“Speaking of corruption of the press, while this happens…I can attest to the fact that press freedom is very alive and often abused”
The press, as a watchdog, often writes about graft and corruption in government.
But, truth to tell coming from a veteran journalist like myself, the press is not all free from corruption. And corruption of the press which would include print and broadcast (radio and television) takes many forms.
The most common form is direct bribery, when somebody gives you money to write against somebody. This is where journalists should use their discretion and circumspection because direct attacks against somebody often results in libel which is a crime.
Some inexperienced journalists end up committing direct libel, unaware of the fact that writing something derogatory, which ruins somebody’s reputation tends to be libelous.
It could be true, but note that libel has three basic elements: identification of the person , accusation or something that tends to ruin somebody’s reputation, and malice. While malice is difficult to prove, the crime of libel carries imprisonment and fines.
In my 74 years as a journalist, I have been sued for libel a number of times, some of which I had to apologize for because of recklessness. The cases were dismissed. But, Santa Banana, just being investigated by a prosecutor and attending a trial is stressful.
But, speaking of corruption of the press, while this happens, as a journalist who walked the corridors of power, had seen history in the making and is still pounding on my Olympia typewriter to write my columns twice a week, I can attest to the fact that press freedom is very alive and often abused.
But, personally, I would rather have an abusive press than a suppressed and restricted press like they do in communist countries and countries ruled by a dictator.
As a journalist, I must confess I am not a saint.
I have compromised for the sake of family, country and for God.
But, the fact remains, that people still read me because they believe in me. That’s what matters in the life of a true-blooded journalist like me.
Oh yes, my gulay, some of the press and columnists have become Public Relations Officers of well known big businesses and conglomerates.
Whether or not the PR people are telling the truth about big business really depends.
Some business columnists I know write good things about certain businesses and conglomerates not because they are being paid for it, but are truly writing the truth.
And, more often than not, many people learn about business activities from the columnists, since they take the time to analyze business activities. They go out of their way and not only analyze, they provide the truth.
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In the case of President Marcos’ veto of the bill which seeks to create an economic zone alongside the P740 billion aeropolis in Bulacan, for instance, the veto was a move to cure some inherent defects of the bill and not meant just to discontinue it.
That eco-zone would definitely provide millions of jobs urgently needed by the country and make investments especially from foreign investors, more attractive, two elements most urgently needed by the country in its push for economic recovery.
Both senators and members of Congress realize this.
I admit I am a fan of San Miguel with Ramon S. Ang, now as its CEO.
More than a fan, I am an admirer of RSA, who graduated as an engineer from Far Eastern University, and did not have to graduate with an MBA from a well-known Ivy League school.
But the late San Miguel Chairman and CEO, Danding Cojuangco, had a liking for RSA because both love to tinker with vintage cars.
RSA became the president and COO of San Miguel, which enabled him to get the Soriano-founded San Miguel out of its core business and into other business like infrastructure and tourism that led the San Miguel acquisition of the MRT-7 and expansion of the super-highway going all the way up to Pangasinan and La Union, which made travel to Baguio and the North much easier and faster.
And note that the Bulacan aeropolis is a 2,500 hectare flat land, costing P740 billion and all at the expense of San Miguel, without any funding from the government.
As soon as the P740 billion aeropolis gets going, it will truly be a gamechanger and will be called New Manila International Airport, an airport that we Filipinoss can truly be proud of, in five years. And all because of the vision of RSA.
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The Court of Appeals, which tries cases involving questions of facts, reiterated its earlier decision affirming the decision of the Regional Trial Court filed by Chinese businessman William Teng who Ressa and her ex-writer called a “smuggler” and was definitely libelous because of mistaken facts, besmirching his name.
But Ressa and Rappler want to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
Santa Banana, on what grounds? Since the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts, but of questions of law.
I can almost predict the outcome of the case. In other words, as Rigoberto Tiglao, my favorite columnist, said, finally the late Chief Justice Renato Corona had his justice done from beyond the grave.
In so far as the violation of the Constitution by Ressa and Rappler which led to the closure of Rappler, the facts are also clear that Rappler is controlled by Omidyar, an American network.