Out of a host of Star Awards, Tina Monzon Palma received Exellence in Broadcasting. As in the case of past awards, Tina confers more honor on it than any award can ever confer on her. But this one stands out for its aptness. Tina Monzon Palma defined excellence in journalism when it was dangerous to be even mediocre in the craft.
At the height of Martial Law, Tina Palma pre-eminently and almost alone among broadcast journalists told the whole truth when she could tell it or as much of the truth as she was allowed but she never told a lie. When she reported the acts of the dictatorship, she never reported them as the right thing to do, but only as the thing that was done by the only power that could do it. When reputations in broadcast journalism could only be unmade, Tina made her reputation as the only voice you could trust on the air.
At the time, it was the most thankless job of all. What you reported was not printed on paper behind which you could hide. The news had to come out of your mouth and from your face. And Tina told it truly as much as could be told. For this purpose Tina Palma developed an astonishingly wide range of expressions and intonations to tell you what you could believe or disbelieve. When even the opposition was telling itself lies to keep itself going, we turned to her face and her voice to keep us grounded in reality.
During the snap election campaign, she alone could be trusted in local broadcast news to tell it like it was. She reported the growing popularity of Cory Aquino and what we in the opposition wanted to forget the continuing power of Marcos. And while we announced we had won the snap elections, we did not occupy Malacanang until Tina said the dictatorship was done.
Tina's career transitioned smoothly from dictatorship to democracy, never needing because no one expected her to explain herself.
She continued to report the truth with the same ability to annoy people in power without their being able to figure out what was so annoying about her. She reported the gains of democracy, but also the power of the military rebels.
When military rebels took over her TV station, Tina reported the fact we wanted to hide that the rebels had seized the country's biggest TV network. I ordered an artillery strike but the rebels were alerted and fled. When I went in to see Tina, she gave that smile you cannot tell from a smirk.
And so she went on and still goes on telling it like it is in her cool and collected trademark manner, with a smirk now and then but a smile more often as she mellows. But she is ever the same Tina Palma, who defined in the time of broadcasting dangerously the meaning of excellence in journalism.