So is Raissa Robles the ‘small lady’?

As the circus that is the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona drags on, there is much collateral damage being wrought upon the already fraying society of the Philippines. One is the spectre of a constitutional crisis now casting a pall over the nation’s hallowed institutions. The other is the undermining of the already shaky collective trust that props up the fragile banking system of the country. The third one is long overdue: the shake up of the little girls’ club that is Philippine “journalism”.

The most recent buzz going around is the word on the street that famed “investigative journalist” Raissa Robles is the “small lady” referred to by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Rey Umali as the “anonymous source” of an envelope allegedly filled with bank documents that he handed over to lead impeachment prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr. The documents were subsequently used as a key basis for a summons the Senate trial court issued requiring the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) and the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) to reveal details of Corona’s deposits with them. Robles has so far issued many denials that she is the enigmatic “small lady” that could be in serious violation of Philippine bank secrecy laws. Aside from her first statement on the matter on Twitter, she also issued similar denials last Friday on a comment and a post on her blog, then today (12th of Feb) on what is her second post on the issue where she details a phone interview she conducted with Tribune columnist Ninez Cacho-Olivares who also wrote about Robles’s “small lady” links.

The thing that is the more remarkable thing to note is how this rather quaint episode highlighted how so many people actually wouldn’t put it past Robles to actually be Umali’s “small lady” — which explains the monumental effort Robles now takes to “clear” her hallowed name. Robles is known to have fielded many stories that seemingly sought to demonise Chief Justice Renato Corona, taking many approaches ranging from an attempt to discredit the notion of the Rule of Law (a notion which tended to work in favour of Corona’s position), to dragging Corona’s wife Ms Cristina Corona into the quagmire by digging up dirt about her that is largely irrelevant to the case.

Interestingly, beyond Robles’s published denials that she is not “small lady”, no other information that supports this denial can be found. Though many in Robles’s community of commenters on her blog (who refer to the forum as “Our Plaza Miranda”) have expressed their support and extended their “prayers” for her well-being there has been no further insight on Robles’s side of the story from any third or disaffected party. Quite a poetic situation to be in for a person whose business it is to routinely not take people’s word at face value. “Investigative journalist”, right?

So in short, it is Robles’s word against that of a Web-empowered public — a public whose once solid reliance on and beholdenness to mainstream Philippine “journalism” as a source of “reliable” information is fast being eroded in light of recent events. Indeed, that the Raissa Robles = Small Lady rumour spread to begin with and persisted stubbornly despite Robles’s initial “clarifications” indicates the evidently diminished standing Philippine journalism now holds in Philippine society.

It will be a hard slog for apologists of the embattled clique of Filipino “journalists” that once made like they were “heroes” of some sort of “revolution”. Within the span of less than a decade, Filipino “journalists” had figured in one astounding spectacle of irresponsibility after another, first openly supporting renegade soldiers in 2006, then fatally undermining efforts to negotiate a hostage situation that resulted in the deaths of eight foreign tourists in 2010.

And now, much to the consternation of the Philippine banking industry, a new breed of “online journalists” now make it a standard practice to publish unauthorised details of foreign currency bank accounts, as Magtanggol de la Cruz and Carmela Fonbuena of “social news network” site Rappler.com did when they published the balance and account number of one of Corona’s foreign currency deposits with PSBank.

Collateral damage is a bitch, isn’t it? History is pretty much the story of unintended consequences that were outcomes of ideas that seemed like a good thing at the time they were conceived.

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36 Comments on “So is Raissa Robles the ‘small lady’?”

  1. Kung walang itinatago yang si Corona, ipakta nya sa taumbayan ang dollar account nya. Nagmana kasi sa amo nyang si Gloria. At tgilan nyo na si Raissa dhl mas marami ang naniniwala sa kanya kesa sa Pro-GLORIA blog na ito

    1. Ladies and gentlemen, Vincenzo Arellano: The Schizophrenic Squatter Boy.

      BTW, you really love to break laws in order to seek ‘justice.’ Please, get a hold on yourself. 😛

    2. And your precious president must stop being a coward and admit that this CJ impeachment nonsense is nothing but a dirty tactic by him so that they can still retain his cojuanco relative’s hacienda luisita. And there you go again with your pro-arroyo accusation bias to us that you still can’t prove. Again vincensus ignoramus, YOU BETRAYED THE LAW!

    3. So you can claim to see the light dirt on Corona’s face, yet you are blind to the heavy mud on Pnoy’s face. Rightttt…..

    4. yan ang pangangatwiran ng mahina ang ulo. Masang masa ang pananaw. Kung walang tinatagong balat sa pwet si Abnoy, dapat ipakita nya. Ganun ba ang hamon? K din yun. Kaso ipapaliwanag ni CJ yung mga $, eh si Abnoy paano ipaliliwanag?

      1. Meh. The Yellow Media and the likes of you are trying to brainwash the media. And you just dragged Corona in to your delusions, right? 😛

      2. If you’re going to be troller can you at least have an imagination? Seriously if this was cooking I’d say that your using the same leftovers again and again.

  2. BenignO

    Technically, Robles may not be lying when she denies being Rep. Umali’s “small lady,” since there may never have been any “small lady” to begin with.

    Ninez in a Tribune news Report (02/10/2012): “The claimed “small lady” who supplied the prosecution with the the envelope that had copies of the Phililppine Savings Bank (PSBank) documents was none other than the Katipunan branch manager, Annabelle Tiongson, who had leaked this to a second “leak,” one Gigi Sawit who, in turn, gave the copies to blogger and stringer of the South China Morning Post, Raissa Robles.”

    In fact, the report continues: “Senator-judge Jinggoy Estrada asked Garcia if their PSBank branch manager in Katipunan is a small lady. ”She’s not little. She’s tall,” Garcia said.”

    Even then, technically again, “tall” lady Tiongson may not even be the “leaker” at all, since she has official access as branch manager to their client’s bank records with NO authority, of course, to divulge such records to any other person.

    However, the report reveals this interesting info: “It appears that Tupas is a bank client of the same bank headed by its branch manager, Tiongson. Tupas is Tiongson client and is claimed to have an account in that bank that runs to the millions. The source said the bank documents were first shown to Tupas who had asked for these.”

    So, it’s Tupas–the LEAKER–who gave it to Rep Umali, the Fall Guy, and to the “gossipmongers” – “person[s] given to gossiping and divulging personal information about others,” Robles in particular.

    http://www.tribuneonline.org/20120210/headlines/20120210hed1.html

    NOTE: I think it should be the SC’s Luisita decision late last year that unleashed the “collaterals.”

    1. My nkaraan sguro 2ng otor kay Raissa. Kaya kht lie, puno pa dn paninindiGan nya. Nasobrahan sa panOnOod ng walang hanggan

      1. Hehe, that’s more attributed to Raissa Robles sa panonood ng ‘Walang Hanggan’. It was shown on ABS-CBN, which is a very biased station.

        Eat your own sh*t. 😛

        1. Its an obvious sign that he is having difficulty countering our attacks that’s why he switched to idiot text mode.

  3. So I guess the next chapter is going to include what Rappler.com will do to defend one of their own, now that what has happened to Robles seems eerily familiar to her…

    1. Rappler is indeed a good source. Mrme pla dollar ito si Corona na hnd match sa SALN nya. Bakit?mana kay Gloria?

      1. Nope. Rappler is also a questionable source so it was not trusted. Oh yeah, you just want the banking system destroyed because Noynoy’s government is an ANARCHY, which you love.

        Stop your insanity, Vincenzo. 😛

      2. Vincenzo,

        Naipakita na ng mga abogado ng amo mo, na hindi nila kayang mapatunayan na ang mga pera ni Corona ay naikamtan sa pamamagitan ng paraang labag sa batas. Kinakailangan pa nilang lumabag ng batas ng bangko upang makuha ang kailangan nila. Sa madaling salita, dinadaan sa dahas. At ginagamit nila ang pagiging “inggitero” at “pakialamero” at ipinapalabas ito sa taumbayan bilang “sa ngalan ng katarungan”.

        Kasamaang-palad lang din ng mga katulad mong sarado ang pag-iisip, na nakakapagtaka at kaduda-duda bilang pahayagan ang Rappler.com, dahil di man nila masabi ng diretso na wala silang kinikilingang panig, at wala silang mga lihim na motibo.

        Panghuli, di ka ba nagtataka na ang amo mong si Aquino, upang makapaghiganti lang kay Corona at Arroyo, ay binabaklas at unti-unting sinisira ang kinatatayuan ng ating bansa? Pinabayaan na nga ang ekonomiya, ni ang tugon sa pangangailangan sa mga nasalanta ng lindol sa Visayas ang bagal pa rin eh.

        Sabihin mo lang pag kamot ulo ka na. Umiyak ka na pabalik sa amo mo.

  4. “the undermining of the already shaky collective trust that props up the fragile banking system of the country…”

    Rather than be negatively affected, it seems like the Philippine Savings Bank benefited from the impeachment trial.

    By standing his ground, that PSB dude, Pascual Garcia, savored every second of his more than 60 Minutes of fame on national TV.

    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/02/12/12/amid-controversy-psbank-reports-bond-sale-demand

  5. bakit may banner ng rappler sa gilid, ang lupet pa ng logo nila “change the world one conversation at a time” wow “change the world” taas ng ambisyon

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