The anti-Corona media coverage on the Corona impeachment trial

If there’s one thing I totally agree with in deposed Chief Justice Renato Corona’s testimony, it’s his — and the rest of the civilized world’s — observation that Philippine mainstream media ganged up on him, as if by order of the Godfather (or a head of state with close ties to media moguls).

Being neither former President Arroyo’s or President Aquino’s fan, I didn’t decide to favor or oppose the then chief magistrate in his impeachment trial. I was for truth. Let the process go through its course, then let’s see and judge, I thought.

Unfortunately, news superstars Inquirer, ABS-CBN News, and even newcomer Rappler seemed to dismiss attempts to render fair reportage, destroying chances for audiences to know what really happened.

I cannot speak much for how the others fared (as I only “studied” them occasionally), but I sure noticed how the Inquirer gave us a brazenly anti-Corona, pro-Noynoy stand.

Just do a cursory (but careful) check of the paper’s frontpages in the past few months, and you’ll see evidence screaming at you. Corona was guilty until proven innocent.

Once, the paper even swam in the murky regions of “bad taste” through that Vicente photos blunder — in what seemed to be a case of character assassination.

And look at how they projected this country’s head of state as “hard at work” (with a dramatic photo, no less) at the height of the “Noynoying” hype.

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I am moderately happy with the conviction, of course; anyone you call “Justice” (and a “Chief” at that) should be a paragon of his namesake, down to the detail of reporting wealth scrupulously.

But I am sad for him, because others who are surely worse are basking in the general triumph of democracy, as if they were immaculate and bright all along, as if catching a fellow wrongdoer would exonerate them of their own wrongs. But sadder still, because media has ruined one man’s family — unfairly — with what seem like strings attached to the presidential Palace.

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SALN not found

THE PCIJ REPORT (also published in GMA News Online) on not finding the statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez is commendable. It’s comforting to know some journalists are indeed pursuing truth in issues that matter more.

Just come to think of it: amid the hubbub over the controversial ombudsman, why didn’t anyone ask for basic facts such as the net worth of the country’s supposed graft-fighters?

The ombudsman’s obscurity, as clearly reported on by PCIJ, ironically adds more light to the controversy in which the ombudsman finds herself.

The report also highlights the need for easier access to relevant information regarding public officials. The paper trail which PCIJ is treading is shamefully long and zigzagging, thanks to an apparently inefficient (or secretive) bureaucracy.