Category Archives: MEDIA

Mayor Joe III can’t interfere in daughter’s happiness

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
-John Wooden

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — A father can’t interfere in his daughter’s love affair.
He can only give advice and suggestions, but a father can’t control or halt a daughter’s heartbeat.
He can’t prevent her either from marrying the love of her life–unless it’s a shotgun marriage; unless the marriage is fraught with fraud and impropriety.
Such was the case when the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) defied Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa and proceeded with the issuance of notice of award to the MetroPac Water Investments Corp (MWIC) for their P12.349-billion joint venture December 21.


MIWD showed Mayor Joe III that its love affair with the MWIC is “none of his business” to say the least.
That the deal underwent transparent process, legitimate and aboveboard.
Therefore, the city mayor has no right to halt the MIWD-MWIC romance.
As a father, Mayor Joe III can’t stand in between his daughter and her happiness.
As long as they are both happy and satisfied, their understanding is mutual; and the marriage doesn’t have any legal impediment, couple MIWD and MWIC can live happily ever after.
Mayor Joe III can always run to the court if he still wishes to uncouple the lovers.

News is when a man bites a dog. Dog biting a man isn’t news.
News is when a cabbie or a driver of any public or private vehicle fatally attacks a pedestrian or a fellow driver in a traffic altercation.
They call it “road rage.”
A mere exchange of heated words isn’t news. A road scene where an angry motorist flashes “f” sign to another motorist or a pedestrian vice versa, isn’t even earthshaking.
When irate drivers and passengers tangle in chaotic traffic snarl during rush hours, it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Just like when we see beggars wearing rugged cloths in the sidewalks or a cop placing cuffs on a thief. They are normal events.


But when a sweet-looking young lady, who seems can not hurt a fly, punches an elderly driver in broaddaylight over a traffic snafu and the victim reels away like a groggy pugilist about to hit the canvas, it’s not only news, it’s viral especially when the tumult is caught on video.
In our culture, elderly persons are treasured, loved, and respected regardless of status in life.
Even if they commit slight trespasses or simple misdemeanor, we don’t lay our hand on them.
If they misbehave or commit unplesant acts sometimes due to dementia and other age-related ailments, we can chide them surreptitiously but not harm them physically.
We don’t assault our own parents.

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Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Family, MEDIA, POLITICS


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Thank God for giving us Jhett Tolentino

“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.”
–Arthur Schopenhauer

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — A Fil-Am doctor from Texas once told a group of sportswriters, including this writer, in Las Vegas that “it will take another 100 years before the Philippines can produce another Manny Pacquiao in boxing.”
In musical theater, let me say that 100 years are not enough for Iloilo City to produce another Jhett Tolentino.
Let me say further: thank God for giving Iloilo City and the Philippines Jhett Tolentino.
He is one of a kind. Unassuming and soft-spoken, Tolentino is one of the most intelligent Fil-Ams making waves in American entertainment world today.
If Michael Jordan is considered as the genius of basketball, Jhett Tolentino is the genius of musical theater.
Tolentino is God’s gift to the Philippines, now notorious for alleged state-directed EJKs (extra-judicial killings) involving drug pushers and addicts.


While Iloilo City is being battered by negative issues like “the most shabulized city in the Philippines” and “hometown of (the slain) drug lord Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr.”, New York City-based producer Tolentino restored the Ilonggo pride by clinching a Grammy award for Best Musical Theater for “The Color Purple” album in Hollywood on February 12, 2017.
The Iloilo-born artist shared the award with fellow producers Stephen Bray, Van Dean, Frank Filipetti, Roy Furman, Joan Raffe, and Scott Sanders; composers Brenda Russel and Allee Willis; and principal soloists Cynthia Erivo, Danielle Brooks, and Jennifer Hudson.
Tolentino’s victory was a titanic accomplishment by any producer born and raised in the Philippines.
No other Filipino producer in recent memory has achieved such international honor.


In fact, Tolentino became only the second Filipino to win a Tony’s award in Broadway next to Lea Salonga when he captured three trophies: the first in 2013 for “Vanya and Sonia and Marsha and Spike” which starred Sigourney Weaver; and the two in 2014 as one of the producers of “A Raisin in the Sun” and “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”
A Raisin in the Sun,” which stars Denzel Washington, and “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” respectively won Best Revival of a Play and Best Musical at the 68th Antoinette Perry (Tony) Awards held at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City on June 8, 2014.
Because of Tolentino’s extra-ordinary achievements in the global stage, he has become bigger than life that his name is now synonymous to world class.

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Posted by on March 8, 2017 in MEDIA, MUSIC


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We mourn Boy Mejorada’s conviction for libel

“If you call your opponent a politician, it’s grounds for libel.”

–Mark Russell


By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — As a community journalist, I am personally saddened by the decision of Pasay City, Philippines Regional Trial Court Branch 188 Presiding Judge Rowena Nieves A. Tan to convict former Iloilo Press and Radio Club president Manuel “Boy” Mejorada for libel.
The case was filed by Senator Franklin Drilon in 2014 after Mejorada, a former Iloilo provincial administrator, criticized the “overpriced” P700-million Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) and the “anomalous” use of the senator’s pork barrel fund in his Iloilo City projects.
A libel case in the Philippines carries a penalty of imprisonment.
A convicted journalist will be cuffed like an ordinary criminal, a blot in the image of a democratic state that prides itself as having the “freest press” in the world.
Mejorada, who lives in Iloilo City, has been sentenced to spend time in prison for up to four years.


If the Motion for Reconsideration to be filed by his lawyer within 15 days since the sentence was out will be denied, a warrant for Mejorada’s arrest is imminent.
He will have to travel from Iloilo City to Pasay City just to be placed behind bars.
This is the kind of “agony” and inconvenience enemies of press freedom would like to happen to purveyors of truth and adherents of transparency in government.
We are worried because Mejorada, who has been a community journalist for more than 30 years now and a senior in media profession, will have to deal with his case in a faraway Pasays City in Metro Manila, considered as “a lion’s den.”
If this could happen to a veteran journalist, any media practitioner who will anger with commentaries and reports powerful and influential political figures in the country like the former senate president, could also suffer the same fate.
In a democratic country like the Philippines, the last thing people would want to see is a news or opinion writer or anchorman being manacled and padlocked in jail for exercising his freedom of speech and expression.


We are aware that a libel case is not supposed to prosper against members of the Fourth Estate in the Philippines.
We are not prejudging the Motion for Reconsideration to be filed by Mejorada in the sala of Judge Tan, and, possibly in the Court of Appeals (CA), but there have been so many Supreme Court rulings in the past that reversed libel convictions involving journalists in the lower courts–from RTC to CA.
Even public officials like Drilon know that in Philippine jurisprudence, no Supreme Court decision was ever decided with finality against newsmen accused of libel.
Even the late former President Corazon Aquino, who hauled to court the late famous journalists Max Soliven and Luis Beltran in one of the most celebrated libel cases in the country, lost in the Supreme Court.

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Posted by on February 21, 2017 in MEDIA, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!, POLITICS


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Interview with ‘Buang’

“If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.”

Keith Richards

10321585_10202009656425861_4778066052025742179_oBy Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Sometime in 1996, a friend in Iloilo City requested us to interview Richard Prevendido alyas “Buang”, who was then detained at the Iloilo Rehabilitation Center or the old provincial jail on Bonifacio Drive, City Proper.
Aside from this writer, five other Iloilo mediamen selected by our friend accompanied the group.
We had no idea who Prevendido was and why he would be accorded a privilege of facing a group of selected reporters while under detention.
We had no idea that he was also known as “Buang” (crazy), but the friend said he was a “victim of false charges.”
“What were the charges?” we inquired.
Violation of Republic Act 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act 1972, we were told.


Pevendido, who had tattoos in the body, appealed in Hiligaynon that he should be released “as soon as possible because I am innocent and I never engaged in selling of illegal drugs.”
Jail authorities allowed the 15-minute interview but Prevendido was not allowed to go out the jail.
We don’t know when was Prevendido released or what happened to the charges filed against him, but when he was out he became active in selling of illegal drugs, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
I read in the Philippine news that the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) headed by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. has approved the recommendation of Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) Director Harold Tuzon to provide additional reward to those who can furnish information leading to the arrest of Prevendido and other drug personalities in Iloilo.
This was on top of the bounty offered by the Iloilo City Government through the Iloilo City Peace and Order Council (CPOC).
The reward has reached P1 million, as of this writing.


Prevendido, according to the PDEA, is now the No. 1 drug personality in Western Visayas.
He is now considered as “drug lord”, according to reports.
Other drug personalities with rewards for their arrest included: Ariel Prevendido of Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao (P10,000); Troy John Prevendido of Barangay Bakhaw (P10,000); Ana Penecilla y Prevendido of Barangay Bakhaw (P10,000); Romeo Penecilla y Pudadera alias “Boyet” of Tanza Rizal Estanzuela, City Proper (P10,000); Rampart Gregori of Barangay Desamparados, Jaro (P10,000); Errol Barcebas of Iloilo City (P10,000); Jessica Mino of Molo, Iloilo City (P10,000); Ma. Beauty Dela Cruz of Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao (P10,000); and Niven Dejeron of Barangay Desamparados, Jaro (P10,000).

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Posted by on January 26, 2017 in CRIME, MEDIA


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GMA Iloilo staff get ‘AlDub’ first, guillotine second

“No matter what you’re going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you’ll find the positive side of things.” Demi Lovato

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Just like death row inmates, employees of GMA television network in Iloilo were given food and entertainment before being herded to the gallows.
Less than two weeks after sending Alden Richards of the AlDub fame in Iloilo City, the GMA television network sent some 20 Iloilo employees packing.
The recent round of retrenchment dissolved the “Ratsada 24 Oras” and trimmed down the effervescent media outlet into a satellite sales office.
Like in the previous “belt-tightening” measures in April this year where 37 employees in the entire Visayas were zapped, most of those affected, including production staff, cameramen and field reporters, were caught flat-footed.


In his Facebook account, lawyer Jobert Penaflorida, co-host of “Ratsada 24 Oras” confirmed the splitsville, but emphasizing that “the best is yet to come.”
“Last Friday, November 13, three days after my one-year contract with GMA ended, Ratsada 24 Oras aired its last newscast.
“I feel for the hardworking men and women who have spent their best years to build a strong and solid news program.
“But I feel blessed and privileged to have been part of the longest-running news program in Iloilo. 16 years is no mean feat.
“I take this opportunity to thank everyone in GMA Network for this kind opportunity and for warmly accepting me as one of their own.
“I was already happy with my ‘early’ retirement from media in 2013 when GMA surprisingly invited me to join its team.
“Short but sweet. I cherish my experience in Ratsada 24 Oras. Pleasant. Enriching. Heartwarming.”


He added: “I thank my bosses and everyone I worked with, especially Rexcel John Billones Sorza and Gerthrode Charlotte Tan-Mabilog for all the kindness and the help. The news and engineering people, with special mention to my director and my cameraman.
“I ask the Lord why the need for a one-year ‘detour’ in my own personal journey. The answer is clear: the opportunity to meet these kind, genuine and generous human beings.
“Our respective journey continues. Our roads will certainly intertwine in more ways than one. As my own experience has shown me, there are no goodbyes. The best is yet to come! Salamat gid, mga Kapuso! I am proud I am one.”


Co-host, Gerthrode Charlotte Tan-Mabilog, also bade goodbye in her Facebook account, saying she was “deeply grateful. The Lord is truly good!”:
“Doing the newscast for the past 13 years has been one of my greatest joys in life. GMA opened doors for me to meet and build relationships with people, visit places I never deemed possible in one lifetime, and collect meaningful learnings I will carry with me everywhere I go. For all of these, I am deeply grateful. The Lord is truly good!
“Today (Nov. 16), I bid you farewell. Thank you for supporting me and Ratsada for so many years. Thank you for making me a part of your homes for over a decade. It has been such a pleasure doing this service for Western Visayas.
“Thank you to my bosses Jo Tadeo Marcelo Cel Atega Rosales Amores Lee Escudero, Jonathan Cabillon, Marissa Flores, and Jet Orbida for this priceless opportunity. This is Gerthrode Charlotte Tan, signing off.”
Rexcel John Billones Sorza, a production boss, thanked their supporters: “Thank you everyone. Your comforting words kept us strong as we embraced a painful reality. See you around.”

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Posted by on November 17, 2015 in MEDIA


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Let’s fight evil; we join Pope Francis’ US visit

“I believe in God – not in a Catholic God; there is no Catholic God. There is God, and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator. This is my Being.” Pope Francis

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– The fight against evil must start from our thoughts. Action second.
If we have a dirty thinking, everything else becomes dirty–including our way of life.
In fact, cleansing of the soul must commence even without any papal visit.
As members of the Christian community in this part of the globe, we believe that we are duty-bound to observe the fundamental Christian precepts in our thoughts, in words and in deeds.
This has become our personal mantra as we join fellow Christian faithful here in the United States in preparing for the visit of Pope Francis on September 22-27.
While applying for media accreditation for the event, the United States Conference of Bishops (a counterpart of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines) exhorted us to also observe the 10 ways to participate in the Papal Visit.


That we must take part in a “Virtual Pilgrimage” with these prayers as the Holy Father makes his way to more than a dozen different locations in Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia.
We must learn more about the places Pope Francis will visit by following his journey on this interactive map;
To become “Pope Francis literate” by reading his two encyclical letters: Lumen Fidei and Laudato Si;
To stay up-to-date and read insightful commentary by connecting with the only news source founded and supported by the US Bishops, Catholic News Service;
To have a Papal Visit Watch Party! All events will be live streamed in English with audio commentary. We shall select events that will also be available for video on demand here;
To take our faith and the latest papal visit news with us on the go by downloading the Catholic Church app for IOS at the iTunes store or for Android devices on Google Play.


To respond to Pope Francis’s call to encounter by reaching out to those in need, supporting parish or community charitable efforts, acting to promote life, human dignity, families and religious freedom, and by caring for creation;
To invite a non-Catholic or non-practicing Catholic friend to Mass next weekend so they can experience the joy of the Gospel;
To engage in social media: use our hash tags #PopeinUS and #PapaEnUSA. We must not forget to use some Pope emojis;
To support the many people working to make Pope Francis’ historic US visit a success by praying for them to the Blessed Virgin under her title Mary, Undoer of Knots (a favorite of Pope Francis); and
To include in your intentions: Vatican staff, The US Secret Service, the US Bishops, their staff and volunteers, the World Meeting of Families committee and volunteers, and the three host archdioceses and host cities.

OFFICIAL SECHEDULE for Pope Francis’ Visit to U.S.: Washington D.C., Tuesday, September 22, 2015
4pm: Pope Francis arrives in D.C. at Joint Base Andrews at 4 p.m.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
9:15 a.m: White House Welcoming Ceremony and personal meeting with President Barack Obama
11:00 a.m. Papal Parade along the Ellipse and the National Mall
11:30 a.m: Midday Prayer with U.S. bishops at Saint Matthew’s Cathedral in D.C.
4:15 p.m: Junipero Serra Canonization Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Thursday, September 24, 2015
9:20 a.m: Arrival at Capitol
10 a.m. Speech to the Senate and House of Representatives (Joint Session of Congress)
11 a.m. Brief appearance on West Front of Capitol
11:15 a.m: Visit to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in D.C. and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
4 p.m: Departure for New York from Joint Base Andrews (D.C.)
5 p.m. Arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York)
6:45 p.m. Evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York)
Pope Francis Visits New York, Friday, September 25, 2015
8:30 a.m United Nations General-Assembly
11:30 a.m Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center
4 p.m. Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem
5 p.m. Papal motorcade through Central Park
6 p.m. Madison Square Garden Mass
Pope Francis Visits Philadelphia, Saturday, September 26, 2015
8:40 a.m Departure for Philadelphia from John F. Kennedy International Airport
9:30 a.m Arrival in Atlantic Aviation hangar at Philadelphia International Airport Philadelphia
10:30 a.m Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul
4:45 p.m Visit to Independence Mall
7:30 p.m Visit to Festival of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Prayer Vigil with World Meeting of Families
Sunday, September 27, 2015
9:15 a.m Papal meeting with Bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
11 a.m Visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
4 p.m Papal Mass for World Meeting of Families
7 p.m. Visit with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families at Atlantic Aviation
8 p.m Departure for return to Rome

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Posted by on September 21, 2015 in MEDIA, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!, RELIGION


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 Our Charlie Hebdo gives us libel cases, not bullets

“One of the unsung freedoms that go with a free press is the freedom not to read it.” Ferdinand Mount

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

AS community journalists, we consider it more glorious to go to jail than to be killed like sitting ducks from an assassin’s bullets.

What happened in France as we were preparing for the arrival of Pope Francis here early this month, was unheard of in all the violence related to the practice of free speech and press freedom.

If editors and cartoonists of Paris-based satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were Filipinos and the paper was published in the Philippines, they would have ended up in the courtrooms, not in the cemetery, for lampooning political and religious icons.

Lampoon is an interesting fabric in a magazine or newspaper.

Abusive military and government officials are tormented in blind items.

In Western Visayas, we have Tya Barang and Snap Flaks in New Express (I started writing for this paper in 1988); Lapsus Calami formerly Lapsus Linguae in Panay News; Tony Mauricio in the defunct Daily Informer; and Lolo Beloy Jr. in Sun.Star Iloilo.

In France they have Charlie Hebdo, not just a column but the entire magazine using cartoons to ridicule prominent political and religious characters.

Except on rare occasions where targets of media criticism resort to violence, critical Filipino journalists are harassed only by onion-skinned characters through libel suits.

Plaintiffs know they have slim chances of wrapping up a conviction against a crusading journalist, but they nevertheless proceed with the judicial option instead of settling matters in a brutal manner.


Automatic rifle-toting gunmen storming an editorial room and shooting editors, reporters, cartoonists, and columnists is unimaginable in this country.

Slaughtering the entire editorial staff right inside the newsroom would be the most abominable act to be committed against members of the Fourth Estate in a democratic state like the Philippines.

It means dealing a mortal blow against the very institution that performs as vanguard of a constitutionally-guaranteed democratic ideal.

Media martyrs in this country are killed by drug lords, gambling lords, rogue cops, corrupt military men and politicians, not because they committed blasphemy and ecclesiastical slander.

When a journalist is murdered, either he was silenced because of an investigative report that would expose anomalies and crimes or for personal motives.

Not because he insulted a religion.

What happened in Maguindanao massacre where more than 30 journalists were killed, can’t be compared to the Charlie Hebdo bloodbath.

Unlike the Charlie Hebdo carnage, the slain Ampatuan journalists were not the real targets.

They were collateral damage.

Because we have laws against libel, enemies of press freedom go to court when they express displeasure and dismay against the “offending” journalists.


The Philippines is still ranked as among the most dangerous countries for crusading journalists, according to the International Organization of Journalists.

We have among the highest mortality rate in terms of violence against media practitioners; and the culture of impunity remains mind-boggling because we are supposed to be the freest and the only Catholic in Asia.

The only consolation is enemies have never commanded a group of maniacs to attack media outlets and execute members of media.

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Posted by on January 20, 2015 in CRIME, EDUCATION, MEDIA


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