Chismissing The Point

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Earlier this week, Cristina Ponce Enrile, wife of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and former ambassador to the Vatican, corroborated rumors of an affair between Enrile and his former chief-of-staff Gigi Reyes, a revelation that is about as earth-shaking as it is in the public interest (i.e. not at all).

Here is a Rappler transcription of Mrs. Enrile’s supposed tell-all interview aired over GMA News TV:

“I had heard that she was already too long. He has had many girls before Gigi but they don’t last too long. With Gigi, it lasted long. Somebody told me that it’s not only this time but more years that you don’t know. That’s what got me…,” she said.

While marginally significant because Reyes has been accused, along with Enrile, of plunder for supposedly diverting money from the Priority Development Assistance Fund, there is nothing in the interview that moves the case against the former Senate president either forward or back. read more »

Protests Too Much

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Here is something you don’t see every day: a major news website’s public apology for getting a story wrong.

Surprisingly, the apology was not for offending society with a jokey caption but for attributing a statement to a militant women’s group which immediately denied the statement and raised heck (sub-hell levels) on the Internet.

It was a basic violation of an unwritten rule of journalism–never assuming something unless stated directly–and we hope that the people who worked on the story were taken out back and promptly shot, or at least told to review their Philo 11. In any case, we hope they took their lumps.

Here is something that you actually do see every day, and anytime two or more are gathered in the name of calling other people names: a cute little media critique in the Manila Times by Katrina Stuart Santiago, scoring news websites Rappler and GMA News Online for destroying the fine tradition of Philippine journalism, a tradition that she is part of by virtue of writing opinion columns, which is not quite the same thing and is, if you look at the quality of opinion columnists we have now, hardly a virtue. read more »

Commentaries on the Network War

 

That the giant networks ABS-CBN and GMA have been trying to milk the Vhong Navarro incident for as much ratings and page views as they can is no real surprise.

Media critic blog Spinbusters pointed out as much in its recent post, and, coincidentally, nothing else. That they commented on the issue so late in the game and without contributing anything that everyone from the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility to basically anybody with an Internet connection and a social media account has already pointed out is telling, but that is a story for another day.

What should be of issue here is not the fact that media companies pushed the issue into national prominence in a bid to boost traffic.

That is the nature of the media beast and is news to nobody. The media companies will offer what the market wants, and protest as we may, a variety show host being beaten up and accused of rape is interesting, if mind-numbing and spirit-crushing, stuff.

What we should be looking at is the national prominence of the other players in this game. read more »

Anti-Social Media: The Usual Christmas Story

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December 2013

‘Tis the season for satisfaction, that time of the year when everyone whom the press has put on the spot, except for people like Janet Lim-Napoles who will have to act through proxy, gets to see serious journalists bend over backwards for whatever scraps are still left in the public relations budgets. read more »

Pacquiao’s tax case is about money, not feelings

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A Facebook post from a former journalist and, recently, a shill for a mining company on Manny Pacquiao’s tax troubles:

Welcome to the apathy of the Philippine government, they don’t care how much joy Manny gave to the people as long as govertment [sic] has something to steal.

And that seems to be the recent general sentiment over the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s garnishment of P1.1 million in two of Pacquiao’s bank accounts.

How dare a government agency, people–including people in government–are saying, actually do its job? What, they say, is a few million (the tax case involves P2.2 billion) against the hope and joy that Pacquiao’s victory brought the Filipino people by winning a boxing match so soon after the tragedy that hit the central Philippines?

The simple answer, really, is that the BIR didn’t. It did dare to run after a boxing champion, congressman, and patriarch of a fledgling political dynast. But that was not after the Pacquiao-Rios fight.

Nobody stood by the window of the BIR National Office Building, smoking a cigar in the dark, and said “Let us fuck over the Filipino people even more by taxing their national hero. If anything like that happened at all, it happened in 2011, when the case was first filed. read more »

Oh, Nancy Binay…

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Nancy Binay, Constitutionalist, civil rights champion, and, of late, Senator of the Republic, has chimed in on a bill that is aimed at preventing political families from fielding relatives and various scions for political posts in successive, simultaneous, or overlapping terms.

The passage of the bill at the committee level at the House of Representatives was hailed as historic by ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio.

For the first time, an anti-dynasty bill has reached the committee level and has been approved,” he said almost tautologically.

Binay, though, daughter of the vice president and sister to a Makati mayor and a Makati district representative, warned that passing such a bill “may limit what the Constitution says about who can run.” read more »

Anti-Social Media: Primae donnae at a press conference

Here’s a story from the sidelines that our friends at Spinbusters may have missed: Reportorial feathers were ruffled at a press conference by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad last Thursday because reporters on the Finance beat wanted first crack at the secretary. read more »

The people behind EDSA Tayo are EDSA too

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Much has been said about the EDSA Tayo prayer vigil/rally/something something set for September 11 at the EDSA Shrine, very little of it from the organizers themselves.

Many, including the apparent leading lights of the supposedly spontaneous “Million People March” at the Quirino Grandstand on August 26, have either distanced themselves or have denounced the so-called “Million People March 2″, saying it has nothing to do with them.

Our favorite activist of convenience even made a plea over Twitter to “STOP calling the EDSA protest on September 11 ‘MillionPeopleMarch2′ because it is NOT. Thanks.” And although this website is not a fan of some of the organizers of the EDSA Tayo rally and also finds the coincidence of it falling on the late Ferdinand Marcos’s birthday questionable, they are at least to be commended for having the balls to come out for something that, if online traction is any indicator, will bring in much fewer people than the August 26 protest. read more »

Begin the love-in

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In case you were looking for something to show that politics in the Philippines is more about candidates than any actual polis, consider the diabetes-inducing wave of goodwill flowing from magnanimous officials-elect.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III has extended an olive branch to defeated United Nationalist Alliance candidate Juan Miguel Zubiri months after Zubiri accused him of being a wife beater. Months after Pimentel called Zubiri a “fake senator”, to wit:

“Zubiri is the face of dagdag-bawas and other insidious and malevolent forms of electoral fraud in this country. He is one good reason why some of our people completely distrust elections and politicians.” (Press statement, March 12, 2013)

He was referring, of course, to the 2007 mid-term elections, when he was cheated out of a Senate seat. Zubiri resigned before Pimentel could be officially proclaimed the proper winner of those elections. Soon after his resignation, Pimentel and Zubiri were on TV holding hands and presumably slapping asses and talking about how they’re actually very good friends.

Until the 2013 elections, anyway. read more »