Sunday, July 23, 2006

Philippine Media - A failed (and still failing, but in denial) 4th Estate

"Self-serving: The problem with President Gloria Arroyo giving an economic scorecard in her State of the Nation Address tomorrow is that such a report is actually a self-assessment of her own performance the past 12 months.

"As such, it is self-serving.

"But neither will a predictably negative assessment by the political opposition or by the street mob present the true state of the nation.

"We should evolve a third party research institution that is ruthlessly independent, even of its financiers and staff, that will give the populace an unvarnished periodic report of the true state of the nation.

"In theory, private media can or should provide this institutionalized reporting system. But most media still have to work out an independent existence in a milieu that demands interdependence, sometimes even of accommodation.

"The end result is that we the people gravitate to our favorite SONA version, mostly on the basis of our biases. We normally prefer to listen to a report that echoes our own sentiments and economic conditions."
("To each his own biases, to each his own SONA," by Federico D. Pascual Jr., The Philippine Star, Sunday, July 23, 2006, p.13 - emphasis provided)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

AAAHHHHH….. that’s why the inane cacophonic media hype since 2004!!! (…as though people would never have pieced it together or even just luckily have guessed… such ambitiously arrogant contempt!)

“Loren, Teddyboy, Chiz lead Erap’s 2007 Senate slate”

“Former senator Loren Legards leads the draft of opposition senatorial ticket for next year’s midterm elections along with at least three congressmen, deposed President Josephy Estrada told a radio station yesterday…

“Legarda… was however instrumental in the January 2001 ouster of Estrada…

“’Sana matuloy ang eleksyon dahil ‘yon ang gustong mangyari ng taumbayan. Sa ngayon, bumubuo na kami ng aming ticket (I hope the elections push through because that’s what the people want. As of now we are putting together our ticket),’ he told Makati Rep. Teddyboy Locsin, whom he endorsed as one of those qualified to run for the Senate…

“Among the other senatoriables he identified were Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla, the lawmaker who headed the House probe on the ‘Hello Garci’ tapes, and House Minority Leader Francis Escudero…

“Locsin is a member of the PDP-Laban, party of opposition stalwarts Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr., which is set to coalesce with Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP). Apart from PDP-Labab, UNO is also set to join forces with the Nacionalista Party (NP) headed by incoming Senate President Manny Villar…

“’That is my only condition. Kung hindi papalitan ang commissioners huwag tayong sumali sa eleksyon na iyan dahil walang mangyayari at baka mangyari muli ang nangyari noon, pinal na iyan,’ he declared…” (“Loren, Teddyboy, Chiz lead Erap’s 2007 Senate slate,” by Delon Porcalla, The Philippine Star, Wednesday, July 5, 2006)

Monday, June 05, 2006

May there be more like these! (emphasis provided)

1. Calling an unclean spade, a dirty shovel. Finally!

“To be blunt, this Publisher did a double-take when I read the banner-headline of my own newspaper yesterday, which blared: ‘GMA INSULTING CONGRESS BY REJECTING WAGE HIKE.’

“It turned out our sometimes too clever editors wanted to draw attention to an angry made by super-leftist, and detained Anakpawis Party List Congressman, Crispin Beltran, whose radical union activities have caused much grief to business enterprises and industrial firms in the past two and a half decades, scaring away potential foreign investors during the same period.


“A forced wage-hike across-the-board would destroy business, causing factories and currently shakey (sic) enterprises to shut down – thus rendering the alleged ‘beneficiaries’ of that Congressional sanamagan of a wage-hike completely unemployed, with no hope of getting another job. That’s what the stupidly alleged ‘benefit’ to the workers would accomplish.

“If you ask me, our STAR should never have headlined such a monstrous bad joke– but I don’t pre-edit this newspaper. I read it at the same time newspaper readers or PhilStar dot com website readers do when they our megaportal.


(“By The Way – Gary was right: ‘Education is the light’!” by Max Soliven, The Philippine Star, Monday, June 5, 2006, p.14)

2. Power of the press – as it should be used!

The leadership of the House of Representatives expressed gratitude to the media for reporting on truant lawmakers, exposure that apparently shamed some of them into attending sessions and passing several bills in a ‘record-breaking performance.

“House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles expressed thanks to reporters covering the House for reporting and forcing some ‘136 warm bodies’ to show up in last Monday and Tuesday’s session

“Nograles said their presence made history in the 236-man chamber

“The Davao City congressman credited this feat to published and aired news reports that the House was able to pass 27 bills on second reading and 39 more on third and final reading – or a total of 66 laws of national importance.


"Nograles earlier conceded the House leadership was ‘indeed facing a serious problem on quorum and that mustering a quorum is indeed becoming a serious problem’ in the lower legislative chamber.”


(“House leaders thank media for exposing absentee lawmakers” by Delon Porcalla, The Philippine Star, Thursday, June 1, 2006, p.16)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Code of Ethics - Society of Professional Journalists


Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice.

Seek Truth and Report It

Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:

  • Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
  • Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
  • Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.
  • Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
  • Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
  • Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
  • Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.
  • Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story
  • Never plagiarize.
  • Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
  • Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
  • Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
  • Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
  • Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.
  • Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
  • Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
  • Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public's business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.

Minimize Harm

Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

Journalists should:

Act Independently

Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

Journalists should:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
  • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
  • Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
  • Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
  • Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
  • Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
  • Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.

Be Accountable

Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

Journalists should:

  • Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
  • Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
  • Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
  • Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
  • Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Jiving Joker

‘Tis easy enough to believe that he’s a solicitor - a lawyer in other words. But believe it or not, the Joker as reported below is the same one who ran the post-1986 EDSA, Corazon “Cory” Aquino Philippine Government as Executive Secretary or “Little President.” Moreover that 20 years later he still holds power as one of the 24 “independent-republic” incumbents of the “honorable-senate” of that country.


“Sen. Joker Arroyo, on the other hand, called on Malacañang ‘not to rub it in’ and take it easy on Estrada and the opposition leaders involved in the spy case.

‘The prudent thing is for the government to back off from trying to rope in President Estrada and company in the Aragoncillo case,’ Arroyo said.

“The senator said the administration should refrain from playing up the Aragoncillo case as an opportunity to get even with Estrada and the opposition.

“He said the Philippine government should take the passive role and refrain from getting actively involved in the espionage case.

‘Ano pakialam ng [What concern is it of the] Philippine government if the US government go against Erap? The Philippine government has nothing to do with it. The Philippine government is not obligated (to pursue, just in case),’ Arroyo said.

“The senator pointed out that no Philippine law was violated by Aragoncillo even though he admitted passing classified information to Estrada and other opposition politicians in the effort to unseat the President.

‘What Aragoncillo allegedly did is a violation of US laws, thus the involvement of the FBI. No Philippine law has been violated. So let us not invent one just so we can ensnare Erap,' Arroyo said.

“Arroyo noted the plunder case against Estrada remains unfinished after almost five years.

“He said another case against Estrada can be seen as an unnecessary offensive move from the government.

‘We have not even finished the plunder case, why get entangled in another one which on its face is not our concern,’ Arroyo said. (“Palace to Erap: Keep your head down,” by Aurea Calica and Christina Mendez, The Philippine Star, Monday, May 8, 2006.)

Friday, May 05, 2006

The circus continues - media spin, politico hype, or both?

“House opposition to GMA: Prepare for impeachment”

We should and can…

“Minority Leader Francis Escudero told reporters that the three decisions of the high court would be additional grounds for a new impeachment complaint against the President.

“ ‘Mrs. Arroyo’s Executive Order 464, her Proclamation 1017 and her calibrated preemptive response policy, which the Supreme Court (SC) struck down in whole or in part as unconstitutional, reflect a propensity on the part of the President to flout the Constitution, for which she must be held accountable,’ Escudero said.”

We will…

“Deputy Minority Leader Rolex Suplico said he and his opposition colleagues intend to use the SC ruling against the President.

“ ‘She should now prepare for the forthcoming impeachment process after the expiration of the one-year ban on June 26,’ he said.

We won’t…

“While opposition congressmen warned the President to prepare for the next impeachment process, they are not yet sure if they would at all file a new complaint against her.

“ ‘We won’t do it unless we have 79 signature to send a complaint to the Senate for trial,’ said Escudero.

“…The minority had only more than 50 votes for the Arroyo impeachment last year. Four of its members did not even support the move, while another could not be located when her presence mattered most – during the vote. One endorser of the opposition’s impeachment complaint withdrew his signature.”

But, we can if we should…

“ ‘She would do all she could to prevent a complaint from teaching the Senate for trial. With the mood of the Senate and transgressions of the Constitution as evidenced by the Supreme Court rulings, she could lose her job and go down in disgrace,’ he said.

“In preparation of the next impeachment process, the opposition leader said he hoped the Supreme Court would expedite its decision on a pending case arising from last year’s from last year’s failed move to oust Mrs. Arroyo.

“Escudero said such a ruling would clarify once and for all what the House should do in case there are two or more complaints against the President or any other impeachable offices.”

Source: “House opposition to GMA: Prepare for impeachment,” The Philippine Star, by Jess Diaz, Friday May 5, 2006.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

"…the number one law breaker…" (So what else is new!)

"… the lawmaking body, has become the top lawbreaker…

"'…a notice of correct violation' was sent… 'After more than six months, there are still no corrective measures being done prompting the BFP (Bureau of Fire Prevention) to impose a fine…

"…officials advised House administrators to acquire fire extinguishers and install a sprinkler system…

"'Exit signages were not lighted/illuminated, there were inadequate portable emergency lights, some units of portable fire extinguishers were found low in pressure…'

"… no automatic fire pump, no automatic fire suppression system and that the carpets, rugs and curtains have not been treated regularly with fire retardant chemicals…

"'…no directional exit signages leading to designated fire exit stairs…'

"…Tadeo (Senior Inspector Samuel Tadeo, chief of the Quezon City Fire Safety Enforcement Unit) said each violation has a specific time frame from 30 to 60 days to correct and comply with the fire code…

"In a privilege speech late Wednesday, Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo 'Ompong' Plaza said that while their main task is to make laws, it has been an irony over the years that the institution has 'become the number one lawbreaker of the Building and Fire Code…'"

"'The House is supposed to be the model of a law abiding institution, and yet it appears that we are the number one violator of these laws,' he said, citing the Building Code, Fire Safety Code, the Clean Air Act and Waste Chemical Act of 1990, among others." (Firetrap House: Batasan tagged as top violator of Fire Code," by Cecille Suerte Felipe and Delon Porcalla, The Philippine Star, Tuesday April 4, 2006, p.16)
Who screwed who? - If there is no enabling law authorizing a people's initiative (to amend the constitution), why is there no enabling law? (… and, therefore is still screwing around…?)

What "the law-makers" have to say:

"'The Cha-cha (Constitutional Change) train has no congressional franchise to operate (a valid initiative law) nor an engine with a valid license to operate it (Comelec [Commission on Elections]),' Arroyo [Sen. Joker Arroyo] said in a statement.

"He was referring to the absence of an enabling law that would justify revising the Constitution through collection of signatures, and the Commission on Elections' lack of authority to approve such an initiative…

"Arroyo and Pimentel [Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr] agreed that a huge obstacle - a 1987 [sic, 1997] ruling that there was no sufficient law for such an initiative - lay in the path of the Malacañang-backed locomotive [for Charter Change]…

"Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday accused the Arroyo [President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo] administration of trying to condition the public mind that a people's initiative could be done without an enabling law.

"Speaking before the International Association of Business Communicators conference n Makati, Drilon said" 'We shall continue to explain to our people that the truth is we must follow what the Supreme Court has said or what our Constitution says. Otherwise, we will have anarchy in our country.'" ["Senators warn: Runaway train headed for cliff, legal obstacles," by TJ Burgonio, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Saturday, April 1, 2006.]

"Escudero [Congressional Minority Leader Francis Escudero] said aside from the fact that there is no enabling law, the people's initiative that he claimed the administration launched last Saturday is unconstitutional in another aspect - it seeks to revise and not just amend the basic law of the land.

"'If there is a law governing the process, an initiative is good for simple amendments, not for revisions. What the administration seeks to undertake is certainly a revision. It affects three articles of the Constitution - those on the executive and legislative branches, and the transitory provisions - composed of more than 50 sections,' he said…

"In a related development, Sen. Manuel Roxas said he plans to file within the week a resolution calling for an inquiry into the government-backed people's initiative.

"'The administration must refrain from subverting the intent of the Constitution regarding it provision on the people's initiative…The government should not substitute its political posture for the voice of the people,' he said." ["People's initiative to reach SC," by Jess Diaz, with James Manaanghaya, Eva Visperas, Mayen Jaymalin, Christina Mendez, Edith Regalado, Edu Punay, Jaime Laude, Paolo Romero, Cecille Suerte Relipe, The Philippine Star, Tuesday, March 28, 2006.]

What the Constitution (1987, present; emphasis provided) says:


"Section 1. The legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum.

"Section 32. The Congress shall, as early as possible, provide for a system of initiative and referendum, and the exceptions therefrom, whereby the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof passed by the Congress or local legislative body after the registration of a petition therefor signed by at least ten per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters thereof.


"Section 1. Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by:

(1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or

(2) A constitutional convention.

"Section 2. Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters therein. No amendment under this section shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener than once every five years thereafter.

"The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right.

"Section 3. The Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of all its Members, call a constitutional convention, or by a majority vote of all its Members, submit to the electorate the question of calling such a convention.

"Section 4. Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution under Section 1 hereof shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not earlier than sixty days nor later than ninety days after the approval of such amendment or revision.

"Any amendment under Section 2 hereof shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not earlier than sixty days nor later than ninety days after the certification by the Commission on Elections of the sufficiency of the petition."