Tito Oreta, Malabon Mayor, dies at 73
Malabon City Mayor Canuto “Tito” Oreta died of lung cancer Monday morning at the St. Luke’s Medical Center. Oreta, 73, has battled the disease since 2007. He is on his third and last term as mayor. His nephew, Vice Mayor Antolin “Len-len” Oreta III, will officially succeed him in the coming days.
The younger Oreta, who will turn 41 on September 16, has served as the acting mayor of the flood-prone city since his now-deceased uncle went on a medical leave early this year. He is the son of former Senator (and presidential aunt) Tessie Aquino-Oreta.
Philippine Star’s epic fail
The Philippine Star published the story of Oreta’s death at 10:50 AM, 37 minutes ahead of GMA News Online did and over an hour ahead of its rival Philippine Daily Inquirer. However, the Philippine Star’s article carries at least three factual inaccuracies. Curiously, the writer of the brief article is not identified. (Corrections had not been made even after three hours. – TFS)
First, they initially misspelled the late mayor’s surname as “Ureta” before belatedly correcting it.
Secondly, the story says that the Vice Mayor is a woman and that he is a daughter of the elder Oreta. If the article writer and his or her editor bothered to check out the website of the Malabon city government, they would have found out that the Vice Mayor is actually a man (despite his ‘feminine’ nickname) and that he is a nephew of the deceased mayor.
It is a given that media outlets will do all they can to get ahead of others in running a story (e.g. “You got it here first!”). The competition had become fiercer nowadays because of the social media, where sites such as Twitter are used extensively for disseminating breaking news.
Nevertheless, a very brief article with three glaring factual lapses as in this case is unforgivable especially since information verification can easily be done online. As humor blogger Professional Heckler once wrote, “Naimbento na po ang Google. Libre po ito. Gamitin n’yo.”