Mary Jane, hopes, and bitterness

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The world is not all glitters and rainbows, they said. I used to refuse that notion. I used to believe that good things happen to good people, so as long as you do good, good things will always come your way. I used to be this bubbly girl who only lives on the bright side.

But then, life happens. I started to fall in love with journalism and got deeply involved in it. Little did I know that working in the media can really make you bitter.

I have to deal with bad news on daily basis —all those killings, injustice, stupid people given way too much power, to heart breaking stories that can ruin you for good. Tom Fletcher was right. Bad news are bad for your brain. 
It changes you. It changes the very core of you: your way of seeing the world, your way of perceiving life.

I’ve come to terms that shit happens all the time, and sometimes the best you can do is to be accepting and patient, because life doesn’t play a fair game and not everything has to happen with a reason. Sometimes, it’s useless to have hope in this messed up world (or country) we live in.

My cynicism grew bolder as we covered death penalty stories. Don’t get me wrong, I support death penalty. I believe some people are so terrible they deserve to die, that the world will be better off without them. But I strongly believe that a fair trial should be held high and I believe in second chances. Pre-meditated murderers and that drug-lord Fredy Budiman deserve the gunshot to the chest, but not those guys who foolishly smuggled drugs when they were only 21 and 24 (my age!) and had spent the last 10 years trying to make amends. And definitely not Mary Jane Veloso. More on her here

So we (the Rappler team) covered death penalty stories. I met Mary Jane’s legal team, heard the stories, did a story on how executions are carried out, made list of the convicts’ last wishes, and i tell you, it was terrifying. It was horrible.

I know journalists aren’t supposed to be emotionally attached to what they’re working on, but how can we not?  I had nightmares of having guns pointed to my head (screw you Undang-Undang No. 2/ PNPS/1964!!) or being brought to the shooting range. I couldn’t help but imagining how it must’ve been for the family who counts hours before midnight strikes, knowing that their loved one will go, or how helpless it felt to know that this is a messed up country with a messed up legal system and you are powerless.

But a miracle happen last night. The government finally made some sense and spared Mary Jane’s life to give ways for proper investigation to be conducted. #MaryJaneLives.

We rejoiced, tears were shed.

Those long days of covering her and her family’s stories, the continuous push for intervention, and even the last-minute online petition finally paid off. I didnt believe that anything good could come out from those efforts. “The journalist in me had always doubted it, to be honest,” said Carmela Fonbuena, one of the Rappler Manila team. So did I.

Being hopeful, then hopeless, then hopeful again, only to be disappointed later is tiring. That’s why I opted not to put any hopes. But these guys and last night’s events proved me wrong.

Hope always exists even in the darkest times. Hope is the only thing we can hold on to when everything goes haywire. And as Ted Mosby once said in How I Met Your Mother: “When you believe in people, people come through.”

So, thank you Mary Jane, Rappler, and the supporters for reminding me to stay positive, to still have hopes on humanity, and that sometimes, believing is all you need to make things better.

Life is not fair, but God is good.

Thank you.


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