and Mrs. San Juan. It was my failure that led to the misleading of many. I used to say that my generation had a special mission of our own. We are accused of being a generation without an identity, and maybe there is some truth in that.

It has been said that every generation is defined by a cause. But unlike the last generation who rallied on EDSA, this generation does not have a definite wrong to correct, or a distinct institution to oppose. But we grew up with the Ninja Turtles, Spiderman and the Power Rangers – we want to be heroes too. So we fight our own battles, we slay our own demons. We find our own causes. I found my cause in Faye. I live in time and place when Filipino pride and the Filipino identity are questioned. It sounds like typical teenage idealism, but I’m a teenager. I believed I could make a difference. My cause was to inspire, to bring to the forefront unsung heroes who give the Philippines cause to be proud.

This one girl was a symbol of Filipino excellence triumphing in the midst of adversity – the same story many of our athletes, singers and writers have experienced. I grew up faster over the past few days than I ever did in a year. Maybe we all come to a point where those rose-colored glasses are ripped away. I did make a difference – only it was a difference based on a lie. The story of Faye Nicole B. San Juan is a lie. The shock of that revelation is made worse with the knowledge that Catherine San Juan, Faye’s mother, willfully created a story for her child to tell. There was no competition. There are no records of the pair leaving the country. The trophy is not real. The certificates were forged. It is a towering pile of lie upon lie built on intentions we cannot as yet understand. Those wiser and more credible than myself believed her story too, from powerful newspapers and television networks to respected churches. We all believed in her account, for how can a twelve-year—old girl speak such an incredible untruth with such innocence? This is no excuse, merely an attempt to explain the context. I was proud to have been part of the movement that gave Faye San Juan the recognition she deserved. Now I am humbled, and can do nothing more than apologize to the many readers who believed me enough to defend my cause. There are many who went out of their way on nothing more than my word. To them, thank you. It has been said that it is the foolish and the weak of the world that will humble the strong. Perhaps my foolishness and weakness will serve as an example to many who risk believing blindly. Today, I write knowing that much of what I stood for and defended was untrue. I am a writer; I trade by my word. I have been in the business for less than five months, but I grew up knowing that truth is a journalist’s only weapon. A writer’s power goes only as far as her credibility. As I write these words now, I am filled with both helplessness and anger. More than the fact that I was deceived, it is infinitely more painful to be responsible for others’ deception. My responsibility is to correct that untruth. I still have a cause. I may be the least person now with the credibility to speak of serving the country, but I will try. There are many who warrant the praise that Faye has unjustly received. In time, I’ll take up that cause again, in the hope that this one failure will not taint the names of all those who still deserve their recognition. I stand for my convictions, and can only wish that my doing so would in some way aid this cause. In a world where change is the only thing that’s constant, there are a few things that I still count on. I count on my family’s support. I count on my friends’ understanding. I count on the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening. Most of all, I count on the idea that all people are basically, inherently good. After all that has happened, it’s hard to hang on to even that. But I’m nineteen, and I guess it’s a good thing that I’m not-quite-grown-up yet. I still believe in the goodness of people, and the greatness of the Filipino. It is one of the few truths that no lie, however big, can ever blot out. * * *

Saiyo Patricia, Mabuhay!!!!! from

The Ca t


At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pat calls herself a journalist. i think she is more a features columnist, an essayist. her venture into investigative reporting was lackluster, to put it bluntly. GOOD journalists just don't trade on words: they sleuth, sleuth, sleuth, and verify, verify, verify sources, and even put on a veil of skepticism on things they pick on and write about. emotions have no place in reporting objectively. recall how silly it was of loren legarda and angelo de castro to shed tears when pope paul 2 passed before them as they blew a minute-by-minute account of the pope's itinerary. they were reporters, for chrissakes, not pilgrims. ditto for pat: the problem with her reportage reflects what we call in pyschology 'projection'. she actually wants to project herself in the place of faye. pat had her moment: that's where the buck should have ended. so yes, she was--though not part of it--partly responsible in the propagation of lies, since she was remiss in executing her job so well as a journalist. but then again, she is a features columnist, right?

At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Patricia Evangelista, the more honorable thing that she should have done was to "cut and cut clean." A humble and sincere apology that did not use her being a 19-year old neophyte journalist as an excuse for her booboo would have been more acceptable. It was obvious that she really has a way with words and she used this to the hilt in her very elaborate rejoinder for the careless article that she is now infamous for. A simple mea culpa would have been enough, no more, no less. Tsk, tsk, tsk...

At 11:56 AM, Blogger ting-aling said...

An open letter to Patricia Evangelista

Dear Pat,

I believe that you have every right to use your age as one of the reasons why you erred. I have to admit that at that age, my wings haven’t gained the right strength yet to fly freely. When I was 19, I couldn’t even write a good article as good as yours to pass my English courses.

I am a little saddened to see how narrow-minded people can be. I bet you those people who seemed not to be contented with your explanation carry so much baggage with them. Why they find themselves having been misled by you is beyond me. You have been misled too by Faye and yet you chose to face the brighter side and you are only 19. I bet you these guys are older than you are. See maturity does not come with age, really.

I did get my handy dictionary to find out what a “Journalist” meant and these are the words I found out: A journalist could be a reporter, commentator, columnist, magazine columnist, press officer, member of the press. I went to check Philstar again to find out if your column was a news and in my humble opinion, it was not. It was more like a feature, a magazine feature.

I did not want to comment on this against or for you until I read all sides. I must say that I followed the posts of Angelo Racoma and Cathy and read all the sides given by the government and Faye’s church everyday.

Why some people are fuming about you committing a mistake, I do not know. The real victim here is Faye not them. I cannot understand how your “lies” affected their lives tremendously. Why they think they have the right to be correcting your errors, I do not know. Why they comment like you’ve done the biggest mistake in the whole world, I cannot fathom.

I can only tell that they are cowards because they comment as anonymous. In fact, these maybe people who envy you so much because you have been successful ten hundred folds than them. I bet you they are even way older than you are and probably, they are the kind whose articles couldn’t even make it to the Ad section of classifieds.

Finally, to err is human. It is just right to shed tears even if you are a journalist, unless you have the heart of a stone. Can you imagine how the world is going to be if people if have no compassion at all?

I hope you'll use this experience to further your career! You go girl!

Yours truly,

Ting Aling

At 3:32 PM, Blogger rolly said...

I second everything ting aling said. I have erred a big deal and i got over them. And I'm a teacher. In my twenty years of teaching, I'm still learning the ropes of how to do my job effectively. Patricia is five months in the business. she accepted her fault. What more do you want?

At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ting-aling: you consider yourself non-anonymous, all wrapped incognito as your profile suggests? helllloooo????

At 6:33 PM, Blogger ting-aling said...

Anonymous, first of all I left my e-mail address for anyone to write me should they have any questions about my open letter to Pat Evangelista. I can then reveal myself to them, you included. Why are you so sour about Pat in the first place? Have you not committed any mistakes in your life at all? Why the crabby feeling? What has she that Faye story done to you personally? I know that this is one trait we Filipinos have to shake off..we try to clip our youngs' wings when they're just about to take off so they stay on the ground instead of letting them fly so they can explore the sky.

Oh by the way, what good is an apology if it is forced anyway? Why do you think Patricia have to apologize to you? I should be mad at her because she condemned the Filipinos leaving the Philippines and I happen to be one of them. But you know what? It was her opinion. I should not be bad because it is not true. I love my mother country. And hey, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion.

Here's wishing you will learn how to learn to forget, how to forgive and how to move on...or you will live as miserable as you are now, forever.

At 5:54 PM, Blogger cathcath said...

Amen Ting and titorolly.


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