Aquino lauds Thelma San Juan for getting her facts straight–on his love life


AFRAID OF HEIGHTS Inquirer Lifestyle editor Thelma Sioson San Juan presents the first copy of her book, “i’m afraid of heights (or why i can’t social-climb),” to President Aquino at the Rockwell Tent in Makati City. At left is Inquirer chair Marixi Prieto and at right is Inquirer president Sandy Prieto-Romualdez. The book is a collection of more than 90 personality profiles San Juan has written in her career. RICHARD A. REYES

Newspapers could regale its readers without sacrificing depth or accuracy.

President Aquino made this statement during Monday’s launch of Inquirer Lifestyle editor Thelma Sioson San Juan’s book “i’m afraid of heights (or why i can’t social-climb)” in Makati City.

The President said a lot had changed in the political landscape between 1987—when San Juan interviewed him for a story about his sister Kris’ entry into show biz—and the present.

“This includes perhaps the biggest change of all—when, more than two years ago, our people’s clamor for change manifested in the presidential election. They voted for an idea that would inject reform and optimism back into our country: If there are no corrupt officials, there are no poor people,” he said.

Mr. Aquino recalled that San Juan, who was with him in Tarlac on the eve of the May 2010 presidential election, predicted that he would become the country’s next leader after seeing the “overwhelming enthusiasm of our people to change the country.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the piece she wrote about that moment, and I am grateful that it’s the first (personality) profile in this book. But there are also several other profiles in this book that serve as living snapshots of the people who have shaped our country’s story,” he said in his speech aired over government radio.

“Through Thelma’s works, we see how these people were—what made them tick. We also see how they have evolved through the years; how some of them have remained ageless, while some have lost hair; and how some have even grown a new head of hair,” he added.

Mr. Aquino said the “joy and the education” that readers derived from reading San Juan’s book was not just a result of her talent, hard work and “affinity with style.”

Activist conscience

“I firmly believe that it is also a result of what (Inquirer editor in chief) Letty Magsanoc called, in her introduction, an ‘activist conscience—a staunch dedication to the principles of journalism, and a devotion to her readership,’” he said.

“This spirit embodied by Thelma and journalists like her was the same spirit I referred to when I last spoke to the Inquirer family—when I complimented you for getting your facts straight even in reporting about my love life. Truly, there is a way of entertaining your readers without sacrificing depth or accuracy, and throughout her career, Thelma has kept that balance,” he added.


The President said the country needed more writers like San Juan, and more books like hers, after all, these were works that “ultimately allow those in public life to break free from their caricatures.”

“At a time when politicians are treated as commodities rather than initiators of change, Thelma brings us back to the substance of the people she covers. Think of it: In her articles, she gives you that telling detail, that revealing nuance that gives you a more multidimensional glimpse into the person,” he said.

Mr. Aquino admitted that his sister, more than he, could relate with the Lifestyle section.

“My sister Kris, whose domain is the Lifestyle pages, loves me, but I feel she is constantly under pressure to tolerate my ‘clothing extravagance.’ And as for me, what is there to write—you can’t even write that much about my so-called love life—unless you include love of country in the story,” he said.

The President said San Juan and her breed of writers “allow the Filipino people to know who these people really are.”

“They fulfill our human need to genuinely connect with one another. This is where I believe this book finds its profound value: In conveying real lives to readers. These articles may have been written to meet a deadline, but their worth will outlast all of us. And this book allows us to hope that future readers can gain small nuggets of wisdom—lessons that can change the way they see things, and help them on their way to moving our country forward,” he said.

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  • katague

    I enjoy reading this article. More Power to Ms. Sioson San Juan.

  • justice_league03

    If there are no corrupt officials, there are no poor people,” he said. 
    – if this is the case, why is poverty at its peak now and continues to rise??? that means there are even more corrupt officials now than ever?

    • Chris

      “poverty at its peak now and continues to rise?” – prove it. 
      And talking about poverty, the poorest families has the most number of children, so don’t expect those numbers to shrink overtime.

      • justice_league03

        you said it yourself! you’re asking me to prove it when you already know it will not shrink. thanks for proving it for me. in addition to what you just proved, there are close to 12 million Filipinos who are jobless. this should be enough to say that poverty is at its peak. so much for “if there are no corrupt, there are no poor people”. not only that there are more corrupt now, the administration does not even seem to be doing anything about it.

      • Chris

        where are your figures?.. prove it that we are on the peak and continues to rise.. i didn’t say we are at the worse level compared before or it’s rising, all I’m saying that don’t expect it to shrink in absolute terms. As a % of the population it may decline. In fact we just registered a 7.1% growth rate in Q3.. so expect a decline in poverty levels. AND I do believe without corruption, there will no poor people.

      • justice_league03

        i dont need figures. just look at the surroundings and see for yourself the actual results. like i always say, those stats and figures can be made up. after all, they are just numbers. but actuality and reality, you can never cheat. AND YES, i do believe in that saying too. and that must be one of the reasons why there are still a lot of poor Filipinos.

  • kilabot

    what is there to write about noykapon? except maybe the secret of noynoying towards the presidency with a little help from yellow insects.

  • Jesse Corres

    CONGRATS & continued, ethical and balanced reporting from Dr. Corres of Chicago. Season’s Greetings to you, your family and staff.

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