A shadowy group makes a pitch against fake news
posted 6-May-2018  ·  
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Sometime in the second week of April, the Reader’s Advocate of the Philippine Daily Inquirer received a letter from Marlon Suplig, the president of the Catanduanes Crusaders Against Illegal Drugs and Corruption, Inc. (CCAIDC), supposedly organized to eradicate illegal drugs and corrupt practices.

It told the PDI that it has filed cases against local government officials, groups and individuals “who are involved in different anomalous transactions that sacrifice the interest of the people,” including Governor Joseph Cua.

Suplig, a mediaman himself, said CCAIDC serves as a watchdog in the community and “believes that it is part of its duty to check whether the news circulating in the province is true and based on facts.”

Thus, it said, in consideration of this objective and the PDI’s being one of those “with the clamor in (sic) eradicating the proliferation of fake news,” he wrote to report the “different issues and anomalies” that the PDI’s correspondent for Catanduanes, Tribune publisher Fernan Gianan, “has been involved in during the exercise of his duties as a media practitioner.”

“We believe that Gianan is unfit to represent himself as a journalist because of his morally reprehensible actions and questionable character,” Suplig stated.

He cited Gianan’s removal from office in February 2014 as municipal engineer of Virac and the revocation of his PRC license as civil engineer for “falsely reporting” the status of a project, the accusation of Manuel Tablizo that the Tribune failed to render the truth in a news report regarding a local court’s decision, the libel case filed Sunwest Water & Electric Co. (SUWECO), and, lastly, quoting “reliable sources,” the allegation that “Gianan received payments from individuals and groups to publish stories which will put them in favorable light, thereby totally disregarding the other side of the story.”

“From these acts, it can thus be said that Gianan is practicing envelopmental journalism and biased reporting,” Suplig told the Inquirer in asking for the removal of Gianan from the roster of esteemed journalists and contributors.

For the record, the publisher in question resigned from his post in 2005, way before the case was decided on the basis of the complainant’s evidence, as the respondent chose not to attend the hearings at the Civil Service Commission.

On the other hand, based on his opinion that the Tribune story failed to render his entire story, Tablizo filed a libel complaint against Gianan before the Provincial Prosecution Office. The handling prosecutor promptly dismissed the baseless charge despite the publisher’s failure to submit a counter-affidavit.

The libel case is currently on appeal and the story has yet to end.

On his allegation of envelopmental journalism and biased reporting, the people is the better judge of the Tribune publisher’s credibility. If the reading public believes that this paper and its writers are no longer truthful and credible as far as their reporting is concerned, then they would no longer buy and read this weekly tabloid.

Let it be said that a newspaper is only as good as the stories it carries and the men who write them. Let the people be the judge of the credibility of Fernan Gianan, Jex Lucero, Efren Sorra, Fr. Rommel Arcilla and Tang Tacio.

The allegations of a shadowy organization that is scarcely known on the island and its corporate and political backers would be mere gossip.

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