Perhaps Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was out of line cussing at “news” media organisations Inquirer.net and ABS-CBN News. But then his assertions about the instances where he alleges he had been slandered by these media outlets need to be addressed. One such case surrounds reports published during his campaign that he had ₱211 million stashed away in a bank.
The Inquirer fielded dozens of “news reports” on Duterte’s alleged “hidden wealth” kept in an account with the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). But up to the very last “report”, much of the sources of these “exposés” trace their origins to the originator of this rumour, convicted-then-pardoned mutineer “senator” Antonio Trillanes IV. There was no actual “investigative journalism” conducted by the Inquirer throughout this vilification campaign — only sloppy “journalism” hinged on a single source: the hearsay information of “senator” Axe-To-Grind Trillanes.
Indeed, once confidence in its financial integrity is threatened, a bank eventually looks out for Number One. After keeping mum through much of the Inquirer-led sensationalisation of Trillanes’s accusations, BPI Managing Director Jose Teodoro Limcaoco issued a statement on the 29th April 2016 denying the authenticity of content used by the Inquirer in these “reports”…
“I don’t know where Sen. Trillanes got his information, but the graphic posted by the [Philippine Daily] Inquirer showing alleged credits, that is not a BPI document,” Limcaoco, who used to serve as the president of BPI Family Savings Bank, said in a mobile phone reply.
Limcaoco’s statements distancing his employer from this circus came following growing threats of a bank run against BPI instigated by Filipinos angered over the possibility that BPI had conspired with Trillanes and the Inquirer to flout the Philippines’ bank secrecy laws.
Nonetheless, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) today issued an equally scathing response to Duterte describing his words as a “rant” that is “incoherent and foulmouthed” and ones that were ” absolutely twisted.” NUJP Secretary General Dabet Panelo went further to assert in his statement…
“Sir, your curses and your threats cannot and will not prevent us, the community of independent Filipino journalists, from fulfilling our duty to inform the people as best we can of what is happening to our country, whether you agree with what we report or not,” he said.
Unfortunately for the NUJP, its statement falls short of actually addressing the core origins not only of Duterte’s rant but the overall distrust Filipinos have developed for the business of “news reporting” mainstream corporate media and its cadre of traditional journalists engage in. Indeed, nowhere in the statement issued by the NUJP were any of Duterte’s grievances, such as that of the sloppy reporting mounted by the Inquirer around the Trillanes’s BPI “exposé”, addressed.
So are the Inquirer and ABS-CBN News teams actually fulfilling their “duty” to “inform the people” as the NUJP asserts?
The answer to that had increasingly become debatable over the last 30 years. Both news organisations, after all, owe their existence and ascent to the heights of profitability they enjoy today to their symbiotic existence with the Aquino-Cojuangco clan and the Roman Catholic Church. Filipinos have since seen through the subtle hijacking of the “EDSA people power revolution” narrative by this industrial-politico-religious trinity of oligarchs and the direct role the Inquirer and ABS-CBNhad played in turning Filipinos into docile indoctrinated minions of an ideology that has come to be called “The Cult of Yellow”.
What seems to be happening in Philippine society today is a mass public unplugging from the “matrix” of delusion manufactured by the Inquirer and ABS-CBN and piped into Filipinos’ screens for three decades. Backdropped by that reality, the NUJP’s response to Duterte and the trite assurances of uprightness and righteousness issued by these mainstream media outfits are severely wanting in credibility.