You know election season has started when wannabe’s for the Senate manage to buy their way and insert their names and faces in daily news stories even if their statements have no news values.
I was going to excerpt here, with proper acknowledgments, the investigative reports in PCIJ’s Chay Florentino Hofilena’s News for Sale on how candidates buy their way to the news media to increase their name-recall (in the Philippines, people vote according to name-recall, the rest are bought with money passed on thru ward leaders – called “machinery”).
But I saw the news story on Alan Cayetano, a wannabe for the Senate, last night calling on the opposition to unite in one senatorial slate in order to beat Gloria’s senatorial line-up. Of course, that senatorial slate should include him, he wouldn’t be going thru all this trouble and expense, literally expenses.
That’s not what I was going to blog about today. Alan seems to be a nice guy. It’s the name “Jimmy Policarpio” whom the ANC reporter Nadia Trinidad (ANC news, November 9, 2006) billed as “political strategist”. Now, where did I first hear that name? Oh, yes….. he was one of those named in Yoly Ricaforte’s ledger. I’ve almost forgotten about that. Yoly Ricaforte was Erap’s jueteng auditor; now she’s still at large in the U.S. and Atong Ang provided her with a lawyer there; if you ask me, she is less “guilty” than Atong Ang and the rest, and therefore a better witness. Jimmy Policarpio was named in that ledger as conduit or recipient of Estrada’s jueteng payoffs; he was called “Jimpol” in that book, and opposite his name was listed hundreds of millions of jueteng money. It’s in the exhibits in the plunder case, part of public records, if you’d like to take a look at it.
Yes, i’ve almost forgotten that episode. I also saw his name in an investigative report by Carlos Conde in the Philippine Journalism Review, March 2001, vol. 12, No. 1, pages 20-22). In one part, Caloy quotes the article of Dennis Sabangan in The Sunday Paper Dec. 17-23, 2000 (I think this was a magazine supplement of the Inquirer then (?). Anyway. The authors said “the bribery of the reporters before and during the Senate impeachment trial (of Estrada) was actually part of “Oplan Scooby Doo” a massive bribery strategy hatched by Estrada’s camp to silence the media in the wake of the political crisis. xxxOplan Scooby Doo according to the report had a budget of P600 million and was allegedly masterminded by Jimmy Policarpio, the Presidential Legislative Liaison Officer of Estrada who was tagged by Singson as having periodically received jueteng protection money that was supposedly used to bribe members of the media. xxx Sabangan’s sources said that senior reporters and editors got between P100,000 and P200,000 as “package deal” during the entire trial, while junior reporters for tabloids and `minor’ broadsheets got P2,000 to P5,000 per article. xxx” The report details how the money was distributed in a restaurant and how the reporters were briefed.
I’m not good with names, so it took me a while to recall it.
But the corruption of the media comes in many forms, from many directions, both from the government and opposition, the only difference being the ruling party has bigger, much bigger money bags.
To be fair, in the next blogs, I will excerpt a section in News for Sale, which details how the Lakas ruling party bribed reporters in the 1998 and 2004 elections. That’s JDV and Gloria, and you would see how the money bags are much bigger on the other side.
You know it’s election season when bagmen are trotted out by reporters as strategists and oracles.