TEN months, nine lives, and a flurry of finger-pointing and paper work later, the controversy over the media coverage of the 2010 Luneta hostage-taking incident by the country’s biggest and most influential television and radio networks has come down to feeble fines of P30,000, and a virtual slap on the wrist.
The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), the national association of owners and operators of radio and television stations in the country, has levied fines on two major television networks and one radio network for broadcasting information that it ruled could have compromised police efforts to rescue the hostages during the day-long hostage-taking incident at the Quirino Grandstand on Aug. 23, 2010.
THERE are still a few more weeks to go before the May polls, but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is already busy counting – political ads, that is, not votes.
Election laws put specific caps on campaign expenditures and political ad airtimes, as well as on the size and frequency of printed campaign ads. With political strategists themselves saying that ads account for as much as 70 percent of the campaign expenditure of a candidate running for a national post, the Comelec has been after documents from broadcast and print media outfits that would show just how many – and for how much – ads candidates have been placing with them since the campaign period began on February 9.
IT’S A disconcerting paradox to say the least: In their avowed desire to serve in the highest office of the land, the top two candidates for president – Senator Manuel B. Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party and Senator Benigno S. Aquino III of the Liberal Party – are now being packaged and sold in the same way profit-driven firms market shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, diaper, infant formula, noodles, drugs for colds and diarrhea, mobile phone cards, beer, and whiskey.
Source: Nielsen Media
JUST a mere month into the 90-day official campaign period, three presidential candidates have already used up more than half of their allowed ad airtime in the country’s two top networks.
This is even as data from media monitoring agency Nielsen Media indicate a relatively tempered ad-spending among the candidates, compared to the three months prior to the start of the campaign period.
IF the law on campaign spending and political advertising were imposed before the official campaign period began last week, one presidential candidate would have already overspent in the past three months alone, even as he joins four others who would have exceeded the broadcast limit for TV.
THE SCREAMING is constant, but no one seems to mind. In fact, the contestants are encouraged to scream round after round, as boxes containing thousands of pesos and big prizes light up. The screams, however, are the same thing over and over again: “Give me some money!!!”
When it debuted on GMA-7 last October, “Whammy” was an instant hit, shooting to the top spot in daytime ratings. The mechanics are simple: three contestants take turns at a sort of digital roulette, yelling “go” or “stop” whenever they please. The idea is to pick up as much cash and prizes as possible, while avoiding getting the dreaded red demon known as the “Whammy.”
“PHILIPPINE IDOL” semifinalist Ira Marasigan is not your typical reality-television contestant. She is, after all, a fresh graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University who is living an upperclass lifestyle. That alone makes her an oddity in a television genre notorious for attracting all sorts of desperate characters who compete over cash and careers in show business.
Then again, Marasigan says she saw joining the Philippine franchise of the global TV hit “American Idol” as just having fun: “No one convinced me, I thought it would be quite an accomplishment to make it to Philippine Idol.” It was — considering how many Idol-wannabes auditioned for the show.
HER NEIGHBORS on 200 P. de la Cruz Street remember the 49-year-old Lolita Bergado as a fair, petite, and pretty housewife who loved to watch television. She lived in a one-bedroom house with her husband and their four sons, the oldest 30 and the youngest, 14. They also have a daughter, 19-year-old Marjorie-lue or Joy, who was born with Down’s syndrome. Two daughters-in-law and two grandchildren stay with them as well. Lolita cooked meals and kept house for them all — 11 members of an extended family that somehow managed to cram themselves into a dark and airless concrete shell barely 40 square meters in size.
THE FIRST time Fr. Romeo J. Intengan, SJ, was summoned by a woman who lived in Malacañang, he had to flee the country to avoid her wrath. The woman was Imelda Marcos; the year was 1980. More recently, in November 2005, he came under fire for supposedly presenting exit scenarios to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He admits she has sought his advice in the past regarding religious matters, but denies bringing up exit plans with her.