Noynoy Aquino vs Noli de Castro: was it all staged reality TV?

I’m no fan of the way Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III publicly criticised former Vice President Noli de Castro during an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of TV Patrol, the ABS-CBN news program de Castro anchors. But I have to admit that I cannot ignore my own consistent track record of criticising the way news is reported in the Philippines. Noli de Castro’s TV Patrol is specifically notable in that it pioneered the shout-out style of news reporting that is now a style standard in Philippine television journalism.

One of the spawn of TV Patrol is ABS-CBN news program Bandila which airs, in full bells-and-whistles regalia, on Australian television. I wrote about Bandila some time ago in my September 2009 article The establishmentisation of the Philippine Media where I highlighted how it symbolised the way television news reporting in the Philippines has been reduced to an embarrassing abomination:

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I, for example, am very critical of ABS-CBN on the basis of what I see on their Bandila news program which is aired on a free-to-view channel in Australia, specifically in the way they routinely:

– give disproportionate airtime to hearsay (sabi-ni-ganyan and sabi-ni-ganito) “reporting” and other instances of sloppy journalism that insult their otherwise noble profession;

– give disproportionate airtime to politically-charged stories when there are disasters and other events affecting hundreds or thousands of ordinary Filipinos that are more newsworthy and deserving of broadcast minutes; and,

– broadcast images of uncovered dead bodies demonstrating a lack of respect for privacy and regard for common decency.

On one episode (I think this was in the aftermath of flash flooding in the Bicol region), they even had their field reporters and camera crews shoving their way into a busy emergency room to interview medical personnel.

One also could wonder why Bandila gave so much coverage to the hoo-ha around President Arroyo’s $20,000 dinner in New York City with her cronies and is largely silent about the millions of pesos other politicians spend on buying advertising minutes for their “public service” messages — until one realises that these “public services” messages constitute a major revenue stream for ABS-CBN.

There is also something to be said about the gaudy and noisy (lots of sound effects and electric guitars on the background) format of the Bandila news program, which starkly contrasts with the sober and dignified format of the other news programs from other countries that are also aired on the same channel. Bandila is to the broadcast news industry what the jeepney is to the automotive industry.

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Then again, on what authority does President BS Aquino III presume to prescribe the manner with which ABS-CBN “report” the news? The irony escapes the President that he and ABS-CBN are the same — reflections of the character of the people who consume their products with great gusto.

On the other hand, one might actually think twice about regarding this Noli de Castro brouhaha as genuine reality TV. Some clues as to the possibly dubious authenticity of this spat between the President and one of the stars of the family media empire lies in a statement on the matter issued by head of ABS-CBN News Ging Reyes…

“It’s a good and bad thing actually. It’s bad that the President himself made the criticism but it’s also good for us because it shows that we are not biased towards this administration as most of our critics claimed in our coverage of the Arroyo arrest and Corona impeachment,” said Reyes in a phone interview.

Conspiracy theorists may have something to work with there. Is it possible that this whole Noli versus Noynoy circus was merely staged to get ABS-CBN off the hook on its sorry track record of biased news reporting?

Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.


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29 Comments on "Noynoy Aquino vs Noli de Castro: was it all staged reality TV?"

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that it had to come from aquino was unfortunate, and in itself opened the floodgates to MORE CONTROVERSY. but it’s a long-festering issue, this lampoon orgy the media has passed off for responsible journalism, to please the palate of the masses. it’s a question of viewership, at the end of the day- a thriving business that lines the pockets of a select few.

On the middle of what is supposed to be a night of celebration? Nonoy seems to be carrying a lot of despair whenever he deals with this kind of event especially with the presence of his enemies, I just can’t believe how arrogant this yellow bald is. How untimely it is for him to cast his sword, in fact, he is no different with any of his predecessors, to compare. Gloria must be a lot more educated because at least, she don’t put someone in shame in front of his colleagues, she’d better do it in other network. That’s no… Read more »

we will know it wasnt “scripted” when aquino will pursue his anger with noli knowing how vindictive this aquino is,, see how unstoppable he is on pursuing gloria to jail? he will do it on noli if his anger is genuine.. great article btw.


If it was staged it wouldn’t be the first time he relied on a cheap stunt to make up for inadequacies in reality.

Anybody, whatever it is you call it, may it be constructive criticism or so, still it is ruining somebody elses mood to drink for something. In the first place, this arrogant yellow bald seems to be turning into a complainer, possibly because of too much stress as it becomes too obvious on his face. Other than that, he must already be suffering from memory lost. Did he already forget that what he is complaining about is the result of his action of running for president? You can’t please everybody to toe your line of distorted straight path noy. Damn for… Read more »
Alvin Lizada

Could be, but the manner in which the mental capacity of Noynoy is so complicated and unpredictable. Like having to discover how a brain of a cockroach works.


Good shot, Mr. President!

We need a more positive
attitude towards
ourselves as a nation. Let
us believe in ourselves! It’s not only “Magandang
Gabi, Bayan” that’s guilty
of destroying everything
that’s good in the country
today. It’s really about
time to balance news – present the good news
and the bad news. Expose
the bad but serve to
inspire, too!


can’t wait for the next episode… 🙂

Doomed Nation

Maybe ABS-CBN should give PNoy his own show at ANC. The perfect title would be “The Complainer”.


Not a big fan of PNoy but for once, his candor has hit the mark. Serves Kabayan and his oligarch boss right.

It befuddles me how ABSCBN could reunite De Castro (a see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil PGMA buffoon), Sanchez (Mar Roxas’ beard), and an anchor filler in the same program. They are as credible as PGMA’s I-Am-Sorry, Roxas’ Mister-Palengke monicker, and Corona’s SALN.


Been like a douche since day one. Nothing surprising.

A good role model to the “siga” crowd.

Yellow off

That yellow bald is arrogant and childish. He keeps on poking his enemies talking trash. Well he is staging an impending doom to the government he is running. Tuwid na daan as he calls it, depends primarily on how he sees the road he is aiming. Thank the non intellectuals who voted for u. You never even pass a single bill. Take that yellow ribbon off!