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.

Advertisements
Standard
news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

TV Coverage of Napoles Testimony

Janet Lim-Napoles appeared before the Senate today to testify regarding the Pork Barrel scandal. The much-anticipated testimony was covered by most free TV outlets. However, in an apparent deference, ABS-CBN’s free TV channel 2 and Studio 23 opted not to cover the event in full. Instead they only gave updates and partial live feeds on the ongoing testimony. Also, both AksyonTV and TV5 opted to end their coverage by 12:00 p.m. in order to air the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four.

Give every network credit for pooling their resources in order to bring ongoing updates and live coverage on the Napoles testimony. However, I have to criticize both ABS-CBN and TV5 for a variety of reasons. ABS-CBN, for its part, decided to air the entirety of the Napoles testimony exclusively on its cable networks DZMM TeleRadyo and ABS-CBN News Channel. And while they did air a snippet of the live coverage on Channel 2, it is simply not enough. They may have a high number of cable subscribers on its affiliate SkyCable, but they did not oblige to the most important commodity in television viewership: the masses.

TV5, for its part, ended their coverage to give way to the NCAA Final Four. Unfortunately, they covered the entire tournament on both TV5 and AksyonTV when in fact, they only need to air it on TV5 and defer the Napoles coverage to AksyonTV. For some reason AksyonTV wanted to simulcast the NCAA tournament as a ‘test broadcast’ in an effort to improve its signal and reach, something they have also done in the recently concluded PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. But on this day, AksyonTV failed to be the 24-hour news channel that viewers hoped, and their non-airing of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago‘s press conference following the testimony was an insult to the network.

As for GMA News TV, they were able to commit in full to the testimony, even if they have incurred several no-shows in the past. They realized the importance of this issue, and I have to commend them for a job well done. Despite their reputation as a non-24 hour news channel, and their emphasis on tabloid-like reporting, they were able to give way to something national in scope, at least for today.

With the entire nation watching, Janet Lim-Napoles is now thrust in the spotlight, in what has been the most controversial scandal that rocked the government since the plunder case of President Joseph Estrada. And television networks are taking notice.

ERRATUM: TV5 continued to air the Napoles testimony and deferred to AksyonTV for the live NCAA Final Four coverage. Still, it would have been better if TV5 pushed through with the NCAA coverage and gave the Napoles coverage to AksyonTV instead.

Standard
news, Philippines, politics, television

Leila de Lima’s Announcement and Subsequent TV Coverage

It only took around 45 minutes, but Department of Justice secretary Leila de Lima swiftly announced the filing of plunder, malversation of public funds, bribery, and graft and corruption charges against Pork Barrel mastermind Janet Napoles, senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, and 34 others. Seconds after the charges were filed, media reporters rush in to grab documents of the said cases.

Even before the announcement was made, Senator Enrile had been rushed to the hospital after complaining of difficulty in urinating. It was also reported that once the charges against him were announced, he immediately proclaimed his innocence. Let’s face it, Enrile is an ailing 89-year old man, and accusing him of plunder at his advanced age is not what I want to see. The accusations against him would only hasten his already failing health, and may lead to his eventual death.

Senator Estrada had been accused of plunder before, when he and his father, former President and Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, were both charged relating to the Jose Velarde scandal twelve years earlier. Senator Revilla had also been involved in prior legal cases, both during his acting and ongoing political career. While both denied the accusations, Senator Estrada has said he is prepared to face the charges, while Senator Revilla said that the people should not judge him and his co-accusers this early in their ordeal.

In terms of television coverage, all of the major networks aired the live press conference of de Lima’s announcement. While GMA News TV, DZMM Teleradyo and the ABS-CBN News Channel were able to carry the live press conference, TV5 was forced to carry the announcement as sister station AksyonTV carried the live NCAA games. TV5’s live coverage of the announcement affected their programming; their ‘Sine Ko Singko’ program was delayed for several minutes, while another rerun of ‘Face to Face’ significantly cut the airtime allotted for the public service program ‘T3: Reload’. The Tulfo brothers’ program was reduced to 10 minutes rather than the standard 30, and time constraints prevented any complainants from voicing some of their complaints on national TV. If I were News5 head Luchi Cruz-Valdes, I would tell TV5 president Noel Lorenzana to stop airing reruns of ‘Face to Face’ and instead replace it with any of News5’s public affairs programs, or the live simulcast of Radyo5 92.3 News FM‘s ‘Cristy FerMinute’, because it is becoming too annoying.

Meanwhile, the trial for the plunder case against Napoles and 37 other co-conspirators will be announced soon, and is expected to be carried live by all of the major networks.

Standard
humor, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs

More Napoles News and Jokes

The week in news is all about the Pork Barrel, and its whistleblower Janet Napoles. Monday witnessed the Million People March at the Quirino Grandstand, then Wednesday night saw the voluntary surrender of Napoles at Malacanang. The narrative did not end there, however.

On Friday night the court finally approved the transfer of Janet Napoles from the Makati City Jail to the Fort Sto. Domingo facility in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. It was the same complex that housed former president and Manila mayor Joseph Estrada during his plunder case a decade ago. The court approved the move citing security concerns within the Makati City Jail.

Throughout the week all major television networks extensively the issue of Pork Barrel and the surrender of Janet Napoles. Some segments took exception to the issue by presenting it in a light-hearted manner. On the TV5 program T3: Reload, the Tulfo brothers Ben, Erwin and Raffy decided to make fun of the issue with the use of social media, presenting memes and pick-up lines relating to Janet Napoles and the Pork Barrel scam. Then on the ‘Word of the Lourd’ segment by Lourd de Veyra, he presented a photo of Napoles and asked several people to identify the subject, with one mistakenly identifying the subject as the Korean rapper Psy.

Despite the serious nature of the issue, people still found a way to lighten up the mood of the nation by presenting them in a humorous manner. That ability to construct humor amidst the negativity of the situation enabled the Philippines to rank among the top 10 in the happiest countries poll last year. And that humor overcomes all the poverty and hardship that the country experiences these days.

Meanwhile, more news about Janet Napoles’s transfer will be reported over the next few days, so stay tuned.

Standard
news, Philippines, public affairs, radio

Orly Mercado Returns

If you were listening to Radyo5 92.3 News FM this week, you were surprised to hear a familiar voice on the airwaves. The voice I’m referring to is that of Orly Mercado, who returns to broadcasting thanks to his new morning program “Orly Mercado, All Ready!”

For those not familiar with Mercado, he once served as Defense Secretary under President Joseph Estrada. He also served as a senator during the presidencies of Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos. As a broadcaster, he was one of the hosts of the longest-running public service program “Kapwa Ko Mahal Ko” on GMA 7, among other roles. Overall, he logged over 40 years behind the mic, starting as a student DJ for the RBS (predecessor to GMA 7).

“Orly Mercado, All Ready!” will replace the timeslot vacated by Neil Ocampo’s “Todo Balita”. Ocampo had been on-leave since April. Like “Todo Balita” before, Mercado’s new program will go head-to-head against fellow news and commentary programs DZMM‘s “Kabayan: Kapangyarihan ng Mamamayan, Balita at Talakayan” and DZBB’s “Saksi”. Unfortunately, television viewers would not have a chance to watch Mercado on television, as AksyonTV airs a simulcast of the TV5 morning show “Good Morning Club”.

We all wish Mercado luck in his return to broadcasting.

Standard