Wednesday, February 20, 2019
BY RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO FEBRUARY 20, 2019
IF not for Maria Ressa and Rappler’s vilification campaign against President Duterte and the Philippines, and her success in getting foreign media entities to portray her as a heroine of press freedom, her journalism career would have crashed years ago.
Ressa is therefore unlikely to give up her portrayal of herself as a victim of the suppression of the press in a country which she says has a media that have been cowed.
In the description of her in Rappler and in other foreign award-giving sites, she is portrayed as a distinguished journalist who was given more than seven awards by international media outfits, including one as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.”
This were all given only in 2018 after Ressa, with the help of Yellow forces, managed to portray internationally as instances of Duterte’s alleged authoritarianism the actions of two state agencies in upholding our rule of law.
First, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s ruled that it had violated the constitutional ban on foreign money in media. And second, the National Bureau of Investigation decided to pursue a private citizens’ libel charge against Ressa.
That is, in just a year of her efforts in portraying the Philippines as under authoritarian rule, Ressa got at least seven awards and international acclaim (or sympathy). In contrast, she couldn’t get a single such award in her 16 years with CNN.
(The Wikipedia entry on Ressa reports that she received an Overseas Press Club Award for Best Documentary and the National Headliner Award for Investigative Journalism, presumably before 2018. The two awards’ websites though do not report her receiving such honors.)
I had admired Ressa for her audacity in going into broadcast media which, especially in the US, has three elephants in their news studios, which would have quickly trampled her.
First is its bias against non-whites. Second is the bias for staff whose physical features conform to Anglo-Saxon notions of beauty. And third is the bias against women. A cursory research makes this point obvious. CNN has about 200 anchors and correspondents. How many are black females? Two. How many of Asian descent? Three. How many aren’t Anglo-Saxon lookers? None.
This is not my opinion but the result of numerous scholarly studies on US media and its biases. US media outfits’ rush to defend Ressa, I suspect, is an instance of their hypocrisy and their collective guilt for their bigotry.
Ressa managed to stay long at CNN because a major concern of US and its media minions had emerged: The outbreak of Islamic terrorism in the Philippines and in Indonesia. CNN exploited her: Ressa’s looks and her family links in the two countries (one parent is Indonesian, I was told, but cannot confirm) made it easy for her to access sources among terrorists and government.
Despite her coverage though, the three elephants in CNN’s news studios eventually got to kick her out. I was told that she was given that “resign or be fired” kind of message by CNN early in 2003, when she was Jakarta bureau chief. And she thought she could be CNN’s next Cristiane Amanpour, her career idol. Did you notice that CNN as an institution didn’t issue a statement in support of its former staff?
Resign or be fired
ABS-CBN recruited her in 2004 to head its news division, the idea of its president then, a purportedly marketing genius, Freddie Garcia, who argued that Ressa would give the oligarch-owned station the “CNN sheen” of excellence. Chairman Gabby Lopez was said to have been delighted that he would be seen as the Philippines’ Ted Turner.
Ressa though proved to be a big headache for Lopez, insiders in the network reported. (See for instance https://www.thedailysentry.net/2018/10/a-scandalous-mess-that-maria-ressa-of.html?m=1)
Did you notice that neither ABS-CBN, nor its media bigwigs like its president Charo Santos, Luchie Cruz-Valdez, Karen Davila and Charie Villa have spoken a word in defense of their former colleague, a “kabaro” at that? Yellow leader Mar Roxas – if not for his wife Korina Sanchez – would have raised a howl over Ressa’s “persecution,” but didn’t.
All these women despised Ressa, for various reasons, and bugged Lopez to fire her. Many in the network, even Lopez’s conservative relatives, were allegedly also scandalized over Ressa’s open lesbian relationship with Lilibeth Frondoso — married but separated — who became some kind of power in the network because of her closeness to the controversial news head. Gabby’s mestizo executives and friends incessantly asked him: “Are you really comfortable with Ressa being the face of ABS-CBN?”
Gabby Lopez, I was told by insiders, got the excuse to give Ressa the “resign-or-be-fired” message when he got undeniable proof that she was moonlighting, that is, giving interviews, for a fee, on Philippine developments with CNN and other US media outfits (whom she would later tap to raise a howl against the libel charge against her). Her services to ABS-CBN was exclusive, according to her contract.
End of career
That would have been the end of Ressa’s career in broadcast media. The Philippine broadcast industry is a small, gossipy world, and no other media enterprise — even Manuel Pangilinan’s new Channel 5 to whom she sent feelers to join — would take her in. Al-Jazeera, which had been pirating CNN broadcasters, was run by British executives and had the same three elephants of bigotry in their studies.
While her work in covering terrorists in the Philippines and Indonesia got her to be a consultant in academic and intelligence institutions in the US, her expertise in Islamic jihad became gradually doubted because of her exaggeration of the extent of the network of the Islamist jihadists in Southeast Asia, and her conclusion that these were all directed by al-Qaeda.
For instance, in her 2012 book Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda’s Newest Center,” Ressa claimed that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was really a part of al-Qaeda, and that its Camp Abubakr was a sprawling training camp for the Bin Laden terrorist group.
She even stridently criticized former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for undertaking peace talks with the insurgent groups, and even reported claims that her military sold arms to the MILF. In a self-serving way since she had covered two countries in the region that had Muslim terrorists, Ressa’s thesis was that Southeast Asia — because Indonesia had the biggest Muslim population while the Philippines was weak in fighting terrorists — would be the center of Islamic jihad in the world.
Obviously, subsequent events — the peace agreement with the MILF and the decline of al-Qaeda as well as Bin Laden’s killing — made Ressa’s expertise passé, if not inaccurate. The US and the West’s main concern became the rise of the Islamic State, which was far, far beyond Ressa’s world of Southeast Asian jihadists. Her narrow field of expertise in journalism, Islamic jihad in Southeast Asia, became useless.
That would have been the end of Ressa’s journalistic career which would have been devastating for her immense ego which, going by accounts of those who have worked with her, compensated for her diminutive size and looks.
She found a new career when the Benigno Aquino 3rd camp, after he assumed power in 2010, had the brilliant idea of setting up a news website, in order to control the emerging world of social media, and to form a tag team with the Philippine Daily Inquirer the Yellows had their thumbs on.
The plan became urgent when Aquino decided to undertake the unprecedented project of removing the Chief Justice, Renato Corona. It was his clan’s last-resort move to control the Supreme Court so it would rule that the agrarian-reform compensation for his clan’s Hacienda Luisita would be P10 billion, not the P200 million the Agrarian Reform department calculated it should be.
Rappler officially went online Jan. 1, 2012 a few days before Corona’s impeachment trial started, with even its first major story — symbolically? — a false one that claimed that the Chief Justice cheated to get his PhD, which is still posted by the website.
As my colleague Yen Makabenta wrote yesterday: “Rappler served as cheerleader for every sordid turn in the impeachment trial up to the very end; it said nothing when the prosecution was caught manufacturing evidence, and when Aquino was exposed in his bribery of the senator-jurors.”
Vicious, false articles
Rappler competed in posting having vicious, false articles that demonized Corona with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
It was in fact Rappler’s enthusiasm in vilifying Corona to justify its existence to its Yellow overlords that got it into trouble
It reported in May 2012 that Corona was using an SUV owned by a Filipino businessmen involved in “human trafficking and drug smuggling.” Of course, that angered the businessmen so much he has pursued a libel case against Rappler.
Ressa has cried to the world that it was just Duterte wanting to suppress Rappler.
Because of its huge technology expenses to build a big audience in cyberspace and its above-industry salaries for Ressa and his gang, Rappler got to the brink of bankruptcy, especially when the Yellows lost power in 2016. The Yellows had difficulties bankrolling it either covertly or overtly such as through contracts with the tourism department. (Because of its success in portraying Duterte as an authoritarian though, Rappler appears to have been recently infused with new Yellow money: Its two new board directors were with Cory Aquino’s high officials, Solita Monsod and Fulgencio Factoran.)
An American, Ressa tapped his contacts with the help of Yellow supporters in New York, and got two US outfits, Omidyar Network and North Base Media to invest P100 million in the website to save it from going under.
An American, Ressa probably had never read the Philippine Constitution with its ban on foreigners in media, or she had such a culture of impunity that she thought she could ignore the laws of this puny nation. The Securities and Exchange Commission ruled that indeed Rappler was in violation of the Constitution and must be dissolved.
Ressa panicked and claimed first, that the foreign money was donated to its managers. When that proved impossible (the managers told her they can’t pay for the taxes for such gifts), she claimed that the investments were in the form of securities, the kind PLDT and ABS-CBN use to go around the constitutional ban on foreign money in media.
Oops! The Bureau of Internal Revenue read about her explanation, studied it for months, and ruled that Rappler’s issuance of securities generated capital gains, which therefore must be taxed. Rappler evaded such payment of P133 million in taxes, the BIR concluded. The Justice department had to agree with the BIR and filed a tax evasion case against Ressa and her executives.
Ressa cried to the world that she is being persecuted. Ressa has vilified her country of birth for her egoistic ambitions.
American media are automatically biased against a Third World leader who doesn’t pay obeisance to the US, and after all this puny country is not that important to fact-check the lies a fellow American tells them.
Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Archives at: www.rigobertotiglao.com
With the exponential hype of Maria Ressa’s arrest, both domestic and international, I thought of sharing my 2 cents on the issue. However, I wish to look at it in the light of the current lopsided political scenario which puts the Anti Duterte forces in an extinct position, and hence, the level of desperation to grab anything they could, to keep themselves relevant in the body politic by “holding the line”, come what may.
Duterte ended the year 2018 with a big bang – 81 percent approval rating as against 7 percent who disapproved of him and 13 percent undecided. Surprisingly, he got an increase of 6 percent coming off the most difficult time of his almost 3-year administration – the 7.2 percent inflation rate in September last year which was exploited by the anti Dutertes in their political grandstanding, trying to project Duterte as incompetent with the hope of convincing the Filipino people into withdrawing their support for him.
Digong however weathered the storm and in fact, he emerged unscathed and victorious with people all the more cementing their support to his administration. With the impact of the Build Build Build expected to kick in this year, the start of the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay which generated national and global adulation for him after Boracay clean up, and the continued decelerating pace of the country’s inflation further down to 4 percent as backdrop, one can only expect a political home- run for Duterte. Absent any fortuitous damning political catastrophe in the coming months, a 90 percent approval rating is in the offing. If he gets this number, it will be a total shameful political annihilation for his opponents, particularly the destabilizers of the country onward to the culmination of his term. So, uwian na!
Obviously, Anti Dutertes have practically depleted all their ammunition in shooting down Duterte’s numbers. The issue on Extra Judicial Killing (EJK) is now in comma, awaiting its last breath with the latest SWS survey confirming people’s support on the government’s drug war and the continued detention of Delima on drug charges whose domestic and global support have already diminished. The corruption issue as promoted by Trillanes will soon vanish as he fades away politically with the end of his term in May as Senator, heading most likely to jail with the current and forthcoming cases he will be facing after baring his dimpled political ass of parliamentary immunity. Next month, March 15, our country’s withdrawal from ICC will take effect with no indication of having the results of the preliminary examination in the horizon. The issue on tyranny and dictatorship has remained an imagined concern with distorted concoction as far as the people are concerned, hence, its failure to gain a momentum of support. The Martial Law in Mindanao, which has been ruled as constitutional by the SC 3 times, has instigated a paradigm shift of how the Filipino people look at the Martial Law under the 1987 Constitution with their acceptance of the declaration and with open arms and legs as opposed to the climate of terror and fear akin to Marcos Martial Law which Anti Duterte wanted to instill in the country’s consciousness with desperation.
If we are to describe the anti Duterte forces in the political battle with Duterte, they are nothing less than “political zombies” roaming around with no direction - unarmed, scary and isolated from the masses. The inability of the Liberal Party to have a complete slate of 12 for the May elections is a confirmation of a party’s depleted resources – both money and talent. Its failure to convince other parties to join them in fighting Duterte in the coming elections is an affirmation of the existence of the curse embedded on any level of association with the LP for the political exercise being considered as a “kiss of death”. In a nutshell, the Anti Duterte forces are now politically impotent, and with its depleted libido, we cannot expect it to put up such exciting performance that will titillate the public’s imagination in May elections and beyond.
The case of the arrest of Maria Ressa of Rappler is one indication of the Duterte antagonists’ desperate effort to pull out an election issue against the administration. Such however is considered misplaced and a belated one. It is a public knowledge that Maria’s narrative is a narrative of lies, deceit and a concoction of slanted information designed to win the public sympathy and drag the name of Duterte at the heart of the issue. This is purely a libel case between 2 private individuals filed in 2012 at the height of PNoy’s ouster move of the late CJ Corona which involves an accuser who has no links whatsoever with Duterte. But they used this as a golden opportunity to drag his name by hyping the libel case and arrest of Maria as that of an assault against freedom of the press. Of course, seeing Maria’s charming face, (at least from my perspective - joke), mainstream media and yellow idiotic political pundits joined the call to aim their guns at Duterte. Yes, it’s a 180 degree-spike of the story just to bring Digong at the center of the controversy which many reject as too much of a hard sell for the Filipino people to swallow. And so, they puke it out!
If Anti Dutertes are still politically sane, they should ask themselves before jumping into the show of Maria Ressa - is this a correct political strategy to bring down the numbers of Duterte? Will such story win the hearts of the Filipino people?
Domestically, the narrative proved to be fatal to the cause of the Anti Dutertes. They just had themselves shot on their feet. For one, Maria failed to get the support and sympathy of her peers. The National Press Club did not agree with her that her case is a political harassment. And this is shared by a substantial number of influential journalists who wrote their opposition to the propaganda being peddled around saying that the country’s freedom of the press is under attack. Of course, she found solace from the support of noted Anti Duterte media groups like the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMRF) and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) which have been bad mouthing Duterte since he assumed the Presidency – in short, these bunch of morons camouflaging as journalists are consistent anti Duterte for whatever reasons. – Sanamagan.
So, if we are to assess the impact of such political grandstanding by looking at the social media comments and how the public reacted, it certainly boomeranged. The indifference of politicians on the issue is also revealing. Save for VP Robredo and her yellow minions, and Makabayan block, politicians from the other parties refused to comment on the matter to avoid it from being politicized. Indeed, it has not reached the level of it becoming an election issue which Maria Ressa wanted to project to inflict damage on the administration candidates’ winning chance. On the contrary, DDS and neutral individuals have rallied behind Duterte who look at Maria Ressa’s action as one destabilizing effort knowing her as an American citizen who wants to wreak havoc in the country by maligning the administration in the name of press freedom. This is the kind of narrative which the people believe, thus debunking Maria Ressa’s malicious lies.
Internationally, as expected, Maria Ressa won the support of the global mainstream media and prominent personalities who cried such an attack against press freedom in the country. Her case is a confirmation of the continued existence of that global machinery to destroy the image of the country under Digong in the world stage. We had these since Duterte became President and we witnessed how he fought valiantly against such interventionist campaign in defense of our sovereignty.
Obviously, the global destabilizing campaign seeks to convince international entities and countries from the west to impose sanctions against our government to place our country into an economic peril. Once the people suffer, it will be easy for them to change their heart and go against the administration, thus forcing Digong out of the equation. It’s a classic demonic strategy for these people to exploit the sufferings of the citizens of one country for their selfish ends. But the reality these idiots will have to contend is the fact that the global community is divided into two different worlds – the US and Europe world on one hand, and the China and Russia world with their allies on the other hand. Fortunately for our country, Digong masterfully managed to put our existence in both worlds. Such that when US and Canada threatened to hold off their AIDS and arms purchase on human rights issue, Digong went to China, Russia and their allies for help to which he got more than what asked for with no conditions at all. When America finally changed its heart on the AIDS to woo the country, Digong rejected the offer for help due to sovereignty issues. So, to blackmail our country’s sovereignty and force it into submission to the vassals of the West is outright stupidity. The President is way too advance for you to trap him with such amateurish political maneuvering. In your face!
Ah, maybe these moronic destabilizers are hoping that just like the case of Venezuela, Trump will just declare his support to VP Robredo as the new President, thereby shoving away Digong to the jubilation of the Anti Duterte forces. If this how they think, then it is a confirmation that the destabilizers are meth addicts which deserved to be tokhanged for being now a social risk with such hallucinating minds. Of course, these 2 countries have different standing. Venezuela’s opposition has the substantial support of the people which is the primordial consideration why America is supporting it. Besides, at this early, the opposition leader has already sold the soul of its country to America. So, it is a sure ball for the US to put its bet on a subservient political leader. In our case, the opposition’s support is a mere drop in the bucket with Digong enjoying such massive backing from millions of Filipinos willing to put their lives and limb on the line for the President and sovereignty of the country. Besides, the group which will ultimately benefit with the ousting of Digong is not the group of VP Robredo with the hemorrhaging state of the LP. It will be the reds and its militant allies on the streets which have the capacity to snatch the state power in an oust Duterte scenario. So, even if VP Robredo offers her political ass to Trump, the latter will just snub it for the obvious reason of being no use to American interest. He will in fact do what he exactly does – woo Duterte considering our country’s importance to its imperialistic presence in this region. Simply put, all scenarios they expect to elicit with their global political grandstanding are nowhere in sight. They are simply products of meth-driven hallucinating minds.
In the ultimate analysis, the destabilizers have realized that they are not winning their battle in our land. Hence, they bring their fight outside of the country where they can launch an unhampered insidious attack at all fronts with the help of their global collaborators with the intention of bringing our country down to its knees. And paradoxically, these idiotic traitors call themselves as nationalists. Sanamagan!
In their desperation, they used almost all instrumentalities in the UN, international entities, human rights institutions and what have you to paint a global scenario that the world is against Duterte. And we witnessed how the President has valiantly fought for our national interests in fending off these manipulative and interventionist assault on our independence as we journey towards progress domestically. The question that every Filipino should ask then in the light of these global attacks against us – do we owe the world anything that we have to reach out to them and explain our case? Do we really care what the world says about how we do things in our country? If the world is run by unscrupulous demonic power brokers lurking in the halls of the UN or in the sidelines of the so called “global cockpit” where betting on how and when to rip off helpless countries around the world, then Filipinos should not give a damn on how the world sees us, much less says about us. UN can fuck itself for all we care. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and with all the UN Rapporteurs and experts along with their Filipino collaborators can congregate themselves into a global community of idiotic pervs where orgysm is the name of their game. We should not give a damn at all. Our country’s existence is not and should not be at the mercy of these global mercenaries. We run it. It is ours alone.
Finally, for the PCOO which is due to travel around Europe to explain the state of the country’s press freedom, we appeal to you to bring the message of the Filipino people and that of Digong to the West, UN and other international entities and please make sure that our message will reverberate around the globe – “FUCK THE WORLD!” – Jun Avelino
(You may share if you want – Jun Avelino)
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
BY ANTONIO CONTRERAS FEBRUARY 19, 2019
LIFE would have been simpler had Maria Ressa not lied about the registration papers of Rappler, had she fully and correctly paid her taxes, and practiced the due diligence expected of a journalist to always write balanced and not attack pieces. Had Rappler remained true to the code of ethics for journalists, which lists among its tenets the obligation to seek and publish both sides of any story, and to be skeptical of every narrative and to presume any accused as innocent, it would have been easier to stand by its side and fight for the freedom of the press.
The freedom of the press is a much-valued element of any democracy. But because it is held up high, much is also expected of those who appeal to its force. An adversarial press is a given, for it is a necessary check on the power of the elites and the state. However, in order to ensure that the press becomes a credible bearer of the truth, its objective must be to focus on facts and not for it to peddle its own partisan political biases.
If there should be any master which media entities must serve, it must be truth itself, not the government, and certainly also not the political opposition. A media entity should never be labeled as an opposition newspaper, or a pro-government television network. It would be technically a diminution of the credibility of a media entity for it to be described as a critic of government, simply because the duty of media is to propagate the nonpartisan truth, and not to serve the political opposition, or to act like it. It is supposed to expose the lies not only of government, but also of its critics. It is expected to fact-check not only one side of the political divide, but all sides.
Should media fail to live up to these expectations, then they stop being genuine media entities, but instead become simply influencers and propagandists. They turn their entire platform into one big opinion page, or show.
It is unfortunate that media entities not only here but abroad have taken up a more biased outlook. But in other countries, media’s bias tends to be less partisan but more ideological, with some networks taking up more liberal views while others projecting themselves as more conservative. In the US for example, MSNBC is considered liberal, Fox News projects itself as conservative, while CNN struggles to be somewhere in the middle.
In the Philippines, where political ideologies are amorphous, unarticulated and even nonexistent for many politicians, media bias is denied its ideological rationalization, and is now simply reduced to plain partisanship. This is not to say that there are no individual journalists whose biases are founded on their ideological beliefs, as seen for example in news reporters who still carry their left-wing, anti-Marcos sentiments which they nurtured during their student activism days.
The danger in having a deeply held bias, be it ideological or simply partisan, is that this becomes an impediment to performing the task of looking for facts, interpreting events and telling the truth as it is, unclouded by any personal blinders. It compromises the work which is expected of a journalist. It is no longer just manifested in the spin given to news, the choice of words used to deliver the story, and the way headlines are crafted. It is also now manifested in the body language, facial expression and voice intonation of a reporter doing an on-cam report, or of a studio anchor. This is now aggravated by the blurring of the divide between news and opinion, one that is often committed by radio-hosts who mix up their commentaries with the news they deliver, leading to the appropriation of news and merely appending this to the articulation of partisan opinions.
It would be accurate to say that from among all the media entities in the country, it would be Rappler that has acted, often with audacity, and in some instances with impunity, like a partisan pit bull. And its yellow partisan color is simply too palpable to even hide by any pretension to journalistic integrity. Much as Rappler tries to occasionally produce narratives that appear somewhat out of its partisan line, there is simply an overwhelming array of pieces that it tries to project as news but are nothing but one-sided demolition jobs.
During the term of former President Noynoy Aquino, Rappler acted like a government attack dog during the impeachment of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona. Its pages simply did not accord the beleaguered Chief Justice a fair treatment. And this is nowhere most pronounced than in the now assailed story written by Reynaldo Santos Jr. Consumed with the goal of impugning the integrity of Corona, Ressa did not do her due diligence and failed to uphold the ethical requirement of actively seeking the side of those whom Rappler adversely writes about, like private businessman Wilfredo Keng whom the article painted as a shady businessman involved in criminal activities.
And now that Rappler has been taken to court, Ressa’s defenders paint her as a victim of political harassment. They paint her as if she is now the Joan of Arc of press freedom.
It should not be said that this column does not defend the freedom of the press. It would be hypocritical of me to join the lynching of Ressa by abandoning my freedom to express, considering that the very soul that inhabits my narratives is the force that freedom of expression enables.
Ressa cries that the libel case filed against her, Santos and Rappler is an attack on press freedom.
On the contrary, it was Rappler, Santos and Ressa who launched an attack on press freedom. They allowed their gross partisanship to violate the code ethics for journalists when they irresponsibly published an overtly biased piece.
Monday, February 18, 2019
February 17, 2019 by benign0
If one uses Twitter to sample the general sentiment of the Filipino public, you’d think “press freedom” is top of mind for the majority of Filipinos. With the shrillness of the rhetoric of “activists” that populate social media, one would be forgiven in thinking that “press freedom” is the game-changing issue that will determine this year’s elections.
Sadly, this isn’t true. Most Filipinos don’t give a shit about “press freedom”. It doesn’t help that “activist” personalities who champion the cause of this dubious advocacy have come to be seen by many as elitist social climbers who are just out to satisfy their virtue signalling addiction.
The data shows that “press freedom” is not a strong election issue — which is why the primary poster person of this “cause”, Maria Ressa, is increasingly isolating herself and possibly dooming her organisation, Rappler, to a spiral towards insolvency. Rather than be a CEO, Ressa seems to prefer the embrace of the snowflake community. Rather than be a journalist, Ressa would rather be an emotional blackmailing shill. Rather than focus on her legal troubles, Ressa would rather seek comfort in an echo chamber she engineered for herself.
It seems, though, that the majority of Filipinos no longer fall for this sort of phony melodrama, and politicians are taking heed. Even the Liberal Party claim to be listening to their constituents’ concerns this time. Indeed, if they focus on the basics — listening and evaluating real data — Filipino politicians need no longer waste precious campaign resources on non-issues like Maria Ressa’s pet “press freedom” tantrum.