Category: juan ponce enrile

it’s more fun in the senate

we’ve always suspected naman that senators, just like the prez and the veep, the reps and govs and mayors, are traditionally willing to spend tons of money and energy to get elected because it’s an investment that pays back, pays off, big big big time, one way or another.

but what we’ve never heard before — go go go miriam! — is a senator confirming our suspicions, at least about the senate.  the verrrry generous christmas gifts-not-bribes of php 2.46 million each in “additional maintenance and other operating expenses” for 18 senators who happen, or maybe jockeyed, to be in the good books of the all-powerful senate president is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg.  sabi nga ni senator miriam,

Imagine a yearly pork barrel of P200 million, P2.2 million monthly for staff salaries and office expenses, a P500,000 annual travel allowance and an honorarium that ranges between P30,000 to P60,000 a month as chair of a Senate committee.

And don’t forget the regular monthly salary of P75,000.

An unscrupulous senator can simply make it appear that he or she is using all these perks legitimately and then pocket these. 

over a six -year term, even a three-year term, bawing bawi na, tubong lugaw pa.  the most scandalizing thing is, it’s all perfectly legit.  worse, most senators seem to feel entitled, think there’s nothing wrong with such practices in a country mired in poverty, after all, ang daming gastos, ang daming humihingi ng tulong, ang daming relief ops na kailangang suportahan, not to mention their sosyal lifestyles na kailangang i-maintain.  worst, it’s like a reward system, and the pro-status-quo majority are the biggest winners.  no wonder nothing ever changes.

media & national interest

in the senate inquiry into media’s role in the aug. 23 hostage-taking, senate president juan ponce enrile was critical of maria ressa’s wall street journal article, Noynoy Flunks His First Test.

What prompted you to write such a critique … put on the line the quality of leadership of the newly elected president of the country? (and) At bottom issue is the collision of two interests: there’s the obligation to your audience and faithfulness to your calling, at the same time we are Filipinos with a country to serve.  What if national interests are damaged by the performance of your duties?  Where do you draw the line between serving your country’s national interest and serving your ethical and professional obligations as journalists? … need a certain amount of caution in the manner of disseminating information …  in carefully calibrated language… (or something to this effect)

ressa’s response:

Freedom of speech is universal.  There is no conflict of interest for journalists in or out of the Philippines.  We do not write with intent of bringing anything down…  hoping for better action from government…. (and) I merely laid out the facts … the way events played out … there really was failure of the chain of command… intention was to constructively criticize … facts unassailable… rescue attempt botched… levels of incompetence… political factionalism… negative light? …  the farthest thing on my mind… (and) We have to make a distinction between the job of a public relations person vs the job of a journalist… (or something to this effect)

but but but even if it were true that ressa merely laid out facts, still she was selective about the facts she laid out — she said nothing on how media flunked, too, bakit nagmamalinis.   and in fact, she went beyond laying out facts when she issued that judgment, the opinion, that the president flunked his first test, AND used it as TITLE, setting the unmistakably negative tone of the article. kasi pala, the solicited article was not for the news but for the opinion page.   mary kissel, editorial board member of the wall street journal, said in a phone interview tuesday:

… what Ressa wrote “wasn’t a news story,” but was an article for the paper’s opinion pages where “you’re expected to have an opinion.”

and even if ressa were right, that noynoy flunked his first test, why why why rub it in for all the world to read and to recall, and, of all places, in the world’s most prestigious business paper where the trustworthiness of a country is assessed, ika nga ni enrile, starting with the quality of the leadership.   why why why further shake global confidence in our country when that confidence is so badly shaken na.   like c_at commented in ressa, media, flunk test:

Wallstreet Journal, the newspaper read by investment and hedge fund managers, pension administrators, venture capitalists and mutual funds managers.

And these are the people Aquino would like to invite for investments in the Philippines during his US visit one week from now. Very timely indeed.

i’m not saying ressa shouldn’t have written an article for the wall street journal when she did.   i’m just saying she was selective and one-sided; she could have critiqued everyone involved, including the media that she’s part of.   also, she could have gone for a less judgmental and sensational title and so helped mitigate rather than exacerbate the damage.   puwede naman to give the president the benefit of the doubt muna, kahit pa grudgingly.   nothing “PR” about that.

i liked abc 5’s luchi cruz valdez‘ response to: where do you draw the line (between national interests and media interests) :

We draw the line where human lives are at stake, number 1. Number 2 we draw the line where the life of a legitimate government is at stake.

neat sideswipe, that ;))   as for the question i raised earlier, as to whether ressa’s judgment is a reflection of that of her bosses the lopezes, say ni  armida siguion-reyna in her tribune column “Honeymoon is over?”

The chismis is Ressa’s boss Gabby Lopez isn’t happy about it, but this stays scuttlebutt until confirmed.

cocktales’ vic agustin confirms:

ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III is already in the United States, a de-facto advance party of the business delegation that was invited to accompany P.Noy in his first foreign trip.

His dilemma: Damage control ensuing from the Wall Street Journal opinion piece written by Maria Ressa, his own network’s news and current affairs chief.

oh well.   maybe we shouldn’t be counting on foreigners too much anyway?   instead, tap rich filipinos with secret bank accounts abroad to invest in their own country for a change?   heh.   fat chance.

at least there’s still leila de lima’s report, and the prospect of heads rolling, to look forward to.   that should help, kahit paano.