How the Daily Inquirer makes the Philippines an angry nation

I’ve argued that Philippine media contribute in a major way to the dysfunction, strife and negative attitudes many Filipinos have toward their nation, their government, specific people (such as President Aquino), and even Filipinos as a whole. I’d like to pursue this by looking at some specifics. There are several points to bear in mind as we embark on our analysis of one front page, that of the Philippine Daily Inquirer of February 19, 2015:

  • The Philippine Daily Inquirer is the most popular of the “broadsheet” dailies, and is not generally considered a “tabloid”.
  • Filipinos rely upon newspapers as their primary and most trusted source of information about the nation (Philippine Trust Index).
  • Global ratings give mixed evaluations to Philippine media. On one hand, there are no heavy handed restraints from the government; the press are free. On the other hand . . . “The Philippine media scene is characterized by large, elite, and often family-owned conglomerates with interests in media and other large sectors of the economy.” (Freedom House report on freedom of the press in the Philippines).
  • Media are self-regulated. There is no government entity that provides rules for journalistic integrity. Ethical standards in the journalism profession are very weak.

Here’s the front page that is the subject of our analysis:


There are three levels of opportunity for editors to manipulate the news.

  • Selection of top stories and page layout
  • Wording of headlines
  • Content of articles

Let’s look at the three levels for the publication on  February 19 and consider what we see.

Selection of top stories and page layout

We know the Philippines is undergoing considerable threat of instability as an outcome of the Battle of Mamasapano and President Aquino’s decision-making either during that episode or after it, when he notably did not attend the arrival of caskets in Manila. An editor can make a conscious decision to calm emotions or stir them up depending on selection of front page content. Here’s what we see:

  • The lead headline is confrontational, feeding anger into the national mood.
  • The headline suggests military and police veterans object to the way the President of the Philippines has handled the Mamasapano incident. Is this a coup in the making, we wonder?
  • There is actually balance in the articles on the front page: two subordinate headers are favorable to President Aquino by showing a reconciliation of popular outrage, one about his visit to families of the SAF 44, and the other Senator Poe’s prediction that PNP Chief Purisima’s testimony would help the President.
  • We have subordinate stories about the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee, the US payment for damage to Tubbataha Reef, a human interest story about Cardinal Tagle and Lent, and a report on the return of 16 firearms by the MILF.

How different the total presentation would have been had the editor selected one of the reconciliation stories as the bold lead. In this instance, the Inquirer editors chose conflict over calm. As we get into the content of the stories, we can look at who said what and determine if the lead story deserves Page 1, main headline treatment.

The point to bear in mind is this: if you regularly put down the newspaper or flip off the TV in an angry mood, there is a reason you do so. The fact of the matter is that there are bumps on the road to progress. The greater truth, however, is that the Philippines is a no more dysfunctional or stressed than any other democracy. It is just that you are being force-fed a diet of negativity, of turmoil and anger.

It is unfortunate for the Philippine nation, I think. The free press is democracy’s information clearing house. If citizens have good information, they can select good leaders, generally be confident of their nation and its leadership, and they can make good choices in their lives. When the media play games with the public, attitudes are likely to be poor, and decisions even poorer.

Wording of headlines

We’ve observed that the lead headline is confrontational and negative toward President Aquino. Let’s look at two other subordinate headings, for they show how editors place editorial comment in the headlines, which is as far as many readers go:

  1. “Alphaland: Binay didn’t get P651-M kickback”
  2. “US apologizes but pays only $2M for Tubbataha damage”

Are the headlines factual? Yes.

Are they true? No. Because the facts in Case 1 are incomplete and they are twisted in Case 2.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee met for several hours last week to probe the joint venture agreement between the Boy Scouts and Alphaland, a real estate developer. It was a dramatic hearing with Senators Osmena, Angara and Marcos joining the normal trio of inquisitors, Senators Pimentel, Cayetano and Trillanes, and with Billionaire Bobby Ongpin joining as a primary resource person. Many headlines could have been written from this lengthy meeting. Indeed, in the electronic version of the Inquirer, we had this one, but it did not make the next morning’s front page:

Now there are the two sides of the story, in a black and white choice, yet the Inquirer editors could not find an objective middle ground for their report. They chose one side to headline in the print edition.

Here, by the way, is a neutral headline: “Blue-Ribbon panel investigates P651 kickback charge“.

Why did the Inquirer choose only one side of the story for the headline? We can only speculate, but we can know for sure it was poor journalism.

The editorialized treatment in the Tabbataha headline is found in the the word “only”. It is a comparative term – an editorial term – that implies the US shortchanged the Philippines.

The fact is, the US paid only $2 million.

The truth is, the US paid what the Philippines demanded.

Look at the difference two words make:

  1. “US apologizes but pays only $2M for Tubbataha damage”
  2. “US apologizes and pays $2M for Tubbataha damage” 

Or here’s a simpler, less loaded version which leads readers directly into the story so they can continue their discovery of information:

  • US pays Tubbataha tab

The Inquirer’s editorialized headline is sure to induce resentment against the United States. Is it ethical that the Inquirer, in very subtle ways, undermines an alliance that may be extraordinarily beneficial to the Philippines?

Does the paper have a right to meddle, to make the news, involving foreign affairs? Is it ethically proper?

Content of articles

Here are links to three of the articles pertinent to this discussion:

  1. “Answer hard questions now”
  2. “Alphaland: Binay didn’t get P651-M kickback”
  3. “US apologizes but pays only $2M for Tubbataha damage”

The five people demanding answers in Case 1 were House Reps Acedillo, Alejano, Bataoil, Acop and Pagdilao Jr.

  • Acedillo and Alejano are members of the party list Magalo, whose president is Victor Remulla, a spokesman of Vice President Binay. Acedillo was an air force pilot and officer for 9 years and Alejano was an AFP officer for 7 years.
  • Bataoil is a former PNP community relations officer and held several directorships in the PNP.
  • Acop is a retired general of the PNP.
  • Pagdilao is a member of the party list Party List ACT-CIS, a leftist group that has been critical of the Aquino administration as a matter of policy. He has a 30 year history of AFP, lawyering and PNP service.

Although headlined as a military/police confrontation, it is clear this is a political group advocating political interests. It is not a military group with the audacity to confront their Commander in Chief.

As we read the text of the article, we learn that these representatives only want an explanation from Mr. Aquino and are not pressing for his resignation. The inquirer has given the message the tone of an ultimatum . . . answer, or else.

Or else what? Coup?

In the ordinary  course of business, this story would never make the lead headline. Only as an uprising against the President of the Philippines would it earn that priority, because it portrays a major conflict. And so that is the way the Inquirer played it: a crisis of confrontation between AFP/PNP and the President.

The truth: there is no such uprising. This was five representatives with a political opinion. They represent no military or policing organization.

The Inquirer passed on two positive stories . . . not positive for being pro-Aquino but for showing that reconciliation was possible . . . and instead went for hyped  conflict and enduring confrontation. The editorial choice was to provoke more anger.

The Alphaland story was originally published quickly on-line as a brief report solely on the Alphaland denial, and then was expanded to incorporate the rest of the story in print. The story fairly lays out both sides of the debate that occurred during the hearing in “he said, she said” fashion.

The Tubbataha Reef story carries on with the editorialized treatment in the headlines. Here are the two lead paragraph that reflects the general tenor of the “news” report:

The United States has paid the Philippines nearly $2 million as compensation for the damage caused by a US warship on the protected Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, far below the fine of up to $27 million recommended by environmental groups.

A party-list lawmaker called the compensation “peanuts.”

The lawmaker is party list Kabataan representative Terry Ridon. Kabataan is a leftist youth party that is consistently critical of the Aquino Administration. In the story, it is clear that Ridon’s criticism was of the Philippine government’s decisions to apply regular fines rather than go after big money. Environmentalists were also critical of the Philippine government.

Also notable is what was OMITTED from the Inquirer story, information included in Cebu papers: the United States will help with the physical restoration of the reefs. Also omitted was any reference to other parties (China) that have damaged reefs and never paid a peso.

The Inquirer, in this storyessentially stands in as a proxy public relations firm for environmentalists and leftists.

The argument

“Oh, Joe, you are just an overly sensitive American! It’s no big deal. Even American media are slanted.”

Yes, that’s true. But the US has a great many different media, various consumer and ethical watchdogs, and the kind of broad, deep social dialogue that makes it difficult for one largely negative view to dominate that dialogue. Here it is very different. It is my contention that these examples reflect a very serious pattern of an entire nation’s conversation with itself. The media ethical lapses establish the Philippine national identity, and it is negative, angry and divided.

Here’s what I suggest you do. Take any day’s front page of any Philippine daily newspaper and ask:

  • Does the paper lead with information or emotion?
  • Does the paper lead with positive or negative?
    • Are lead stories real or concocted, for effect? Can you find an alternative that would be attention-getting, objective and good for the Philippines?
    • Are headlines neutral or one-sided? Look for slick words that that slant the out-take.
    • Is content based on issue, with sides built around that issue, or is content based on sides, with the issue fit into that?

I am confident that, in a short while, you will also become dismayed at the relentless negativity and conflict spread across the Philippines as the way things are.

When they aren’t.

When the Inquirer editorializes the news, it is making the news. It is meddling in citizens’ affairs. It is making government’s work more difficult. It is violating journalism ethics. And it helps make the Philippines an angry, negative . . . even unstable . . . nation.

Journalistic Ethics

Does the Inquirer understand journalism ethics?

The Publisher is Raul C. Pangalangan, distinguished lawyer and professor of law at the University of the Philippines College of Law. He was among the list of 22 Supreme Court nominees that was eventually narrowed down to Chief Justice Sereno. He writes commentaries about journalism.

The Inquirer understands journalism ethics.

Does the Inquirer value its role as a member of the Fourth Estate, a fundamental pillar to a healthy, vibrant, knowledgeable democracy? A contributor to the rise of the Philippines as a stable, productive nation?

I’d argue that the Inquirer has three main objectives, and ethical journalism as a foundation of healthy democracy is the least of them. The objectives from all indications are:

  1. Newspaper circulation
  2. Political agendas, perhaps for circulation, perhaps as a player in the circle of impunity
  3. Ethical journalism in support of an informed nation

As I mentioned at the beginning, the Inquirer is given the spotlight here because it is generally considered the BEST of the daily newspapers.  So if the Philippines always seems to be coming apart at the seams, you can fully understand why. Because even the best play it that way.

The fact is, there are many bumps along the road to progress.

The truth is, the Philippines is a vibrant, rising nation, working earnestly to overcome a convoluted history of occupation, corrupt practices and poverty.

In our next blog, guest contributor Andrew Lim will turn the spotlight on some specific media outlets, people and institutions putting out distortions that undermine the nation and its government.

Look for that article Tuesday evening. It helps explain the very negative, angry social chemistry that exists in the Philippine public dialogue.

I’d argue that some healthy portion of that anger ought to be directed toward the media outlets that have abandoned journalistic integrity in favor of private gain, and that are distorting our take of the Philippines as one that is really quite miserable.


154 Responses to “How the Daily Inquirer makes the Philippines an angry nation”
  1. andrewlim8 says:

    OMG! Has Sandy Prieto become Arianna Huffington?

    Have the Romualdezes taken control of the PDI just like the Manila sub-Standard?

    Is the PDI competing with Boy Abunda’s The Buzz, where everything is considered “explosibo”, (even Sarah Geronimo’s school graduation) ?

    Is Raul Pangalangan becoming the biggest threat to the Aquino and Abunda show?


    LOL 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Explosivo! Fantastico! Bizarro! Lunatico!

      I had so much hope about a year ago when I read of Publisher Pangalangan’s credentials and the upstanding mission he states for the Inquirer. Then I read this stuff, day after day, and wonder what happened between what is said and what is done. And who is driving the choice of headlines and headline words. I know in the editorial pages, not the columnists who remain independent, the slant is clearly pro Romualdez and anti Aquino. If we can’t look to the Inquirer to become a globally recognized publication, what publication can give the Philippines that representation in the world’s press? FHM?

      Who are the Philippine journalists who make their name by covering big stories honorably, looking for facts rather than slant?

      • andrewlim8 says:

        I would give Rogue magazine that distinction. The best writing, hands down but it’s not news. Followed by Esquire magazine whom I first thought of as managed by dilettantes. But that Romulo kid is good.

        As for news outlets, maybe Solar News. The voice of Mike Enriquez of GMA7 is calibrated to raise your blood pressure by several millimeters.

  2. You forgot to mention what I mentioned here in a previous comment: the Philippine media is too liberal in the use of anonymous sources.

    • karl garcia says:

      the ” no authority to speak about the issue” source

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, and then they speak. ahahaha

      • It’s a pretty vague reason, but still better than giving no reason for anonymity at all. In other countries, journalistic ethics tend to *require* that reasons for anonymity be disclosed. But here, such a requirement tends to be thrown out of the window. Quick, when was the last time you saw a news story in the Philippine media where someone requested anonymity, and the exact reason for anonymity was explicitly mentioned in the article text?

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, my. That is true, I could have pounded that one like a final nail in the coffin of ethical repute. Anonymous sources off the street, unconfirmed. Headline material. Gross journalism. Horrid. Thanks for raising it here.

      • Is it still possible for you to edit the article and include this as a postscript?

        • Joe America says:

          I would have to go back to dig out the examples or proof and that would be more than I am willing to take on right now. It is also not really consistent with the approach taken on the blog, which is an analysis of the front page for a given day. A better way might be to keep note from this point forward as they come up, and then focus on that as an issue. I could also look at reporters and try to determine if there are consistent editorial tendencies within news reports. I know Rappler had that problem but has since corrected it, as far as I can tell.

          • By the way Joe, I sent you an e-mail a while ago. It has an “interesting” link from the left.

            • Joe America says:

              Yes, typical of ideologically bound people, there is no real agenda other than “we don’t like what we have” so let’s tear the government into shreds and that will be better. Yeah . . . okay.

              I see that DOJ Head de Lima today said that those proposing a Transformation Council could be indicted for insurrection and other laws aimed at protecting Philippine stability. Good for her. If that does not shut down that lunatic thinking, then I hope she follows through.

              Tuesday’s blog is written by Andrew Lim is “in the can” and set for publication. He has a different slant than your article, but I am building up enough steam to do a rant at the leftists again, and the article is excellent testimony as to the inanity of leftist approaches. I’ve saved it for then.

  3. edgar lores says:

    1. Thank you for this. It is indeed an eye-opener.

    2. I scan the Inquirer and other news media in the morning and pay particular attention to the Inquirer and its opinion makers.

    2.1. My reaction to the news and its relentless negativity is generally, “Oh, no, not again”… accompanied by a sinking feeling. I do not perform the proper analysis and apply the criteria and sub-criteria you have listed. Now that you have provided and armed me with this list, I can evaluate the source of that sinking feeling and not attribute it to the lack of sugar in my Ovaltine.

    3. If I may compact the list as a mnemonic:

    o Info or emotion?
    o Positive or negative?
    – Real or concocted?
    – Neutral or one-sided?
    – Issue-based or side-based?

    3.1. That is IPRNI vs. ENCOS.
    3.2. We can now each make a memorable sentence using the first group of letters to remind us of the questions to ask. Mine shall be: Is Pedro Real, Neutral or Insane?
    3.3. I have a feeling Pedro is going to be insane most mornings.

    4. On journalistic ethics, it helps that most newspapers have been pre-identified as anti-this and pro-this. I generally avoid all newspapers except the Inquirer, Rappler and Interaksyon, although I do dip into the others to see that they are being consistently insane. I am hardly ever surprised.

    5. Even in the Inquirer, I tend to bypass certain columnists who I know will (a) induce me back to sleep with their usual slant on any topic; or (b) have me snorting Ovaltine in my nose with their shallow observations.

    6. Ay, life is too short and fleeting.

  4. Great analysis and insights Joe. I do hope Inquirer is not home to paid for journalists by politicians and vested interests groups in the country.

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, joselito. I didn’t dig that deeply into specific writers and don’t really know how to go about discovery on that. I suppose if similar slants keep coming up from the same writer or columnist then we might deduce that there are “extraneous influences”.

      On that note, I don’t know if that is much worse than a publication’s editors being willing to sell truth down the drain, or the well-being of the nation, for greater sales.

  5. There are two sad realities regarding this. First, the Inquirer, compared to the other papers, has an overall better quality. It at least tries to have no biases even though it sometimes fails (be it in being too pro-Aquino or being too anti-Aquino). The only other paper that gets close is Bulletin, and even that paper has a tinge of being pro-Binay. Historically, the most neutral paper was the Star, especially during the term of PGMA, but when Aquino took over, the pro-Arroyo columnists went vocal, and it went downhill from there. And even then, these three are better than the Standard Today and the Times (both pro-Arroyo) and the Tribune (pro-Estrada).

    The second: the Philippine press may be flawed, but compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, it’s arguably the freest. If only the journalistic ethics here could be as good as in Europe. No wonder journalism here is not as well respected of a profession compared to other countries.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I have to dig back through some recent comments to find what was an excellent description of why the Philippines has weak ethical bearings in many professions. If I find it, I’ll post it here. For sure, journalism is free and rotten.

    • Lil says:

      “overall better quality”
      Funny the Inquirer is the same magazine that published the Noynoy Person of the Year hoax

      Yes it was $hp 1.9 m or 2 m to be exact (Php 87 m). These are the same leftists who also salivated over the prospect of the “bouny reward”, saying it belongs the poor. As usual, they have no problems taking US money though 😛

  6. PinoyInEurope says:

    “It is my contention that these examples reflect a very serious pattern of an entire nation’s conversation with itself. The media ethical lapses establish the Philippine national identity, and it is negative, angry and divided.”

    Joe, that is exactly it. The Philippine national identity is most especially very divided into factions. Every country has factions even the United States, but there is a consensus, especially a consensus to deal with conflicts in a civilized way. The New York Times may be more on the liberal side, for example, but it adheres to certain rules of fairness. CNN may be a little more on the conservative side (OK if you are Tea Party you might consider it communist) but it is never the kind of propaganda outlet that Fox News is in my opinion.

    In the Philippines the different groups and factions still have to learn:

    1) to talk to one another in a certain way, certainly not the way Miriam does.

    2) to LISTEN to one another and at least TRY to understand the others viewpoint, even harder.

    3) to refrain from using violence in any form:
    a) coup attempts
    b) people power
    c) armed fighting

    It starts with the way the crowd that pretends to be educated and is educated in theory behaves. This crowd is the one that buys the top newspapers, in a free market what is widely available is determined by whether there is a critical mass of people willing to buy it.

    If I analyze it from my Filipino point of view, it is because being objective and unbiased is often seen as being weak in the Philippines. There is a strong them-or-us mentality in all areas. I know someone who is Pro-Aquino but very much anti-BBL, his status in the Philippines is very high but many people have difficulties understanding how he can be, if he didn’t have that status people would openly attack him but luckily they do not dare to. I read someone on the Internet, also a highly objective, respected professional guy, who openly stated that he is anti-BBL, only to be accused – even by other top pros – of wanting all out war. He answered: are you little kids?

    Rappler is in my opinion the best Filipino medium out there, and it is on the internet, not printed. Of course it has this emotional part – this article makes people ANGRY – AMUSED – ETC… – stirs up emotions as well due to that, but it has to sell to FILIPINOS after all. We are a people who like to quarrel and who like to watch fights – including cockfighting. People are what they are. Even in the United States you have regional differences. In a study, psychologists had people from all over the US answer questions in a test. In reality, the test was not about the questions, is what to measure anger. All test participants were bumped and called “ASSHOLE” on the way to the testing room. What was interesting is that Southerners were found out to be angrier – they have a culture based more on honor and status, witness J.R. Ewing and A Man in Full – than Northerners. What is a problem is not our emotionality – it can be an advantage Joe, after all they had to ban non-whites from marrying foreigners in 1930s California, because Mexicans and Filipinos were stealing all the white chicks hehe – it is that we don’t have it under control a lot of the time.

    Miriam Santiago is just one example, highly educated yet out of control. Even in U.P., the prime institution of Filipino education, you have fraternity wars that are like gang wars. You have professors throwing chalk at students because they disagree, or professors throwing books at each other in faculty meetings – these are things that I know about from firsthand sources. If I observe the culture from afar, I see that it has changed over the decades, it certainly already had changed in the 70s/80s compared to the 1950s, when it was not uncommon for politicians in Luzon and Visayas to behave almost like the Ampatuans. Check this out: .By the way the irony of the book “An Anarchy of Families” is that it was written by an American – Professor McCoy. The Hatfields and McCoys feuded over generations in the Appalachians, might be that heritage – if he is part of it – helped him appreciate exactly what was going on in the Philippines.

    Joe, I very much appreciate your opinions, that you know. But it also took time for you guys to become what you are now, from Puritans (Christian fundamentalists they didn’t want in England) then gun-toting pioneers and slave owners then cowboys who decided to go across the Pacific when the West was already won, taking first Hawaii, before we Pedros met our first Joes in 1898. Actually it is good for us to learn from you because your people were lucky enough to have had their learning curve much earlier. Back on topic: I believe there could be a silent majority that does not buy Filipino newspapers at all because they now what is behind them. There is even a minority that no longer thinks in a purely group-oriented way, once there are enough of them and one of them dares open up his own paper or even major blog, things WILL change. That is what Malcom Gladwell called a tipping point – part of the title of my promised guest article which I still have not yet begun to write. Being Filipino, I need to have enough emotions to start writing. Thank you Joe for getting me ANGRY – INSPIRED – AMUSED – and confident enough – to start.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      One more thing: I remember getting drunk with a former Filipino journalist-turned-diplomat decades ago. We were drinking whisky – damn you Yankees for teaching us how to drink it 🙂 – and he told me you know what, you get a lot of offers to write from politicians.

      Even if you are objective, you may have a family to feed or vices (this guy, now dead, bless his soul, he was a good guy for all his flaws) or even idealistic, you may need money AND the guy who is offering you a million pesos ALSO has the money to hire a killer against you.

      And – knowing the Filipino political system – I assume that it is hard to be fully objective if you can only make your career by sucking up to certain people who own the place. This is why the growing middle class that is making its own money in many ways is critical. Which will be one of the most important aspects of my guest article – Why Philippine Society could reach its Tipping Point sooner than we think. Ha, now I have a title. 🙂

      • Joe America says:

        Power is certainly currency in the Philippines. Journalists pay the price, I know, and you illustrate the predicament a skilled writer could fall into. I suppose it is like, what if Binay asks you to be his spokesman. How do you say no?

        I look forward to: “Why Philippine Society could reach its Tipping Point sooner than we think”.

        • sonny says:

          Joe, regarding media and journalism and the upliftment of the masses, tell me if Maxwell’s Demon rings a bell. Else, I will store it away for another day. Just taking a sounding. 🙂

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          I can only say no because I live in Europe. And because he does not know about my writing talent. But I probably would write the way I once wrote in my youth, and even won a prize for praising Marcos’ New Society – I was being satirical and they did’nt even notice. And I would make sure that Binay pays me really well and then hide in the Bahamas, sure better than living in cold Europe. Sometimes in life you have to make such trade-offs.

          A story I know about someone who was forced to write for Marcos: he was first detained in 1972 for having a very sharp tongue and pen. He had made a sarcastic comment about a badly written book by Marcos. They let him out temporarily, accusing him of all sorts of things and forcing him to regularly report to Camp Crame. Marcos then all of a sudden called him to Malacañang Palace and said: you are a very good writer, I have heard and I have read. Are you interested in writing for me? He wrote for the dictator of course.

          Marcos was Binay and Duterte combined – corrupt and brutal. Plus very charming…

          • sonny says:

            PiE, I would say Marcos spawned Binay and Duterte. He was my first & only vote i cast in Philippine politics. He always graced the reunions of my dad’s guerilla unit, the USAFIP-NL headed by Russell Volckmann, USMA ’34 (division strength). By the time I emigrated (’69), RP was entering an agitated state. He was morphing from visionary to enigma. 1972 resolved that for me; I became part of the peanut gallery. The first act was Plaza Miranda bombing. I can still remember people close to me that fell left and right of that line.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Yes those times were strange. As an Ilocano, you probably remember congressman Floro Crisologo and how he was killed during Sunday mass in 1970. OK the guy was a warlord, no doubt. But in those days a lot of politicians even in Luzon were. Different times.

              • sonny says:

                PiE, I only heard of the Crisologo tragedy from the US. The brazenness of the deed is something to be ashamed of.

          • Joe America says:

            It that circumstance, ethics for sure get redefined in a personal way. Nice description of Marcos.

      • I know who you’re referring too. He’s but a reflection of a reality in Philippine journalism: when you show the money, ethics get thrown out of the window. BTW, Joe’s analysis of Inquirer appears a valid take of how to project negativity in everything. Negative sells — it sets tongues wagging, it stirs that ‘I told you so’ mindset… most Filipinos are “filosofos”, unable to acknowledge that others are better than they are… Rather than media making a dysfunctional society, its the other way around — and the owners of these media aim to make sure that this stay that way. How else would they sustain their political and economic grip of a moronic people?

    • Joe America says:

      Hahahaha, happy to help. And thanks for the crystal clear statement on things here and for the link to that history, a reading I shall set aside for when I have more coffee in my system. Yes, I realize the US is not a useful comparison in many instances. To be truthful, I enjoy the Philippines because it is like living a dynamic history, real time, as the nation tries to absorb so much, yet retain its character. I don’t want it to be another US at all. But I’d like to see better ethics, less corruption, and more money invested in job-making enterprises.

      • sonny says:

        Right on the nose, Joe. I like your putting it that way. My feelings too about my stay in America. I have rendered myself moot as a Filipino reality. 😦

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          People like us, who know the place TOO well and have been away too long, cannot really come back to the Philippines. If we try to keep quiet, we go crazy. If we speak up we risk ending up like Cristosomo Ibarra in Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere.

          This English translation is good: . Anyone who reads it will find some things familiar even a century later.
          One reason Rizal got shot was because the Noli attacked the Spanish Catholic church.

          • sonny says:

            Rizal and the other expats were thoroughly exposed/influenced by Spanish freemasons, a group out and out enemies of the Spanish Catholic Church. Many Spanish catholics were killed by freemasons. The Philippines was the last refuge for the Spanish catholics under persecution by Spanish civil authorities, i.e. Spanish catholics in the islands were fugitives from persecution. Hence Rizal was under heavy watch. Since Filipino expats were under suspicion, just do the math.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              I don’t know about the part with freemasons killing Catholics, but I do know that the Spanish government confiscated a lot of Church land and property in the 19th century. Church power was broken permanently.

              The Philippines was also a refuge of many Carlistas, the more conservative Spaniards. They hated Queen Isabella, saying “perra” (bitch) when they saw her face on coins. The story is that native Filipinos thought perra meant money, which is why it is “pera” until now.

              What I also know for a fact is that many Spanish creoles and mestizos in the Philippines heavily supported Franco. Got to meet some of them at Ateneo in the 1970s/80s.

              Moreover Rizal was an Atenista, meaning trained by Jesuits, and the Jesuits were always suspect to more conservative Catholics because they were too intellectual. The strange reaction of some Philippine bishops to Pope Francis was in this tradition.

              Of course Rizal heavily criticized the Catholic church in the Noli. Padre Damaso, the corrupt, fat and jovial priest who is actually Maria Clara’s father if you read between the lines. Padre Salvi, thin and weird, again reading between the lines you have the sacristan Crispin dying at the his hands (pointing to sexual abuse but even Rizal did not dare touch that) and raping Maria Clara regulary when she becomes a nun and he takes charge of the convent – the last scene of a white robed woman being chased in the rain. Even nowadays you risk a lot if you point to such topics in the very Catholic Philippines, more so back in the days. But recent scandals that became known internationally prove that such things actually happen – and caused me to finally leave the Catholic Church.

              • sonny says:

                Sorry for the egregious conflation of the Red Terror and the Filipino Expats at the turn of the 20th century. (red-faced)

                On the scandals, PiE. For Catholics, our religion goes deep to our person. So embracing or repudiating it is no small matter. Either action is not taken lightly and is the greatest act of freedom I know. It is also dependent on the width and breadth of the information we choose to entertain. In this spirit I am enclosing a link that hopefully is appropriate and respectful of that freedom. It is not one article but many, to shed light on the dimensions of a complex problem.


          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Come to think of it, the novel has lost none of its relevance until today. Kapitan Tiago, Maria Clara’s father (probably just on paper) and capitan del barrio, is like Binay the way he is described as very dark and the way he behaves. The bandit Elias who saves Ibarra is very much like a typical Filipino bandit or rebel nowadays. Even the way a student group behaves on an outing sounds familiar. The corrupt Simoun (Ibarra returning) is a nineteenth-century version of Manny Villar. The basic structures of society remain.

            • “the novel has lost none of its relevance until today”… unfortunately, the translated textbooks being used in schools today are the edited versions, the church took care of that… My mother and I read the original translated ones, the unedited one… started to read the one approved for the schools and was so dismayed I almost threw the book to the open fire. Whatever happened to the separation of church and state provision of the constitution?

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Philippine history may just be entering its most exciting phase in its learning curve. But Filipinos do have to learn one thing I learned from a guy coming from a formerly disadvantaged part of Europe, also dead now: “many of my countrymen hated the guys from more advanced countries for being such smart-asses, but me and some others decided to be smart and quietly learn from them”. Which I believe many Pinoys now do.

        Americans are by nature missionaries, trying to spread their system and their beliefs like a gospel, this is simply your Protestant legacy and there is nothing wrong about that. They also have a culture of saying what they think – Martin Luther’s legacy: “here I stand, I cannot do otherwise”. And a culture of thinking for themselves, also coming from the Protestant idea that every man should read the Bible for himself and think about it, not just believe what some guy in white says. One American missionary you might like is this guy: . A bit of like “Dances With Wolves” – started out Yankee to become an “Indian”. Some nationalists do not like him to this day, but what he found out about pre-Hispanic Filipinos for example used as information in making the teleseryes “Amaya” more realistic. Igorots that I know say that they learned to play country music from “Scotty” who played guitar…

        • sonny says:

          Off-track, Scott dismantled the Code of Kalantiaw for his doctoral thesis. His magnum opus was a study of the Ilocos region. He passed on in midstream. RIP.

          I agree with PiE.

          • sonny says:

            His doctoral jury was a Philippine Hist pantheon. For me, anyway.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            I read his book “Cracks in the Parchment Curtain”. The caracoa boat that Raja Mangubat rides on in the opening scene of Amaya is derived from that book, as well as basic ideas on how people were dressed at that time and how they behaved. For example the scene where the uripon (slaves) all drop to the ground when the datu comes, or that Mangubat gets very mad when Amaya (a slave) looks at him in the eye – these were the customs.

        • Joe America says:

          Man, you write good stuff. I’m confirmed Lutheran on the move to become a weird Filipino.

  7. Jess Medina says:

    JoeAm,  … it is because there are so many unacceptable things happening all around every day that needs to be aired so they can be disinfected.  The PDI is reasonably fair with PNoy but extremely harsh with Binay.  Overall though, the PDI reportage brings out stories that are largely “factual”, although at times slightly nuanced depending on the political persuasion  of the writer.  In your case, I could sense that you are pro-PNoy. and obviously pro-US.   So am I.  Any reading material that is brought to the marketplace would just have to go to one’s mental filter to discard the junk and retain only the residue of what makes sense. jessM  

    • Joe America says:

      I’m pro-Philippines which has me being pro-Aquino because I think he is doing an excellent job, a few mistakes notwithstanding. The nation has made a breakout move to straight governance, a step toward dismantling the broad, deep corruption and the inefficiency it inspires. His stoic representation in the face of grief is also the stable strength that allows him to deal with crises in a calm and stepwise manner.

      I understand the concept of filters, but I also understand the concept of ethics, and believe it is something all professions in the Philippines ought to be aspire toward. It is hard for me to sit and see what is published and not be upset by it, for it punishes the Philippines. It makes it hard for the Philippines to realize the uplift that OUGHT to be here, but is not.

  8. pinoyputi says:

    Although i agreed with your story in principle i don’t understand the sentence

    ” Filipinos rely upon newspapers as their primary and most trusted source of information about the nation (Philippine Trust Index).”

    When i read the link I read ” • TV is the most common source of information for over 99% of both the general and informed publics, followed by radio at 60% (general) and 63% (informed). The internet is the 3rd usual source of information for the informed public.” This is especially true for the C, D and E groups.
    And that is my experience as well, maybe you should do the same story on TV Patrol ABS-CBN as well.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I grabbed a different point far into the article, which did have a lot of seemingly confusing and contradictory sentences. It commented on how people get their information about government. I agree, I should do the same story on TV Patrol. It’s now on my tote board for possible future articles.

    • Micha says:

      It’s been said that watching tv will make one dumb. Watching “nagbabagang balita” on TV makes one ten times dumber.

      Here’s the routine:

      They will present the main headlines in all its sensationalist glory, and then the hapless viewer, with blood pressure up, will be presented on the next segment with the latest showbiz balita by a gorgeous bimbo and everything in the world is normal again.

      Forget about the stressful headlines. Ang importante, nagkabati na si Dingdong at Marianne.

      Yan ang mga nakalap naming balita hanggang sa mga sandaling na ito, Hanggang sa muli sa ganito ring oras abangan ang mga nagbabagang balita dito lang sa Tvvvvvv Paatrollll…




  9. jolly cruz says:

    A large majority of Filipinos (C, D & E) do not actually read broad sheets. Those that do, show their political leanings through the kind of broad sheet they buy. I am not particularly concerned about the Inquirer’s recent slant because I know their readers have no agenda and can discern truth from spin. My belief is that they are trying to increase circulation these days by riding on the mamasapano issue. I do trust Pangalangan. This may be a purely business decision on his part, After the issue blows over, I am sure the paper would go back to its original form.

    What I hope the editors do, though, is to remind their field reporters , notably Cabacungan and Esguerra, to just report the facts and not put in their opinions in their news reports. These two are very fond of integrating their reports with their own take of the news. Also these two are the most notorious users of anonymous sources to push their agenda.

    Mr Joe my greatest fear is the radio media. Radio reporters and commentators are the biggest agitators in town. Noli de Castro, Ted Failon, Anthony Taberna, and Gerry Baja always shoot from the hip. They have no shame. They always interview resource persons who are extremely biased without presenting any contrary views. I am all for freedom of speech and freedom of the press,but the comments of these commentators border on sedition and insurrection.

    Their goal is to incite the people. I have texted their programs so many times but of course they do not read any contrary comments.

    • It’s the same thing with college publications like the Philippine Collegian and its UP Manila counterpart, the Manila Collegian. They slant their “articles” with statistics that are obviously biased. To give you an example, last week, a new issue of the Manila Collegian came out. They asked this question to their readers: “Should President Aquino resign because of the Mamasapano incident?” The surprising result: they published 20 to 30 responses, all of which agreed to the original question; in fact, they even published comments that said that he should have resigned a long time ago. This is just a hunch so take it with a grain of salt, but something tells me that, many texted them responses, and I’m sure at least half of them would have said that Aquino should not resign, but they decided to only publish anti-Aquino comments. Then again, both Collegians have notoriously been infiltrated by the left.

    • jolly cruz says:

      I didnt state in my previous post why I fear radio media. Its because the C, D & E are the listeners of the radio programs of these commentators. More than the columnists of the broad sheets, these commentators because of the reach of radio shape the perception of their listeners.

    • Percival says:

      @jolly, I agree. In my desperate search for reasonable news, I have listened to these radio commentators. Taberna, Failon, Noli de Castro, Vic Lima, Mike Enriquez – they are the worst _____.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, Jolly. Good read. Makes sense. I don’t listen to radio so don’t have a good feel for it. I still think gaming the news for circulation is harmful to the Philippines when you have the dominance of the Inquirer. I’m not so sure most readers discern the slant, but, judging from comments in the discussion threads, a lot more are coming to see it.

    • Gerry Baja and Anthony Taberna…. the 2 radio commentators who always prefix their comments “ang pinakamamahal at iginagalang naming Presidente Gloria Arroyo”…they so hate PNOY, even Ted Failon is now in a seemingly contest with Noli de Castro in crucifying the president,,, and horror of horrors (to borrow JoeAm’s expression).. they receive awards after awards for doing so as if to goad them to do more bashing and mindless criticisms… and they gladly oblige

  10. Bert says:

    Very informative article this one is. Where before I believed that facts published in the media are the truth, the truth is that what I believe now is not really the fact but truth in the name of more circulation. And that’s the truth but not the fact, or vice versa. Now I’m really insane but that’s not the fact. I don’t know if that’s the truth.

  11. Hello Joe,
    Thanks for writing this. I was actually trying to write something similar but in how to read the various newspapers/media outlets to take into account their corporate overlords. Philippine media as stated in various other comments does not deserved to be called the Fourth Estate. Great read and hoping that it is already Tuesday for Andrew Lim’s post.

  12. macspeed says:

    I have said in Raissas blog and here that Philippine media means business…anything that can fetch attraction shall be incorporated so it can be purchased.

    Some are favored if they pay the headline or twist a bit for someone to be destroyed or negative impact. This business operators are playing the sin of scandal mongering, what? There is a verse in Al Qur-an Al Kareem called the Gossiper:

    1. Woe unto every slandering traducer,
    2. Who hath gathered wealth [of this world] and arranged it.
    3. He thinketh that his wealth will render him immortal.
    4. Nay, but verily he will be flung to the Consuming One.
    5. Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Consuming One is!
    6. [It is] the fire of Allah, kindled,
    7. Which leapeth up over the hearts [of men].
    8. Lo! it is closed in on them
    9. In outstretched columns.

    The newspaper operators are like the scandal mongerers, they will be burned in Hell…

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, that is wonderful, mac. I wish editors could internalize the essence of this expression and do some pragmatic repenting and upgrading of the dialogue hereabouts.

  13. ella says:

    Philippine Media, including the PDI has no integrity whatsoever. Maybe they do not know the correct definition of integrity. They are ruled by money and readership so they have become an advertising medium. The news they write advertises with negative emotions on issues they want people to know. This would make people buy them and so those moneyed people of the Republic of the Philipines who controls them (media) could control the emotions of the people.

    • ella says:

      And instead of us Filipinos using both our minds and our hearts to discern the issues … we just use our negative emotion.

      PDI. has one sentence true and the rest of the reporting attaches all the negative emotions they could attach.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      I am hopeful – it looks like more and more Filipinos are waking up and one day these papers may wake up without enough readers left to keep their profits. The real action today is on the internet.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, what I find is integrity in the Inquirer’s stated mission, and something quite less in actual presentation. Publisher, president, editor. Somewhere there is an intellectual disconnect, or outright deceit.

  14. PinoyInEurope says:

    An even worse article from the Inquirer: . Tingting Cojuangco is somebody barely remembers or cares about nowadays. Former socialite who now looks like a drag queen.

    Reading the Disqus commentaries makes me hopeful, and shows that Filipinos are not fools:

    “what a snake! The rhetoric will never succeed!”

    “Tindi ni Tingting. Shedding those crocodike tears. Im amazed to the lenghts these power hungry persons go just ti grab piwer. And it is only for their personal gain.”

    “No they weren’t your children. Stop over dramatizing. If you really thought about your supposed children from the start, you would have spoken up on day one. Not wait until today to sink your oar into already muddy waters.

    “Smarter people will simply conclude you have designs to obtain power greater than what you have now.”

    “honestly speaking, i am now having second thoughts on who masterminded the murder of former Senator Aquino at the airport tarmac. it may be these power grabbers, the Cojuangcos.”

    Cool comment:

    “Im not for resignation but i want noynoy to man up and he need to stop protecting the BBL… Because Majority of filipinos are now against it.. The mission is legitimate and was successful but it was the milf who bridge the peace proces.. The saf were only after the terrorist.. They have warrant but the milf did not honour these warrant..
    So its not aquino’s fault.. But how he manage the situation was so very very poor and he need to answer these to the public.. He should comfort the people of the republic as well, not only just the relatives of the fallen saf… there is a mistrust here and the government should ac answer all the question that Need an answer.. It was 60 saf that was Been killed of these heartless rebel Not just 44… Covering these would lead to mistrust of the public to our government…”

    Also good:

    “The title should be Aquino’s kin (kamag anak inc.) were not appointed for any government position.

    Peping and Ting2 are salivating for government positions

    Kailan naging anak ni Tingtililing ang mga SAF 44.”

    And one proof that there are Filipinos who understand due process:

    “Pnoy may be blamed for DAP and SAF44 but I am not for resignation! I can wait for one and half year and let ombudsman initiate cases if there is any for pnoy to face.”

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      More comments, this time from the seemingly bakya but definitely not stupid crowd:





      “Mukhang iniwanan na naman sa ere si Tingting at Peping Cojuangco ni Binay the PLUNDERER dahil walang kumagat sa plano nilang patalksikin si PNoy.

      Kaya inutisan na naman ni Binay ang partner niyang si Grace Poe na banatan na naman ang DOTC para pang-divert sa issue ng PANDARAMBONG ni Binay sa property ng Boy Scouts of the Philippines kakuntsaba ang Alphaland ni Ongpin.”

      “AQUINO RESIGN–That is the new sports of the landed and greedy trapos
      Sports? Sorry, I mean high stakes card game…


      “ingting and Peping: Traidor ng bayan. Di kayo nakapagnakaw sa termino ni PNOY kaya masama loob niyo. Bistado na kayong corrupt na Cojuangco. Dun kayo humingi kay Danding. PNOY knows that COJUANGCOs killed Ninoy.”

      “tired of this id10t old lady who attempted to run as ARMM governer to secure their clans business foothold in mindanao w/ the malaysians.”

    • Joe America says:

      Ahhh, thanks for those quotes. What a horrid lady and I’m glad the readers sliced and diced and offered up calm observations. The next step is for them to stop buying the Inquirer if it insists on presenting the ramblings of crazy ladies as relevant news.

  15. Adrian says:

    Do you guys think a community controlled news website would succeed? (Well I know the answer, it will depend on the dedication of the community.) I have been playing the idea of something like wiki news.!

    • Joe America says:

      It could. The challenge is the economics. You need field reporters and the money to pay them. Rappler comes closest to being that, with a wide range of commentary supplementing news feeds, which come from news agencies and a small team of field reporters. But it is closely held, not community.

    • karl garcia says:

      wikipedia would not have lasted if the political groups and other interest groups have not found out that they can make use of its it anonymous donations or sponsorship without logos
      .but whatever the reason for its sustainability,i thank the gods for wikipedia.

  16. Percival says:

    I find it disturbing that the president, who is supposed to be the “most powerful” man in the country is being ganged-up and bullied by 99.9% of the media, printed and broadcast. It is a good thing that there’s the social media where some balance of views can be expressed & read. Too bad but not surprisingly, the #noynoyparin which broke the record as longest trending topic/hashtag on Twitter was being downplayed in the printed and broadcast media, suggesting maliciously that the outpouring of support for aquino there was manipulated and the supporters as paid. In my opinion, the gang of crooks/destabilizers will stop at nothing until they brought Aquino down before 2016.

  17. Percival says:

    Off topic, and please pardon my dirty mind. The sequence of events and timing of the mamasapano incident and the circumstances surrounding it, led me to believe that it was not a fiasco but a deliberate/concerted act by the desperate gang of crooks (led by you know who) for obvious reasons.

  18. Percival says:

    Even if they make my blood boil most of the time or make me jump off my seat and attempt to smash the tv, pc monitor or radio, I don’t know why i still watch, listen and read nasty reporting, commentaries and views. Ah, the masochist in me 🙂 But perhaps it’s a good vehicle for discernment.

  19. “When the Inquirer editorializes the news, it is making the news……And it helps make the Philippines an angry, negative . . . even unstable . . . nation.”

    So very true, add the way the various TV and radio newscasters do the same and what do we have – citizens (like MRP. I read here that he has anger management issues; that he read only the headlines then commented based on that reading /hearing …hey MRP, I now like your recent posts, peace… and looking forward to your guest article) and like the nearest kin of the gallant SAF44 who was not able to respect the position of the presidency, if not the man, and who, if news reports are correct and to be believed , engaged the president in a heated debate to the delight of the newspaper, was it the Tribune?…

    God help PNOY and the next unfortunate one who gets elected in 2016.

    • Joe America says:

      After today’s Senate hearing on Mamasapano, it is clear that President Aquino has received an unfair trial by public hysteria, and the press come across as wholly incompetent for publishing rumors, speculation and political manipulations as news. He won’t get any, but President Aquino deserves a few apologies.

  20. bauwow says:

    Hey Uncle Joe, your blog was linked by Jim Paredes in his twitter account!You have a lot of fans now, and as we say, “di ka na maabot!” 😉

    • bauwow says:

      Not to be off topic, we have to understand that what matters to PDI is profit comes first before responsibility. Headlines should be dramatic!
      Also, it is observed that people from media are treated like stars, Noli de Castro became a Vice President even though he was just a news reader, Ted Failon became a congressman. Funny thing is, their opinions are treated like gospel truths rather than be taken as just an opinion.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, the esteemed Mr. Paredes has been kind enough to read and pass along a number of recent blogs. The recent uptick in readership can be attributed in part to a few of his bazillion fans stopping by for a look.

  21. Lito Gallardo says:

    I totally agree with you that this newspaper and other dailies ARE creating chaos at will. Instead of helping the Phil. government cope with problems!! That is why I don’t read local newspapers and local tv news programs. They are only concerned with their ratings versus and newspapers and tv news programs. Worst Pinoys believe them! So sad.

  22. henry david says:

    thank you for this analysis, joe.

    i’ve been an avid reader of the digital INQ ever since….

    i stopped two weeks ago, and my mornings are so much brighter and pleasant..

  23. If I recall correctly, the very same paper you excoriate now was decidedly pro-Noynoy back during the run-up to the 2010 elections. That, as well as most of the others, including the TV networks led by ABS-CBN. And before that also, they contributed in no small measure in vilifying then-President GMA.

    So I guess things have come full circle; negative news sells, and all is fair in love and war.

  24. stitch says:

    Reblogged this on bleary and commented:
    Our media tends to get away with so many things because they’re how we get our information. As with everything else, we need to demand more from them, if we are to make our own decisions fairly and knowledgably.

  25. Sylvia Estrada Claudio says:

    The Inquirer has been so horribly bad at feeding the flames of this Mamapasano faux pas. It hs glamorized the fallen SAF, downplayed the deaths of MILF and Moro civilians, been silent of the displaced persons. It has spotlighted news of human rights violations by the (alleged) MILF while failing to investigate (or report the investigations) the human rights violations of the SAF. Where are the journalist articles helping people understand the conflict in Mindanao or it’s history? Where are the articles explaining the ongoing peace process?
    The only thing I can say for the Inquirer is it isn’t different from other supposedly mainstream media outlets in its shameful and anti-peace rhetoric. If we have another decade of war in Mindanao, the media will be one of the actors who led to this outcome.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I share your sentiments, Sylvia. The Inquirer does actually make the news, and shape Philippine attitudes in a very negative way, too often. I suspect there is an economic factor to the style of reporting. It costs money to have someone spend several days researching and interviewing people to build a real informational story, so the method becomes “texting journalism”, grab highlights from incidents, fast-type some words to them, slap an emotional headline on it, and run it as news. One person can do a couple of stories a day and fill the rag with pap. Angry pap, because they can’t sell papers without splashing the emotions around.

  26. Miguel says:

    I have two favorite Inquirer headlines: first was several years back when there were hearings about Arroyo’s corruption, and the Inquirer published the headline “GLORIA IS EVIL” (a quote from a witness).

    The second one was when Obama won and of all the headlines they could have gone with, they went with: “BLACK IN WHITE HOUSE”

  27. Dick S. O'Rosary says:

    What can you do? People are genuinely angry at the government, thus those are the kind of stories that make headlines. The headlines only reflect what the people consider important issues of the day. At least the traditional paper format of the inquirer does not allow for those “how does this article make you feel?” function that rappler has. Haha

    • Joe America says:

      Well, Dick, ethics have a lot going for them. Dump the self-regulated media model and impose them is my suggestion. The anger at President Aquino is likely to dissipate in a puff of air given that his role in Mamasapano was completely misrepresented in the media, and he has explained his absence from the coffin ceremony in a way that is actually quite empathetic to what the families were dealing with. I agree, people are authentically angry, but it is overboard, nearly hysterical, and not good for the Philippines . . . and an unethical media play a huge part in generating it. So did political gameplaying and crooks and the disenfranchised coming out of the woodwork to seize on the seeming vulnerability of the President.

      Josephivo, below,asks the very relevant question, why so much anger here, but not for journalists slain in the Ampatuan murders?

      • Dick S. O'Rosary says:

        Well you tell me why the “journalists” aren’t angry about dead fellow “journalists”. Thats baffling I agree

        • Joe America says:

          It is absolutely the strangest thing, isn’t it, Dick. Like murder of their colleagues does not bother them, not even the abusive burial of the bodies with a back hoe. But lose a battle, and somebody has to get crucified.

          I don’t know. Maybe because there was no connection with the President in the Ampatuan murders. And it is election season. And a lot of crooks are vengeful against the President.

          The difference in media treatment is truly bizarre.

  28. JR dela Cruz says:

    Hi. I’ve read your blog a couple of times and will continue to read it. Your analyses do add value to intelligent political discourse.

    But on this issue, I must disagree with you forcefully and angrily.

    First, I must point out that the Partido Magdalo of which Juanito Victor C. Remulla, Jr. is President is different from the Magdalo Partylist of Congressmen Acedillo and Alejano. The Magdalo Partylist is an offshoot of those military officers who attempted and failed to mount a coup d’etat against Pres. Arroyo. The figurehead of the group is Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who is rabidly anti-GMA and even more rabidly pro-Noynoy. It doesn’t quite fit your narrative that they are “Binay boys”, but a even a little research outside of a quick Google search would have given you more accurate information. That is, if you intend to practice what you preach and be more of an impartial source of information and less of an advocate for the President.

    Second, The Daily Inquirer or other media outlets do not make the Philippines an angry nation. In fact, I decry the fact that we are so forgiving as a people that our “leaders” get away with all the bullshit that they spew. I am angry, and I suppose most Filipinos are, because of the incompetence of my Commander-in-chief, and his refusal to take FULL responsibility for this catastrophe! No daily or media outlet can add or detract from that anger.

    In fact, it is quite insulting for you to imply that the anger that Filipinos feel out of this incident is somehow a result of the influence of the Daily Inquirer; that somehow, we are manipulated into feeling angry. I tell you Sir, we are not. We don’t need to be! If anything, we should be even more outraged over this whole mess!!

    It is not media’s role to temper the anger of the people. Media will always have a bias. The Inquirer, before this incident, has consistently been biased in favor of BS Aquino. If you’ve been reading their paper since 2010, you would think that it was a Propaganda Paper for Noynoy’s candidacy and presidency instead of a national daily. I am actually ecstatic that they have finally been speaking out against their former principal!

    Even your blog, as a medium of information and opinion, is not immune from bias. It is obviously biased in favor of the occupant of Malacanang. That is readily apparent in the way you quickly absolve the President of all blame in your article “Mamasapano: who was at fault and why”. If this happened in America, Obama would have been out of office a month ago. Alas, we Filipinos are too forgiving. I hope and dream of the day when we stop taking bullshit from our elected leaders!

    • Joe America says:

      I appreciate the point of view. Let me work from the bottom up.

      My blog is not immune from bias. Correct. I’m not a reporter and operate more like an opinion columnist. The blog is a vehicle to provoke discussion. If you read the blogs and threads you will see that discussion taking place, perhaps among the most thoughtful and respectful on the internet. The article should not be taken as a truth that I am imposing on you or anyone else.

      It is media’s role to report the news, factually and with clarifying interpretations. That is, according to internationally recognized ethical standards. My argument is that the Inquirer violates very basic ethical guidelines.

      If the people are angry, the media have a responsibility to report that. I agree.

      Commander in chief’s refusal to take responsibility. You clearly have not been following the Senate hearings the past two days when it was shown that Mr. Aquino was misled on two accounts. His directive to involve the AFP was ignored. Generals during the course of the day fed him bad information, that mechanized and artillery support was being made available. Please read my prior blog on “culprits” and you will get a better idea of my thinking on this need to find someone to hang. There are people to hang, but it is certainly not President Aquino, who did his job in good faith trying to rid the Philippines of a very nasty terrorist.

      I appreciate your profiling of the people.

      I do regret that the article made you so angry. It is intended as an intellectual exercise, and a push toward professionalism in the Philippine journalism business. If you believe the Philippines is sufficiently informed by media here, that media operate ethically and above board, and the Philippines is a properly positive place, then clearly you are correct to point out that I am off base.

      • JR dela Cruz says:

        Thank you for the reply. I do agree with you that the Philippine media has a long way to go in terms of ethics and professionalism. I just don’t agree with the notion that it is the media, the Daily Inquirer specifically, that make the Philippines an angry nation, as the title of your post implies. The anger is organic, widespread, and wholly justified.

        I agree with you that it was a legitimate mission to capture or kill a notorious terrorist. But I most certainly do not agree with you that President Aquino is not primarily responsible for this whole mess. Before, during and after the incident, the actions he showed were that of a weak, incompetent, unaccountable, uncompassionate man intent on lying and pinning the blame on his subordinates. If that is the leader you want for the Philippines, or your own America, I’m afraid I cannot go along with you Sir.

        He is the Commander-in-Chief. He was directly involved in the planning and execution of this whole operation. He called numerous mission briefings for Oplan Exodus. If he was truly intent in “coordinating” the efforts with the military, he could have easily involved them in the planning and execution of the mission. Why did he not? Because clearly, he knew all along that the whole plan was to involve the military at the last minute. He knew that very well because even the coordination aspect of the mission, of which he was thoroughly briefed, said “time-on-target”.

        On being misled, in the first place, why was he getting updates from a suspended police officer? A suspended chief who, initially, he said was not involved in the operation, who if at all was just explaining to him jargon? He compounded the original sin by lying about it. When he couldn’t lie about Purisima’s involvement any further, he now says he was misled? How can he escape accountability by being misled by a man who was not supposed to be involved in the first place?

        How can he be misled if he also commands the Armed Forces? If his best buddy Mr. Suspended Chief said there was already artillery and mechanized support, could he not confirm this with his military commanders? Or better yet, could he not have ordered his military commanders to do just that? Mr. Suspended Chief could not give orders to the military, but Mr. Too Trusting most certainly can.

        Much has been said about coordination. But if coordination was so important, one person could have ensured that coordination was properly done, from the planning to the execution. Only one person is the Commander of both the Police and the Armed Forces. One person alone. We can all take a wild guess who that person is. That person is the one who should be hanged.

        • Just a question though: if you want Aquino out, do you really want Binay, the NTC, or a junta to take over? Couldn’t we just wait for the elections, then elect a new leader who hopefully would be better?

          • JR dela Cruz says:

            The only reason more people do not clamor for Aquino to resign is because of Binay, I realize that. But Binay was democratically elected by a majority of the Filipino people as much as Aquino was. In fact, Binay won because of his de facto association with Aquino towards the end of that 2010 campaign. Remember NoyBi? One is corrupt. One is incompetent. One causes loss of government revenue. One causes loss of lives. Is the one really so much better than the other?

            I want Aquino to step down not because I want Binay to replace him but because it is what a President should do. I want to live in a society where people are made accountable for their actions.

            In the US, Richard Nixon resigned for wiretapping his opponents. He did not steal. He did not put his own men in peril. He wiretapped. He resigned.

            In South Korea, when a PRIVATE ferry ship capsized that resulted to hundreds of deaths, the Prime Minister immediately resigned out of shame for not doing enough to prevent the accident. It was an ACCIDENT. He had nothing to do with the private ferry ship. His only involvement with the whole incident was that he was the Prime Minister. He resigned.

            Here in the Philippines, a police operation directed by the President himself ended up in the loss of 70 or so lives and the displacement of thousands others. It put a tenuous peace process in an even more precarious situation. Is it not just right that the man who was ultimately responsible for this whole mess resign?

            • Joe America says:

              Please cite your sources for the conclusion that it was “a police operation directed by the President himself”. That is probably the best way to resolve our flaming disagreement. My resource is Senate hearings.

              • JR dela Cruz says:

                If the President waives interdepartmental courtesy and submits himself to appear before the Senate, then the Senate hearings would be a good source for us to know of the President’s actual role. Failing that, your guess as to his exact role is as good as mine.

              • Joe America says:

                Mine isn’t a guess. It is a conclusions, shared by the entire Senate, based on senate testimony and a reading of all the text messages between Purisima and the president. Sorry. You are on the wrong side of this one.

                The President can’t testify before the Senate and retain the power of the Office of the Presidency as a separate institution. He would set a precedent and you will see no one condemning him for not appearing . . . except those who don’t understand the importance of independence of the three branches of government.

        • Joe America says:

          Again I am guessing you have not had the opportunity to watch the hearings, for you would understand that your findings are simply not correct.

          As the hearings revealed, Chief Purisima was engaged because he had intimate knowledge of the operation, including classified intelligence information, and he had the President’s confidence; Espina, an interim head, did not. Purisima and/or Napenas were told by the President to advise Espina and coordinate with the AFP but they did not do so because they wanted a completely secure mission after a series of failures and apparent leaks. It was a bad decision, but it was not the President’s.

          Also in the hearing, it was cited that the President’s role is strategic, not operational. He was NOT, as you claim, directly involved in the operation planning or execution. Purisima and Napenas accepted responsibility for the outcome of the operation. The Senate clarified with absolutely no questions that President Aquino was not complicit in the outcome of the mission. On what basis do you hold that he was, other than a preconception that will not adjust to new facts?

          You might want to review the four prior blogs I’ve done on the hearings, or review the video of public hearing number 4, when it was clearly revealed what the President’s involvement was.

          Whatever you do, don’t go by the Inquirer write-ups. Look for facts, the best available being the hearings themselves.

          I’m sorry, but I’m afraid you don’t really have a good grasp of what went on in the hearings or what the President’s actual role was.

          • JR dela Cruz says:

            Ok Joe, going by your story, the President’s actual role was that of an observer. He was briefed about the mission, he said “That’s nice. Bahala na kayo.” He thought coordination was so important, but he himself never bothered to call on his interim Police Chief and AFP Chief of Staff to inform them of the mission and to ensure that everything was set, because why would he? That’s not his job. Hey, I’m all strategy here, not operational. He sat back and watched as the operation went on and his men were massacred.

            Throughout the day, he assumed everything was just going according to plan going by the words of his suspended buddy, who told him the AFP already responded. Oh is that so? That’s nice.

            So I’ll just go strolling here in Zamboanga with no less than the Chief of Staff of the AFP. Nope, we wouldn’t talk about whatever’s happening in Mamasapano. I wouldn’t even ask him if he already knows of the mission because my men should have informed him by now. Nothing to talk about here. I wouldn’t need to confirm if the military has indeed already reinforced, even if I’m here beside the Chief of Staff and the WestMinCom Commander who was also with us. Nah, let’s not talk about it guys, everything’s all going to plan. My buddy Alan told me so. Besides, my role’s strategic, remember? Leave that operation stuff to them.

            • Percival says:

              JR, you want to hold the President accountable for this one incident, the loss of 70 lives because of a well meant and legitimate operation that has unintentionally gone bad, yet you would allow a certified thief like Binay to replace him and take over the reins of government? When that happens, it’s as if you pardoned him of all his sins for he will have immunity from suit as president. Do you think Binay will ever let go of the presidency once he took over? Nah! He and his family will cling to it for life, like in Makati & BSP. Would you prefer a lifetime of a Binay presidency than the 15 months remaining of Aquino presidency? 70 lives lost because of Aquino’s incompetence as YOU insist, against the millions of lives affected because of Binay’s GREED. Binay is not yet president, but look how powerful he is now. He and his family are above the law. They are untouchable. They already control 99% of the media (TV, radio, & print).

            • Percival says:

              JR, just don’t forget the hundreds and even thousands of lives to be saved thru the heroic death of 44.

            • Joe America says:

              If you removed the sarcasm, and put yourself in the shoes of a busy president, who was not strolling in Zambales, but reviewing the scene of a terrorist car bombing, along with cabinet secretaries and generals, you’d have it about right. Again, look at the hearing tapes to grasp that a President’s role is not operations, but strategic, and that President Aquino actually was misled and, for his own part, responsible. You have not cited your source for the idea that the president was engaged operationally, and it leads me to believe that you have received your understandings through the Philippine tabloid media. So you become a perfect example of my point: angry, uninformed, not able to support your country or president. Even opposition senators agree, Sotto, Binay, Marcos . . . the President was not at fault. But you don’t because your view of it was shaped by an irresponsible press and rather than learn from new information, you try . . . here through sarcasm . . . to fit the information to your misconception.

              • pussyfooter says:

                Just going to throw in a “bravo” and “thank you” to Mr. J.A. at this point, for saying truths and clearly pointing out untruths as is so sorely needed and yet so tragically not done these days.

              • Joe America says:

                Why thanks, pussyfooter. I’ve missed your observations of late. I hope it is because you are playing too hard and not working too hard.

              • Jessie says:

                I am angrier at how the President and the Malacanang has dealt with the issue than his true role in the Mamasapano operation. I reckon it shouldn’t take too much effort to show sympathy on his part. Just look at how he treated the families of the fallen 44 and how he was absent on the arrival of caskets. Instead of compromising with the angry mob, he and his people continued to insist on the BBL. It almost seemed like the Malacanang was intentionally stoking the fire. The most strategic solution could be to leave BBL on the table for a moment and go back to it presumably when the people have calmed down.

              • Joe America says:

                The president explained that he did not attend the caskets because he wanted the families to have a moment alone to pay their respects, something he never had when his father died. So he did not get the chance to say his private, personal good bye. If the families and public misread this, in their grief and anger, respectively, it does not mean the president is insensitive. It is just that he misjudged how quick to judge most people are. The Pope would have understood and put his arm around the President, too. But not the people.

                The President believes strongly that the BBL is best for the nation. Why should he do what he thinks is wrong just because a lot of people are angry?

                Maybe the problem is an emotional public, stoked by a malicious press, eh? Focus on the real culprit. The President is just doing his job.

  29. Nice_Cox says:

    Good news! There is allegedly a coup being cooked by alphabet personalities. It was mentioned by Sen santiago during the Mamasapano probe and later picked up by Sec de Lima in one Rappler article.

  30. JR dela Cruz says:

    Hi Percival,

    Sorry I can’t seem to reply directly to your comment. I will never forget their heroic death indeed. That is why I want their Commander-in-Chief, who was ultimately responsible for their deaths, to resign and take full responsibility for failing to save his men, whether intentionally or through his gross and inexcusable negligence and incompetence.

    BInay and Aquino are not too different, if you come to think of it. Binay has the Binay Farm. Noynoy and his family have Hacienda Luisita, which their family bought using public funds but appropriated for private gain. At least there has been no massacre of farmers in Binay’s Farm. That’s more than you can say for Aquino, whose men shot at and killed farmers protesting in Hacienda Luisita.

    • Percival says:

      JR, Joe is right your view was shaped by an iresponsible media which made you angry. Before you believe anything you read, try to dig into the background and affiliations of the paper, the writer and of course the source of any story or report. Don’t depend on opinion writers. Go by the figures, the facts and historical statistics from sources like World Bank Economic reports and the like. If you can’t put down your favorite tabloid, at least try to visit its business/ finance section also. There, the figures cannot be manipulated and you can see the state of our economy under this administration. There is an abundance of disinformation going on in all forms of media, facts distorted, and history being re-written. It is your duty to your country to distinguish the truth from the lies.

  31. Alan says:

    ….well said, Joe. Hope to hear more from you about this long been overdue wake up call for media practitioners who advocates hatred just to sell their stories… Thank you.

  32. You discussed the headline slant, aimed at attracting sales, maybe. And I agree 100%,

    Tried to post comments on the Inquirer (Peter Wallace’s column)… I wonder who screens comments, parang na hijack yata…. dahil hard hitting against Estrada?

    Mary says:
    February 24, 2015 at 5:14 pm
    Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Inquirer Opinion.

    Somebody opined that Erap’s nuanced money not being taxpayers money and that Edsa 2 was just nothing but a power grab, my comment is:

    The court (Sandigangbayan), more informed and more wise than me, has ruled that Erap is guilty of plunder, and to this day, if I’m not mistaken, that ruling has yet to be reversed notwithstanding the pardon granted by another corrupt ex-president. Decent people like the former executive of EBC (Ms. Ocampo) has testified as sitting not far away from Erap, when he signed as Velarde. As far as I know, jueteng is still not legal here, so saying jueteng money is not taxpayers’ money is overly simplistic. It is a source of corruption, crime and plunder, the court ruled on that matter. Also a president has no business brokering for a transaction so that a commission in the millions can be given to one of his paramours. I am beyond words.

    I am so dismayed that such corruption cannot be checked with finality because an ex-president abused her pardoning power and a super legalistic SC (which decided that the letter of the law supersedes the intent, and protect the welfare of the majority vs. one single individual and his mistresses, sons, daughters and relatives) has ruled that due to that pardon, Erap should remain a mayor and might even be a candidate again for president if he deemed that Binay will be finally unmasked as a crook, corrupt and plunderer himself, thereby in danger of not being elected…

    And I am so afraid that the masa might give him a return ticket to Malacañang.

    I am dismayed that people and the media are not reacting to this in the same way they reacted with this SAF incident. So what will the current plunderers conclude? – that Crime of plundering pays!
    May God help us all!

    Binay Duwanakaw • 6 days ago
    In my opinion, this Erap issue was the second stupidest decision by the supreme court. The first one was when they reveresed their own ‘final’ rulling concerning the Philippine Airlines employees, which was prompted by a simple letter from Estelito Mendoza.

    Mary Binay Duwanakaw • 10 minutes ago
    Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Inquirer Opinion.

    Another is their decision on the constitutionality of ex-PGMA’s midnight appointment of Corona… what bothered me is that they dared to reverse the previous decision of the SC on that (Narvasa SC if my memory serves me right), and that by doing so, they have ruled that now it is proper for any succeeding president to do the same

    Joni_depp Jack Picus • 6 days ago
    Leonen is but one dissenting opinion. The collective opinion is different. Perhaps people should read the majority opinion more constructively as well, instead of condemning it as wrong. Mr. Wallace is not a jurist.

    Mary joni_depp • a minute ago Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Inquirer Opinion.

    3 dissenting opinions…na onse na naman ang bayan…the SC has erred before and they did again, this time… the intent and not the letter should have prevailed, for common good not for Estrada’s good alone, he was convicted for heaven’s sake… this decision must be heaven sent for all the past, present and would be plunderers..hey, is that what you want?

  33. JM says:

    Agree. with emphasis on Tubbataha Reef. There are too many traitors in this country. Thanks America for the respect and damn the chinese thieves.

    • Joe America says:

      There are probably a few traitors, but I’d say most are just either insecure or vengeful, or both. Senator Santiago is a case in point. She is relentless in her attack on the VFA and any American connection, yet fails to explain how she would track terrorists or oppose China without American technology and intelligence supporting the Philippines. She evidently has a package of historical animosity that she keeps reliving.

  34. surfer sison says:

    Good day Joeam,

    Firstly, i am a big fan of your blog. I share your points of view in Finance Manila where we talk about stocks and a lot of Politics.

    I agree wholeheartedly with most , if not all ,of your posts and coverage of Pnoy’s presidency.

    Unfortunately, I do not completely agree with your post on Mar Roxas.

    Rightly or wrongly, i do not like Mar because i do not like Korina, it might seem trivial but doesn’t it show he is a poor judge of character ? Or did he marry Korina thinking she would improve his popularity with the masses ?

    but more importantly, he lost my vote because i suspect he is ” mata pobre ” loosely translated as “someone who is in a superior position in society looking down at an inferior.”

    one telling event was the Wack Wack golf incident where he berated and mouthed bad words in front of the golf staff there and wanting them to make him exempt from the golf club’s policy

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the point of view, surfer, fairly and respectfully stated. For sure Wack Wack was not his best day (hahahaha), and he does seem to have a temper. Alas, I do, too, so I have to cut him some slack. The “loftier than thou” bearing seems to be how others see him as well, but yet I see him out on the road bumming motorcycles to get to where the regular people are suffering, and I have a hard time coming to that same conclusion. As for Korina, maybe it was not a calculated thing at all, but a fun and natural thing, with a commonality that they both spend way too much time in the eye of a critical public. Maybe they enjoy each other, person to person, and support each other through the rough spots. But, again, you echo many, so I could be the odd guy out.

      All that over-explaining done, if we come down on Mar Roxas differently, I think the Philippines will get along fine in spite of us, and I’m sure we will find another day of harmony right ahead.

      Thanks again for the right proper way to state an objection, and for following the blog.

      • surfer sison says:

        I have to agree with you that Mar might not be so bad or a tolerable choice if he gets elected president.

        But i am not sure I would just dismiss that incident in wack wack as a case of bad temper on a bad day. I think there is a saying that to see the true character of a person, try to observe how he treats people very much below him.

        anyway, its not a deal breaker, just a character flaw we might have to live with.

        have a good day sir Joeam 🙂

  35. 527 says:

    Why is this article about Inquirer? True, media shapes the public’s gereral perception of our nation. That’s everyone in media. Media can be accountable for that. Not just broadsheet. Not just Inquirer. How many of us still read the paper? It it the primary source if news or information? As you have linked article on trust index:

    –TV commands the highest trust level among the general public, especially in rural areas, followed by radio and newspapers.
    –TV is the most common source of information for over 99% of both the general and informed publics, followed by radio at 60% (general) and 63% (informed). The internet is the 3rd usual source of information for the informed public.

    So why pinpoint your sentiments on one source? I clicked on this article because of the headline. After reading it, I think it’s misleading. You are your own Inquirer.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, 527, I wanted to get into the details, and I can’t do that for 8 papers, so I took the one generally considered the best. If the best tap dances along unethical lines, what are the others? The point is unethical journalism. The Inquirer is the example. If you’d like to do the other papers, I’d be happy to post your assessment as a guest blog.

      • Joey says:

        Hello. I’m blind. May I suggest that next time you have an article like this, besides the screenshot of what you’re talking about, please copy-paste also the actual words for our screen reader to read aloud for us.

  36. Apo Chumachil says:

    LOL. This gullible Yankee believes in the mantra “Environmentalism is a form of communism.”

    FYI, climate change is real. Global warming is real.

  37. From the few bloggs i read, i admire the resourcefullness of Mr. Joe A and his addiction to facts and details! One thing i noticed is why he is so enchanted with Mar Roxas? Can you please give us three reasons why the public should vote him to office! And why do you think Mar Roxas is not as popular as Binay! Does the sisterhood in Makati has something to do with Binay winning the last election{for VP}?

    • Joe America says:

      Sisterhood is the anchor of Binay’s national strength, the local word of mouth and gifts from mayors and barangay captains. I arrived at Mar Roxas as best for the Philippines because I think continuity, honesty and economic growth are keys for the nation’s long term health. Integrity means a lot and he has it. I was high on Grace Poe for a while, but don’t like her political gameplaying and associates, and tendency to politic by undermining the existing government rather than finding ways to do better, constructively. Mamasapano, remarks to the American Ambassador, remarks on BBL, criticism of Ombudsman on Abaya . . . all suggest tear-down or change. She avoided Blue Ribbon Subcommittee meetings rather than make a stand for good governance. The rest of the candidates are either unpredictable, would change direction, or quirky.

  38. Zen says:

    I have just read this blog today 3 years later but I find this interesting and real. I was still in UK in 2015 having lived there for 15 years. When Yolanda happened, almost everyone were glued on their television sets for positive developments whilst celebrities were manning the call in centres to get emergency aid to the Philippines. It reached over a hundred million pounds as i remember. Then this news from the Philipines started to trickle about a week after and it carried with it political bickerings and questions about where the aid went. My colleague at work who had called in for their donations started to ask me whether their money would actually reach the victims. I was just glad to know that the aid was actually handled by a conglomerations of charity institutions that was very well organized and manned by competent staff and caring volunteers, whether medical, humanitarian and administrative. The media do mess up things quite horribly sometimes.

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