news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

SerenoSerye Over: Sereno’s Ouster as Chief Justice Now Final

Consider it final, official and irrevocable.

Over a month after Supreme Court justices voted in favor of ousting erstwhile Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno via quo warranto, the court decided to formally vacate the position of Chief Justice after rejecting Sereno’s motion for reconsideration to reverse the ruling. President Rodrigo Duterte will now have 90 days to pick a new Chief Justice.

The saga surrounding Sereno had been well-documented for the past several months. It began in August when Atty. Larry Gadon filed articles of impeachment to Congress that questioned Sereno’s missing assets, liabilities and net worth.

A lengthy series of hearings followed at the Batasan Pambansa that ran from September 2017 to February 2018. Throughout the course of the hearings, Supreme court justices and staff testified in front of the House Committee of Justice and they added further detail to Sereno’s misdeeds in the years prior to becoming Chief Justice.

In March, the Justice Committee overwhelmingly approved the articles of impeachment filed against Sereno. But just as the impeachment process began to roll along, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition that seeks to invalidate Sereno’s appointment.

Last May, the Supreme Court voted 8-6 in favor of the quo warranto, removing Sereno from the Chief Justice post. Later that month, Sereno filed a motion for reconsideration that sought to reverse the court’s original ruling, which was then quashed by another 8-6 vote Tuesday afternoon.

With the court’s ruling now final, Atty. Gadon’s impeachment complaint is now deemed ‘moot’ and ‘academic’ by the House of Representatives, and is expected to be terminated. It also means that the possible third Senate impeachment trial of the current millennium will no longer materialize.

Had the quo warranto not been filed and approved, viewers would have had a field day watching the proceedings at the Senate. But as it stands now, there will not be a repeat of what happened in the impeachment trials of former President Joseph Estrada and former Chief Justice Renato Corona, in which high drama and tension filled the Senate.

Now that Maria Lourdes Sereno is no longer the Chief Justice, the so-called “SerenoSerye” is officially over. It was a long and exhaustive procedure to say the least, but for the many people involved in the drama, it was worth telling.

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Final Thoughts on The House Hearings of the Sereno Impeachment Case

Facing the music: The fate of the impeachment case against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will be decided at the House of Representatives later this week. (Photo credit: GMA News Online)

It was a sigh of relief, for now.

Last week, the House Justice Committee officially wrapped up its hearings on the impeachment case against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. The hearings, which began in September 2017, focused on the complaints filed by Atty. Larry Gadon against Sereno, particularly the latter’s statement of assets and liabilities that were deemed questionable.

Throughout the proceedings, fellow Supreme Court justices, staff and other witnesses testified in front of House Justice Committee chairman, Rep. Reynaldo Umali, and the other members of the committee. In total, 14 hearings took place that lasted around 12 hours each.

At first, the country’s top news outlets like ANC, GMA News TV, CNN Philippines and even Rappler were present to broadcast the proceedings in various platforms. However, it became clear that other important events and the overall length of each hearing took its toll on each network’s coverage, and by the final day the hearings were all but forgotten.

It also didn’t help that the hearings got in the way of important news programs. ANC, for example, has cut its coverage short at times in favor of live newscasts.

But for whatever shortcomings television and radio has, social media can take care of it. Viewers who were faithfully following the Sereno impeachment hearings from day one can thank the Facebook pages of each of the media outlets (particularly ABS-CBN News and Rappler) for providing uninterrupted and no-holds-barred action of the event.

Such is the complicated nature of the Sereno impeachment hearings. Those 12 hours spent at the Batasan Pambansa were at times draining for media personnel, who were tasked to digest whatever words the witnesses, Rep. Umali and his fellow congressmen said.

Still, the hearings were only the beginning. While Chief Justice Sereno goes on indefinite leave, the House Justice Committee commences its vote on the matter, and if they approve it, the Senate will now take care of business by virtue of an impeachment trial.

But in a late-breaking story, Solicitor General Jose Calida sought the Supreme Court for the nullification of Sereno’s appointment, citing the same complaint Atty. Gadon filed against her. This could get complicated because in the event that Sereno is removed from her post, the potential impeachment trial might be thrown into chaos.

Regardless, media outlets should brace for the inevitable. The next few months could be crucial, so good luck with that.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Haplos Down to Final Week, But GMA Doesn’t Care

There is something wrong about ‘Haplos’ lately.

Despite the fact that the GMA afternoon series is performing well in the ratings, the network chose not to promote its impending finale on TV or in any of its social media outlets. Instead, GMA decided to take a look at its successor series ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ (more on that later this week).

The only announcement that viewers got is this post that declares ‘Haplos” final three weeks. After that, GMA shut itself up.

This is not the first time that ‘Haplos’ got screwed by GMA management. On the day of the State of the Nation Address, GMA continued to air its afternoon dramas (‘Haplos’ included), and once President Rodrigo Duterte entered the Batasan Pambansa, ‘Haplos’ was inexplicably cut short.

That unfinished episode of ‘Haplos’ was never shown in its entirety again and GMA moved on with a new episode without any explanation whatsoever. Much like the characters of Sanya Lopez (as Angela) and Thea Tolentino (as Lucille), that episode of ‘Haplos’ ended up becoming a curse to the network for a while.

As a result, ‘Haplos’ will only have 164 completed episodes once it finishes this Friday. Counting the unfinished episode last July 24, the series will only have 164 1/3 episodes in total.

The only positive coming out of ‘Haplos’ was its constant success in the ratings. Since August, the series averaged around 14-15% and on most episodes defeated ABS-CBN counterparts ‘The Better Half’, ‘The Promise of Forever’ and ‘Hanggang Saan’ in that order.

Still, GMA’s mistreatment of ‘Haplos’ is very baffling to say the least. The series has an intriguing storyline that borders towards the supernatural and has two promising actresses in Sanya Lopez and Thea Tolentino, yet even with all the victories it accumulated, GMA screwed things up by not only leaving one episode unfinished, but also not promote its finale at all.

It will be interesting to see how a lack of hype will affect the last five episodes of ‘Haplos’. The series may have been a rousing hit, but it could end in a thud if GMA does not take the promotion of ‘Haplos’ very seriously.

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Thoughts on Sereno Impeachment Hearings

The central character: Atty. Larry Gadon looks on during one of the latest episodes of the impeachment hearing against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. (Photo credit: Manila Bulletin)

It is officially Week 3 of the so-called ‘Serenoserye’.

At 9:30 a.m. today, the sixth episode of the impeachment hearings against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will commence at the Batasan Pambansa. And based on the first five episodes of the ongoing series, all of the people involved have exhausted all the time and effort to reveal everything that is to know.

On average, each episode of the impeachment hearings last for seven to nine hours. Because of the severe length of the hearings, the media networks that are tasked to cover the event had a hard time keeping up, thanks in large part to other concurrent events that affect the country.

More often than not, live coverage of the impeachment hearings were rudely interrupted by a live appearance and address from either President Rodrigo Duterte or any of his staff (namely spokesperson Harry Roque). The President and his men’s constant interruptions have often made the hearings irrelevant at best.

It is always mandatory for news networks to cut from an ongoing Senate or House hearing to President Duterte once he begins to speak in public. After all, the executive branch is always a priority over all other branches of government.

But what baffles many is the treatment in which media outlets approach the hearings. On the good side, GMA News and Rappler provide an uninterrupted live stream of the impeachment hearings on YouTube, with GMA News using one that is exclusive online and not on traditional media.

However, the same cannot be said for ABS-CBN News and CNN Philippines. ABS-CBN News, in particular, provides viewers the feed from the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) and not one that is an independent online feed.

News5? Consider them extinct and moribund at this point.

With the impeachment hearings to continue until January 2018 at the latest, news outlets must find a way to maximize its coverage. There is no excuse for getting interrupted by another concurrent live event; someone should look at other manners with which the impeachment hearings are utilized.

If not, let’s just hope that Congressman Reynaldo Umali and the Justice Committee end each episode at the soonest possible time. Nine hours is just too exhausting to be honest.

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FTT’s Guide to SONA 2017

The second State of the Nation Address under President Rodrigo Duterte is about to happen.

At around 4:00 p.m. of Monday, July 24, the vicinity of the Batasan Pambansa will be filled with politicians, delegates, spectators, mediamen, PNP and AFP officers, Vice President Leni Robredo, and the President himself. The SONA is an annual occasion where the President mentions his accomplishments and reveals his plans for the year ahead.

Last year’s State of the Nation Address was directed by Brillante Mendoza, which was met with mixed reviews. This year, Mendoza will once again be at the helm, but after an unimpressive first outing, expect a few tweaks in his directorial approach.

As for the coverage of the event, here is a summary of how the participating networks will approach the SONA.

ABS-CBN

  1. Channel 2, S+A (simulcast with Channel 2), DZMM and the ABS-CBN News Channel will be the participating stations; each broadcast will be simulcast online on news.abs-cbn.com/sona2017.
  2. Channel 2’s coverage will begin after ‘It’s Showtime’, with Karen Davila as anchor. As mentioned earlier, it will also be seen on S+A Channel 23.
  3. DZMM’s coverage will begin at 1:00 p.m. Karen Davila and Johnson Manabat will anchor the first two hours, followed by David Oro and Ricky Rosales at 3:00 p.m., before Gerry Baja and Anthony Taberna join the fray at 5:00 p.m.
  4. ANC’s coverage will take place throughout the day, with a townhall forum at 3:00 p.m. to be moderated by Karmina Constantino and Tony Velasquez.

CNN Philippines

CNN Philippines’ coverage begins at 5:00 a.m. In typical CNN Philippines fashion, their coverage will be bilingual; mid-morning to early afternoon coverage will be in Filipino while the rest will be in English.

Viewers of the network will see the likes of Claire Celdran, Amelyn Veloso, Ruth Cabal, Pinky Webb, Pia Hontiveros and Mitzi Borromeo anchor CNN Philippines’ SONA coverage. It will also be aired online on Facebook and on the CNN Philippines website.

GMA Network

GMA News TV confirmed that they will cover the SONA starting at 3:10 p.m., marking the first time since 2014 that the oft-criticized news network will participate in the event. Jessica Soho and Arnold Clavio will anchor said coverage.

However, Channel 7 and DZBB have yet to reveal its plans for the SONA. If Channel 7 and/or DZBB pushes through with separate coverage, it is likely that Mike Enriquez, Mel Tiangco and/or Vicky Morales will anchor the proceedings while DZBB will utilize some of its mainstays such as Joel Reyes Zobel.

TV5

The network that infamously snubs President Duterte’s live speeches on television will have no choice but to join in. While Luchi Cruz-Valdes is penciled in to anchor their coverage, she might as well need some help considering how decimated TV5’s team is right now.

TV5’s coverage will most likely be simulcast on AksyonTV (unless it changes its mind and airs nonsensical TV shopping programs), Radyo5 92.3 News FM, and on News5’s Facebook page and official website. They do not need to worry about preempting programs because their lineup is all but a free-for-all.

PTV-4

PTV-4’s coverage, which also features special packages throughout the day, will be led by Rocky Ignacio, Aljo Bendijo, Angelique Lazo, Alex Santos and Catherine Vital. The government-owned station will begin their coverage of the SONA at 2:30 p.m., with a simulcast on the network’s YouTube channel.

The revitalization of PTV was among the many objectives that President Duterte raised during last year’s SONA. The project is still ongoing, but viewers can only hope that PTV’s presentation will be a much-improved one.

Other networks

All AM radio stations (save for specialty ones) will be on-hand to cover this year’s SONA. On the television side, independent UHF TV stations Net 25 and UNTV-37 will also participate in the event.

As far as IBC-13 is concerned, it is likely that the beleaguered network will no longer play a role in the SONA. Although President Duterte promised an immediate privatization of the network in last year’s SONA, the process remains slow to say the least.

Come this Monday afternoon, all eyes will be on President Rodrigo Duterte. Never mind how long his speech will be, as long as viewers understand his message going forward.

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House Hearing on NBP Drug Trade Resumes Today. Will News5 Participate?

The hearing on the New Bilibid Prisons drug trade resumes today at the Batasan Pambansa. The focus of the broadcast aspect will be on News5, who only covered the hearings online last September 20-21. (Photo credit: Roices Naguit)

The hearing on the New Bilibid Prisons drug trade resumes today at the Batasan Pambansa. (Photo credit: Roices Naguit)

The House of Representatives’ hearing on the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prisons resumes today.

The third part of the hearings will feature notable witnesses such as Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos and former intelligence officer Joenel Sanchez. The House has also sent invitations to former Bucor general Franklin Bucayu, former driver of Leila de Lima Ronnie Dayan, and convicted inmate Jaybee Sebastian.

All of the witnesses will be presented by the Department of Justice. On a related note, the alleged sex video of Leila de Lima will no longer be shown at the hearings due to negative criticisms.

Broadcast-wise, the hearings will again be seen live in most major news outlets both online and on traditional media. The question is, is News5 fully committed to carrying the hearings?

It can be recalled that during the House hearings that took place on September 20 and 21, News5 only aired the entirety of the proceedings online, with AksyonTV partially participating and Radyo5 92.3 News FM ignoring it altogether. News5’s non-airing of the hearings on traditional media was heavily criticized, and its apparent ignorance serves as an insult to TV5 in general.

While ‘Relasyon’ and ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ are just some of the most popular shows on Radyo5, preempting the two shows in favor of live hearings could have benefited the Kapatid follower. After all, unlike the ‘Big Three’ in AM that are DZBB, DZMM and DZRH, Radyo5 can be accessible on most mobile devices (e.g. cellphones), thus giving them an advantage.

Still, with due respect to Luchi Cruz-Valdes, Gladys Lana-Lucas, Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, Raffy Tulfo and Niña Taduran, every once in a while they should have given way to important events such as this. Once they show up to host their respective programs in an occasion of utmost importance, it will be an utter disgrace to the community of journalists.

Let’s just hope that News5 finally comes to their senses and air this hearing on their broadcast networks. Otherwise, expect even greater criticism from this embattled outlet.

As for the rest of the stations (e.g. DZMM TeleRadyo, GMA News TV, CNN Philippines, ABS-CBN News Channel), good luck again on this marathon. Every word and movement on this hearing will be very crucial towards delivering the utmost truth.

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