Where in the world is Alex Santos?
ABS-CBN’s top reporter for kidnapping incidents has been conspicuously absent in the network’s news and public affairs programs. No longer is he seen in Umagang Kay Ganda and TV Patrol, much to the delight, we heard, of Jorge Cariño, the lone ABS-CBN reporter who could rival Santos in the category of good looks.
But let it be clear that Cariño had nothing to do with Santos’ disappearance. And no, our guy wasn’t kidnapped. He actually quit before the network could formally boot him out last February.
This was what happened.
Santos had a scoop — guess what — about a missing boy. He covered the story and was all set for the evening’s newscast. But then came a piece of good news. The victim had been recovered and Santos had been told about it.
The logical thing to do was to update the story, but Santos had something else in mind. He went ahead with the original story — the poor child was still missing — and was “saving” the update for another day. In short, the viewers were served a “partially truthful” story courtesy of the Alex Santos School of News Management.
The story was so heart-breaking that it hit the core of TV Patrol anchor and ex-Vice President Noli De Castro’s humanity. De Castro ended up bantering at length about the unfortunate incident during the primetime newscast. And it didn’t stop there.
The following morning in his radio program, De Castro tackled the story further and interviewed a local official. That’s when the truth exploded in the face of poor Kabayan — the victim had been found!
Embarrassed before his legions of fans, De Castro stormed the newsroom afterward and demanded an investigation. Santos’ cameraman wilted under pressure and spilled the beans on his “enterprising” reporter. The cameraman had apparently been instructed by Santos not to surrender the CF card containing additional footage on the crucial development in the story.
Santos’ “news management” busted, ABS-CBN soon came out with the verdict: FIRE HIM! Before the ax could actually fall, Santos left quietly, a disgraced journo who had suddenly gone jobless.
Last we heard, he’s knocking on the door of a cable TV-based news network whose main viewers are relatives of its pretty but largely clueless reporters.
We do hope the sun eventually shines in this dark episode in Santos’ career. In the meantime, we’re left with his chief ABS-CBN rival, the dashing, spotless and erudite Jorge Cariño, who’s busy with his orbit around local officials for the network’s special pre-election series.