It is rare to meet a woman you would trust with your life, but here was Cheche Lazaro, telling me about why she was retiring, what it is she’s most proud of, and where she will go from here—it was difficult not to be overwhelmed. After all, Cheche’s Probe Productions has so many awards tucked under its belt, and even more achievements that are invisible and non-material.
One such intangible honor is this: for my generation (I was born in the ‘70s), The Probe Team was a crucial touchstone for journalism, known for going the extra mile, crossing that roaring river, and taking a free fall off of a cliff—all for the possibility of a story, something the Philippines has always had in abundance, with too few tellers to tell them. Journalism was (and in some ways still is) a battlefield, fraught with danger and opponents, with the possibility of things exploding just under one’s feet an ever-present companion. As a truthsayer, Cheche Lazaro has been a hero in this field for a long time, so her retirement in many ways marks the end of an era.