“We wish to commend the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism for a job well done on its three-part series on President Arroyo’s still-to-be-explained wealth. The press serves a watchdog function and, disagreeable as it may be to those who have suffered its nasty bite, we must allow the press to perform this function, without coercion or threats. “It now behoves the President to personally respond to the issues raised by the PCIJ article. It is unfortunate that instead of clarifying matters, the President has opted to call in her legal advisers who have tried to attack the message as well as the messenger rather than respond in any meaningful and germane manner. “In particular, the business community would be particularly interested in the remarkable growth of Mrs. Arroyo’s net worth during her incumbency as a government employee from 1992 to 2008, when her personal wealth increased from P6.73 million to P143.54 million, according to the PCIJ account. That equates to a compounded growth of 21.1% per annum, wherein her net worth doubled every 3.4 years. Her stock portfolio, meanwhile, grew by 41% per annum from P55 million in 2006 to P110 million in 2008, at a time when the Philippine Stock Exchange index fell by 21%. “Held against the light of economic reality and the First Couple’s declared assets and income sources, the impressive growth of Mrs. Arroyo’s wealth is difficult to fathom. Through her lawyer, the President has stated that she stands by the “truth and veracity” of her SALN, but it is difficult to accept her statement at face value if all that she has to substantiate her claim is the paltry information provided in the document and her spokespersons’ explanations that only lead to more unanswered questions. “Like Caesar’s wife, the President must be above suspicion. As the highest public servant in our country and in the interest of good governance, Mrs. Arroyo must set an example by making a full and transparent accounting of her and her family’s wealth. She owes the Filipino people an explanation.”
From the statement of the Makati Business Club on the PCIJ’s three-part investigative report, “Can President Arroyo Explain Her Wealth?” – August 12, 2009
…The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), which has become a unique and major journalism institution. At first it was considered a “wire agency” for investigative stories. The PCIJ was a challenge to some editors who saw that major journalistic projects, usually those that require a series of in-depth articles, should be one of the tasks of a newspaper. Having to share “agency” stories was just unimaginable at a time when exclusives and scoops still reigned as the hallmarks of a top newspaper. But when PCIJ articles used by client publications won major prizes in the J.V.Ongpin Investigative Journalism Awards, editors and publishers took notice. And instead of looking at PCIJ as a competitor, accepted it as an ally. For the publication shares in the glory won by a PCIJ report.”
From “Muckracking and attack dogs” by Benjamin G. Defensor, The Manila Times
June 15, 2008
“The Manila-based Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) has broken hundreds of stories in print, radio, TV, and online documenting official corruption as it trains a generation of investigative journalists in the region. In 2000, a PCIJ team revealed how then-President Joseph Estrada had amassed luxury homes, lavished money on mistresses, and acquired secret stakes in a dozen companies. The series goaded the Philippine media into action, helped form key charges in an impeachment trial, and ultimately led to Estrada’s downfall.”
From the Inaugural Report of Center for International Media Assistance – “Empowering Independent Media, U.S. Efforts to Foster Free and Independent News Around the World”
…in Manila, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) has produced hundreds of stories, eight documentaries, and two dozen books documenting official corruption and corporate abuse, while helping train a generation of investigative journalists across Southeast Asia. The development of investigative journalism overseas owes much to a growing network of non-profit centers like the PCIJ, according to veteran trainers and reporters active in the field.”
From the Inaugural Report of Center for International Media Assistance – CIMA Research Report: Global Investigative Journalism: Strategies for Support – “Empowering Independent Media, U.S. Efforts to Foster Free and Independent News Around the World”
The PCIJ… is widely credited with successfully spreading the practice of investigative reporting within the Philippines — and with helping introduce it across the rest of Asia. Yet, despite the PCIJ’s high profile and success, it has relied heavily on grants to subsidize its training — and most of those funds have been raised, quite deliberately, from overseas.
from the Global Investigative Journalism: Strategies for Support – A Report to the Center for International Media Assistance
December 5, 2007
Few non-profit groups win the kind of accolades showered on the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. “The people who impressed me the most were the PCIJ,” says Roderick Macdonell, who ran the World Bank’s investigative reporting program for five years. “They were doing just incredibly courageous work, and under threat at times,” adds Suzanne Siskel, who ran the Ford Foundation office in Manila during the late 1990s. “They always kept their integrity; they always were doing very innovative work.” Founded in 1989 with a few hundred dollars and a single typewriter, the PCIJ has grown into the gold standard for investigative reporting in Asia. The Center is best known for its series on the hidden wealth of President Joseph Estrada, which forced his resignation, but the PCIJ’s impact goes far beyond that scandal. Its reporters have broken hundreds of stories in print, radio, TV, and online, produced eight documentaries, and written two dozen books, meticulously documenting official corruption and corporate abuse. Its trainers have almost single-handedly educated a generation of investigative journalism in the Philippines and spread their know-how across Asia. The Center’s alumni, moreover, are now ensconced at major TV stations, newspapers, online sites, and universities.
From the Global Investigative Journalism: Strategies for Support – A Report to the Center for International Media Assistance – “A Model for Muckracking: The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism”
December 5, 2007
(Spring) The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism is widely acknowledged today as the premier investigative reporting institution in Asia, literally introducing investigative journalism to the Philippines and other countries in the region. Not only have its high impact, multimedia investigative reports served as a public example, the organization also has separately held seminars and published training manuals teaching national and international journalists about techniques for investigating political corruption, how to access information laws and other exigencies in the entire Asia-Pacific region. PCIJ trainers have also worked with local journalists on-the-ground in Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, China and Thailand, and, in fact, a similar organization patterned directly after PCIJ was created in 1997, the Nepal Center for Investigative Journalism (known on the ground in Nepal as “KPK”). The Philippine Center’s success also has inspired journalists in other countries – Bangladesh and Indonesia, for example – who have been fascinated and flirtatious entrepreneurially about creating a similar organization.
From “The Growing Importance of Non-profit Journalism” by Charles Lewis, Shorenstein Fellow
The infamous “Hello, Garci” recordings, for example, were first made available online by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) blog. PCIJ was also the first to break the story on the existence of the three-hour recording of conversations between President Arroyo, among others, and a senior election official, online manager Alecks Pabico said in the Philippine Journalism Reports July issue. With the demand for the recordings straining PCIJ’s US-based web server, other bloggers offered help by putting up alternate locations to download the file and setting up a way for it to be shared, using the more efficient peer-to-peer network. The blog has come a long way from its inception as a personal online journal.
From “See it, hear it” by Max T. Limpag, Sun Star Cebu
September 22, 2005
The PCIJ “is the foundation stone of the Philippine media… It’s brave, and it’s necessary. They went ahead of the other media.”
from an interview with Doreen Fernandez with San Francisco Chronicle, Department of Communication, Ateneo de Manila University
December 9, 2000
(Fall) “I read nearly every book on the topicthere were not too many of them at Widener Library interviewed directors of investigative journalism and wrote a research study explaining ho a center could be set up in the Philippines. About a year after I got back, a group of us sharing the same concerns decided to do something about it. We rewrote my research paper into a project proposal and got the Asia Foundation to fund what we called the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
“That was nine years ago. After its first years, when it seemed to be ready to fold up for lack of funding and newspaper publishers’ unwillingness to support it, the PCIJ has become a respected journalism institution in the country. It does far more than trade tips on reporting techniques. It publishes reports that have won media awards in the country year after year. Dial its trunk line now, and you’ll be asked what section of it you want to reach: women’s desk, environment, publishing, training and editorial. It even has its own quarterly magazine, “I” (as in investigative), a combination perhaps of the 1970’s Ramparts or Rolling Stone (when that magazine was still a serious one), and Nieman Reports.”
From the Nieman Notes compiled by Lois Fiore – “Muckraking in Philippines” by Rigoberto Tiglao, Nieman Fellow and Co-Founder of PCIJ