Yesterday I wrote about Hataw columnist Mat Vicencio and took issue over his deafening silence when it comes to even just mentioning the name of the suspected mastermind of Bislig radio broadcaster Christopher Lozada.
Friends noted that while Vicencio ran a series of columns criticizing then viciously attacking Presidential Task Force on Media Security Executive Director Usec. Joel Sy Egco, Vicencio hasn’t raised a howl over the fact that Lozada suspected Bislig Mayor Librado Navarro of plotting to kill him.
The National Press Club, the country’s oldest association of journalists, has issued a board resolution declaring support for Egco and his crusade to bring the killers of Lozada to justice.
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The allegation floated about that Presidential Communications Operations Office Usec. Joel Sy Egco, Executive Director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), has threatened to harm a newspaper columnist, is obviously a malicious fake news.
Members of the Publishers Association of the Philippines. Inc. (PAPI) with whom PTFoMS executive has long associated with since his years as a diligent working news reporter up to now, attest that the allegation against Egco is absolutely ridiculous and is simply not in his character.
Having said thus, what seems to be the motive behind the ridiculous allegation? By himself, Egco has hardly figure in any controversy. Is the allegation then intended to malign and discredit the PTFoMS to keep it from running after people who have killed journalists? This seems to be the only logical motive for the fake news.
Interestingly, it has been noted that the allegation against Egco surfaced after PTFoMS investigators started looking into the October 25, 2017 murder of Surigao radio broadcaster Christopher Lozada who earlier told the Task Force about threats to his life ostensibly from a local government executive.
Regardless of the eventual results of the investigation into Lozada’s death, the allegation that Egco has threatened to harm a media practitioner is categorically ridiculous and absolutely nonsense.
Philippine journalists are known for closing ranks in solidarity when one of their own is threatened or attacked, but Vicencio seems to have set himself apart.
Vicencio may have broken ranks with his fellow journalists on the issue of Lozada’s killing, but he is not alone.
Bella Cariaso, a tabloid columnist for Bandera, also published an article highly critical article against Egco which is virtual copy of an articled published by Vicencio in Hataw.
Media friends say that Cariaso is a member of Malacanang Press Corps (MPC) and boasted of using her clout to get members of the MPC support Vicencio’s call to have Egco fired. It might be embarrassing to point out that her clout with the MPC turns out to be non-existent and members of the MPC ignored her pleas.
But why would Cariaso stick her neck out and risk falling on her face for Vicencio? Well, the same media friends point out that Cariaso is a very close friend of Vicencio by virtue of the fact that Cariaso’s Editor In Chief (read as boss) in Bandera IS…. DING! DING DING! Donna Policar, who is the “wife” of Vicencio.
Not only that, like Vicencio, Policar is also a close friend of the former big time politician I mentioned in my previous blog post.
Oh! The Ties that bind!
It would only be a distraction to dwell further on other Policar’s other personal details. Unlike other bloggers, I’ve learned to avoid going gutter level when discussing issues.
What I would like to focus on are what seem to be the copy cat columns of Cariaso and Vicencio. Some publicity practitioners familiar with negative media campaigns might refer to this practice as “pangsi-sindikato”. This is a practice where columnists and reporters publish untrue and unfair articles which carry the same bare allegations and falsehoods.
But I am not accusing Cariosa and Vicencio of being such a syndicate. Although others might.
What follows are snippets from the columns of Cariosa and Vicencio which reveal similar patterns in construction as well as assertions:
- Titles of articles by Vicencio and Cariaso both call for the firing of Egco.
- First paragraph calls on President Duterte to fire Egco.
- Second paragraphs onward support the first paragraph. Vicencio lays down a jumble of non-sequitur reasons for firing Egco. Cariosa, on the other hand, misrepresents the conclusion of the Committee to Protect Journalists Impunity Index — where the Philippine’s ranking IMPROVED from 4th to 5th, with the bulk of journalist killings happening before the Duterte Administration.
4. Paragraph 10 of Vicencio’s article seems “copy-pasted” on the article of Cariaso.
5. Both Vicencio and Cariosa end their articles by making patronizing exhortations for Egco to do his job well.
A friend who read both articles also came away with the very strong impression that Cariosa plagiarized Vicencio’s column.
I wonder if the Philippine Daily Inquirer knows that its columnist Cariosa is demonstrating journalism with questionable ethics? If I were Egco, I’d probably file a complaint with the Inquirer’s ombudsman.