Monday, December 17, 2012

Letter to Philippine Press Club Ontario

(For COMMENTS, please click here)


December 17, 2012

Mr. Ricardo Caluen
President, Philippine Press Club Ontario
92 Carlton Street - Unit 802
Toronto, Ontario
M5B 1M5

      Dear Mr. Caluen:

The undersigned are members of the Metro Toronto Filipino-Canadian community and others who value fairness, respect, charity, goodwill, unity, peace and harmony in our community.

We desire a community that honors achievement and inspires the younger generation to be the best they can be, a community whose members work together in unity to advance their common goals and self-interest.

We believe in the freedom of the press, which is an extension of every individual’s freedom of speech.

But we also believe in fair, honest, accurate and balanced reporting by media organizations and their personnel in order to avoid inflicting unnecessary or undue harm to a person’s reputation.

We particularly abhor media bullying such as the use of excessive, repetitive, sensational, abrasive, contemptuous, crass and mean-spirited articles which have no ostensible purpose other than to badger, harass and subject their objects to emotional distress.

We believe in what author and philosopher Nigel Warburton has said: “The media must x x x make an effort to provide socially responsible coverage that fosters the common good in their communities . . .”

We have an interest in maintaining a cohesive and vibrant community that works for the common good; as such, we shun articles, columns or postings that unduly discredit, humiliate and demean achievers and volunteers in our community.

We expect members of the media to exercise caution, sensitivity and restraint when characterizing people always mindful of the time-honored principle of an accused being held innocent until proven guilty.

Consistent with widely accepted journalistic standards, the media should only judge or criticize actions and arguments, and refrain from ad hominem attacks.

We are writing this letter to you because we are gravely concerned with the discord, disunity, turmoil and distress that have befallen our community of late.

This unwelcome development has been and is being spurred by a series of condescending and, quite possibly, even defamatory, articles and other writings published and circulated by one local newsprint organization, Balita, and its ally in cyberspace, The Filipino Web Channel also known as PhilVoiceNews, against certain members of our community.

We refer to Senator Jun Enverga and wife Rosemer who have been the main targets of the above-referred to media organizations and also Lilac Cana, a gifted Filipino artist and community volunteer who has been the pride of our community not only for her artistic talents but also for the honor that she has brought to our community in public appearances that have gained worldwide recognition.

The Philippine Press Club of Ontario’s Constitution and Bylaws express as one of its objectives embracing and advancing “ethical and professional journalism” and participating positively in activities that aim to “strengthen the social fabric”.

In March of this year, PPCO’s Board adopted a Code of Ethics for its members that, among other things, embraces the fundamental principle that persons accused of any wrong-doing are innocent until proven otherwise.

Listed below is a sampling of a series of articles penned by Balita columnists and reporters and published by Balita, which we find profoundly disturbing (copies attached for convenience).

Title of Article or Posting
Nov 30, 2012
Sep 29, 2012
Quo Vadis Senator? (T. Soriano)
Sep 29, 2012
Sep 19, 2012
Sep 17, 2012
Aug 31, 2012
Aug 14, 2012
Aug 02, 2012
Jun 19, 2012
Smoke and Mirrors  (R. Marquez)
Jun 03, 2012

In our view, the spate of abrasive articles repeatedly targeting the same individuals on essentially the same issues, when taken together, may constitute unethical, if not criminal, harassment by the media organizations involved, particularly when examined in the context of the facts already known to the media (for example, in reference to the Envergas, the initiation by PIDC in April 2012 of an internal audit of its finances intended to unravel the same truth that the writers are purportedly seeking).

In light of the audit alluded to, the subsequent articles targeting the Envergas are, in our opinion, misdirected and have no legitimate purpose except to annoy, harass and hold the above-named members of our community up to hatred, contempt and ridicule and to cause them substantial emotional distress. 

We do not wish to speculate on the motives behind the articles.

Suffice for us to point out that the community’s trust in the press is being eroded, and each one of us now asks how and whether your organization can and will protect citizens – ordinary or in responsible positions – from media bullying.

Unless checked, anyone in the community is or can be a target of harassment by the media and we are taking a stand not only for ourselves but also for those who have chosen to remain silent.

Furthermore, we are asking if members of the media are committed to playing a positive role in the development of our community.

We bring this matter to your attention confident that PPCO will act resolutely to address the situation.

We have no malicious intent in bringing this complaint. We recognize the value of the media in effecting social change. In a true spirit of partnership, together we can achieve what is best for our community.

We hereby ask the Philippine Press Club of Ontario, under your leadership, to initiate a formal investigation and take whatever action deemed necessary, desirable or appropriate in the circumstances.

Please acknowledge receipt of this communication through any one of the signatories below and keep us posted on PPCO’s plan to address this complaint. We consider this a pressing matter and request that PPCO address and resolve this complaint within thirty days of the date of this letter.


Abraham Villahermosa
Adolfo Tigley
Alain Canizares
Alex Catangui
Anne To
Annette Simbulan (Dr.)
Arturo Telesforo
Babie Pino
Bert Cruz
Bobby Gabat
Cecile Cruz
Chelly Silva (Dr.)
Clem Cabillan
Cristina Soriano
Dario Guiao
Delfin Palileo
Ed Simbulan
Elsieta Arao
Emy Telesforo
Ernie Marasigan
Estelita Panganiban
Fe Tabago
Franco Torlao
Fred Del Rosario
George Poblete
Gloria Rafanan
Guy Camacho
Gwendolyn Flor
Inocencio Bernaldez
Joe Damasco
Josie Almario
Juleto Tigley
Karl Haab, President
    New Conservatory of Music Ltd., Scarborough
Ligaya Cana
Lita Leano
Lito Almario
Maria Bernardita Daco
Marita Enriquez
Mercy Maliglig (support withdrawn after contacted by Balita)
Mila Magno
Norman Suguitan
Olivia Camacho
Oswald Magno
Oswald Tugadi
Pedy Pino
Phillip Rafanan
Popoy Cana
Ricardo Gutierrez
Rodel Meier
Rodel Ramos
Romeo Rafael
Rose Dioso
Rose Flor
Rose Gumtang
Rosendo Dioso
Salvacion Bernaldez
Sena Flores
Sheila Canizares
Sonny Lauzon
Steve Pagao
Teresita Gutierrez
Tessie Haab
Tony Leano
Zenaida Bernardo

cc. Members of the PPCO Board


  1. When the news of Senator Tobias Enverga was released, my first reaction was of joy and pride that a Canadian Filipino is indeed now a Canadian Senator.

    There will always be two or more versions of reactions.

    Our best response going forward from hereon is to connect with Senator Enverga and support positive initiatives he can bring to our society. The negative reaction from Balita staff or other negative actors must be overshadowed by our positive collaborative efforts.

    We must rally behind this new accomplishment in the political growth of Canadian-Filipinos or Filipino Canadians. One senator's action is nothing without the support of the citizens. This must be proven by Senator Enverga, himself, as he carries on his duties and responsibilities.

    Sharing you my humble opinion,
    Rey A. Juan

  2. Media is a powerful tool 'to make or to break'....
    ... the power of thoughts, coupled with the spoken words ... is a builder.
    ... it becomes.... manifest.

    As the teachings in Genesis say: In the beginning was the word, and the word was with GOD (the creator), then manifestation in material sense.

    You are correct, 'the ill-will seeks to destroy'. It is destructive to the Filipino community we are trying to unify.

    I support your intention in demanding for responsible reporting in the media.

    May the Brightest Blessings be upon men of good will!

    I will forward your message to others.

    Amy Calibuso

  3. Please include me as one of the supporters of this petition. I had been reading Balita's commentaries about our local respected leaders and I am disgusted about the contents which are not factually true.

    Jose Gutierrez

  4. I support your arguments in the petition. Count me as one of the supporters. If there is a formal documentation, I would like to be included as one of the signatories.

    Thank you and please include me as a supporter on any future undertakings.

    Ralph Ferrer

  5. Balita used to be a respected newspaper under Ruben. Reporting was downhill ever since Ruben had an accident. With the coming of the investigative reporter who does not investigate from SanDiego... all the respect vanished. What a shame.

    Balita's reporting is Crab Mentality at its finest! Sometimes I am ashamed to be called a Filipino because of this.


  6. Ching and Tony RagosJanuary 20, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    Unfortunately I seldom have occasion to read a Pilipino paper; but now I will pay particular attention to BALITA as I am curious about its sleazy journalism.

    But why print on the bad light of Enverga's promotion to being made a senator. Surely it is something we Pilipinos should be proud of. I wonder why the Balita owner and journalist instead wrote a negative report about them.

    Add Tony and my name in your petition.

  7. You can add my name among those who support the petition.

    While I support freedom of the press, this freedom must be exercised in a socially responsible way, not a monopoly of one group or faction. In most cases, people's reputations are hurt.

    Jose Sison Luzadas

  8. I sincerely support this Petition
    Please add my name for your future actions against this kind of journalism...We have to leave Talangka Mentality in the Philippines! Cusipag and Marquez are ruining the reputation of all OFWs

    Tina Santos

  9. I am saddened by the way this 3 fellow Filipinos are furiously trying to destroy a fellow kababayan through the use of a supposedly trusted and responsible newspaper. The big question is, if the accusations are true, why are all the other Filipino newspapers not coming out with the same or similar accusations ? I would like to thank all major community and religious groups for vigorously supporting Senator Tobias Enverga and Rosemer Enverga.

  10. Pls include my name in the petition.

    Freddie Magno

  11. Please put my name on this list. I support this petition.

    I just recently read other articles about this issue.


    Rick Aranas