Season of the Witch

San Mateo, Rizal
March 23, 2016
Season of the Witch

It is Holy Wednesday today.
I was supposed to take a social media sabbatical starting on this very day of the Season of Lent. But I have decided to delay it for another day.
Why?
It is because of this Spin.ph story:

PBA employees demoralized after being told to undergo lie-detector tests in probe into Montreal ‘leak’
From: Dodo CatacutanMarch 22, 2016, 06:48 pm
PBA employees have been left ‘demoralized’ as league officials tapped the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe office leaks which it blamed for the controversy over marketing director Rhose Montreal’s falsified school records.
A couple of employees in the PBA Commissioner’s Office have vented their frustrations over the last couple of days as the board tries to get to the bottom of the expose on social media over spurious school documents allegedly submitted by Montreal when she applied for the marketing head position.
Confronted with the issue, Montreal tendered her resignation which the board accepted in a special meeting, only to re-hire her for ‘humanitarian reasons, exemplary performance’ last March 7.
The board has since staunchly defended its controversial decision to reinstate Montreal amid a hail of criticism from fans, team owners and former league officials. Montreal has resumed her duties on Monday.
But that apparently isn’t the end of the story.
Tapping the help of the NBI, the league board has now trained its guns on employees of the Commissioner’s Office who they suspect of leaking the documents that started the controversy.
The most damning documents were a copy of Montreal’s application form where she claimed to have graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines – as well as a diploma to prove it.
The UP Registrar’s Office said the claim was spurious.
According to insiders, employees of the PBA Commissioner’s Office are being ordered to go in batches to the NBI office as part of the investigation, sources said.
A couple of employees have already gone to the NBI office in Manila where they were made to sign documents expressing their willingness to undergo lie-detector tests, the source added.
\Another source claimed phones and phone records of some employees are also being examined in the probe which one insider bared was ordered not by Commissioner Chito Narvasa but by the league board.
The probe, another employee said, hasn’t helped the morale of a league staff who feel they are being targeted in a ‘witch hunt.’
“Maraming masama ang loob, and you can’t blame them,” said one employee who asked to remain anonymous. “Parang witch hunt ang nangyayari sa opisina ngayon.”

Before I say anything, let me get these few things out of the way first.
I have no beef with Rhose Montreal nor with PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa. I also have no quarrel with PBA chairman Robert Non and anyone in the league board. I consider Snow Badua and Alfrancis Chua as friends. As to them considering me a friend, you have to ask them because I don’t know. I love the PBA and I am a diehard Ginebra fan since birth.
So there.
And I have several questions.
Why the witchhunt?
Why go after poor, innocent people who leaked informations that ended up being hard truths based on the evidences gathered by Snow Badua and spin.ph?
Why submit them to the indignity of a lie-detector test as if they’re suspected criminals?
Why can’t the PBA just completely stop doing anything after “re-hiring” Rhose Montreal and just let the issue die down by itself?
Why does the PBA keep shooting itself on the foot?
Why freaking why?
Lie-detector test? Sheesh. This kills me. The test, or scientifically known as the Polygraph Test, isn’t even a fool-proof method to measure if a person is telling a truth or a lie. You want to go scientific on me? Let’s go.
In 2001 William Iacono, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience (Thank you Wikipedia)concluded that:

Although the CQT [Control Question Test] may be useful as an investigative aid and tool to induce confessions, it does not pass muster as a scientifically credible test. CQT theory is based on naive, implausible assumptions indicating (a) that it is biased against innocent individuals and (b) that it can be beaten simply by artificially augmenting responses to control questions. Although it is not possible to adequately assess the error rate of the CQT, both of these conclusions are supported by published research findings in the best social science journals (Honts et al., 1994; Horvath, 1977; Kleinmuntz & Szucko, 1984; Patrick & Iacono, 1991). Although defense attorneys often attempt to have the results of friendly CQTs admitted as evidence in court, there is no evidence supporting their validity and ample reason to doubt it. Members of scientific organizations who have the requisite background to evaluate the CQT are overwhelmingly skeptical of the claims made by polygraph proponents.

But let’s give the PBA the benefit of the doubt and not be a kill joy.
So let’s say, one employee was “proven” lying by the test, which will eventually convince the PBA that this person leaked that damning information, which could led to the league eventually firing that individual. You probably know what will happen next. The media will find a way to know that employee is fired. The dismissed employee could just go openly to the media and pronounce to the world that he was fired. Heck, he or she can even sue the PBA, which would put the league in more bad light.
So submitting people to lie-detector testing is a bad idea.
Let’s go science again.

Summarizing the consensus in psychological research, professor David W. Martin, PhD, from North Carolina State University, states that people have tried to use the polygraph for measuring human emotions, but there is simply no royal road to (measuring) human emotions. Therefore, since one cannot reliably measure human emotions (especially when one has an interest in hiding his/her emotions), the idea of valid detection of truth or falsehood through measuring respiratory rate, blood volume, pulse rate and galvanic skin response is a mere pretense. Psychologists cannot ascertain what emotions one has,[ with or without the use of polygraph.
Polygraphs measure arousal, which can be caused by anxiety, anxiety disorders such as PTSD, nervousness, fear, confusion, hypoglycemia, psychosis, depression, substance induced (nicotine, stimulants), substance withdrawal state (alcohol withdrawal) or other emotions; polygraphs do not measure “lies.” A polygraph cannot differentiate anxiety caused by dishonesty and anxiety caused by something else.
The polygraph is inherently subjective. It relies heavily on interpretation by the examiner, so human error (which could be caused by examiner inexperience) and bias can result in the examiner drawing the wrong conclusion.

So thank you again Wikipedia for clearing that up.
In short, it’s a complete waste of money and time. It also sends a wrong message that the league is going all out to punishing someone who is telling the truth and rewarding the other one caught lying.
The PBA doesn’t need this.
Because as long as the PBA keeps making these ill-adviced moves, they will only give more bullets to its growing detractors.
And a smile to Snow Badua’s face.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

Chito-Narvasa-5

Photo from Philstar.com