Noli: Gloria’s landmine

John Nery, opinion writer for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, wrote an article criticizing the ethics of a TV news anchor turned politician turned TV news anchor again. [READ HERE]

Excerpts from Nery’s article:

    “Noli de Castro was vice president for six years and a senator for three. Last November 8, some four months after leaving government service, he reassumed his role as principal anchor of the flagship ABS-CBN newscast, “TV Patrol.”

    “I have no objection to the so-called revolving door in journalism, the practice where journalists join government service for a time and then return to the profession. Done right, done with circumspection and utmost professionalism, both sides of the door can profit. I think, for example, of Salvador P. Lopez, journalist-turned-diplomat-turned-journalist. Government service benefited from his insight and erudition, his facility with words and his capacity for work. When he returned to newspapering (he wrote regularly for the Inquirer in its early years), his writing was deepened by his experience in government and diplomacy.”

Noli is no Salvador Lopez.

    “But De Castro, simply “Kabayan” (Countryman) to millions of Filipinos, reminds me that there are dangers to the revolving door; for one thing, it can give media’s audience an attack of vertigo.

    “Last week, I heard De Castro (on the dzMM simulcast of “TV Patrol”) introduce a news report by Jorge Cariño on former Gov. Jose Leviste’s evasion-of-sentence case. Cariño, a savvy reporter with good sources and an excellent manner of delivery, was reporting live from the New Bilibid Prison, after the first hearing on Leviste’s forays had been concluded. De Castro began by asking Cariño about the remarkable statements the former Batangas governor said during the hearing, and then immediately focused on Leviste’s claim about housing.

    “Apparently, Leviste had cast his net of blame wide, and implied that the government housing project constructed near the national prison had contributed to the current culture in the NBP, which allowed him to move in and out of prison with great ease.

    “But De Castro was, of course, housing czar during the last two-thirds of the Arroyo years, and his question was meant to prove that Leviste did not know what he was talking about. Perhaps Leviste really didn’t, but it struck me, while listening to De Castro, that he was using Cariño’s report to kill Leviste’s aspersions.

    “Whether De Castro likes it or not, he was part of the Arroyo administration. He will find himself fielding more and more adverse news reports, either on “TV Patrol” or on his radio program. If he continues to conduct himself as an ex-politician, should he still call himself a journalist?”

Speaking of having to “field more and more adverse reports”, Noli, it must be pointed out, was the housing czar when Globe Asiatique, utilizing fake housing loans, scammed billions of pesos from the Pag-IBIG Fund.

Anyway, Noli, I suspect, is not only an ethically-challenged journalist, he is also another landmine planted by Gloria Arroyo.

Two months ago, De Castro, along with his ilk, tried to turn the execution of drug mules by the Chinese government into another Flor Contemplacion case. Recall that the Flor Contemplacion case almost brought down the Ramos government. (FVR ended up firing both his secretaries of Labor and Foreign Affairs to appease the mobs and save his hide.)

Below is Journalist Ellen Tordesillas’ account of Kabayan “at work”.

    “The networks obviously wanted to replicate a Flor Contemplacion situation, a media event in 1995 that violated all rules of journalism, ignoring the facts of the case and reported based on emotions.

    “I watch ABS-CBN and Noli de Castro was a turnoff. His attempt to influence viewers towards his distorted view was obvious.

    “In the man-on-the street survey of TV Patrol last month whether the three deserved to be executed, Noli de Castro couldn’t hide his disappointment that 80 percent answered in the affirmative. Last Monday, they asked their viewers if they thought that the government had done enough for the three, 45 per cent said “No” and 55 percent said “Yes.”

    “De Castro still couldn’t take it. He said, “Halos tie lang.”

    “He didn’t stop there. He said the government (was he referring to the Department of Foreign Affairs?) failed in explaining to the public the case of the three drug mules. “May gusto kasing pumapel kasi.”

    “Yes, there’s one who is trying to exploit the situation: De Castro and his ilk.”

Maybe that’s why Noli’s kabayans are switching over to Willie Revillame. They are not anymore the same stupid people who elected him to the Senate and the Vice presidency.

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Uniffors.com. Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.