Stories posted 1998

News for Sale:
The Corruption of the Philippine Media

Finalist: National Book Award for Journalism (1998)

MEDIA CORRUPTION is not an easy subject for jorunalistic investigation. In this unprecedented work, Chay Florentino-Hofileña looks at the history of media corruption in the Philippines, probes corrupt practices in the 1990s, and discovers how a free press can be bought.

This study shows that compared to the past, media corruption in the post-Marcos era is costlier, more pervasive, and even more systemic. It is also disturbingly sophisticated, and in some cases, even institutionalized. The organized way in which corruption takes place—through a network of jorunalists reporting to other journalists or to professional public relations or PR people—makes it seem almost like the operation of a criminal syndicate, a mafia of corrupt practitioners.

Pork and other Perks:
Corruption and Governance
in the Philippines

Winner: National Book Award for Journalism (1998)

CORRUPTION is an issues as old as governance itself. Filipinos therefore tend to be cynical about corruption in government. They are shocked that public officials are corrupt, although they may sometimes marvel at the magnitude of the thievery.

Yet more and more Filipinos are now raising issues about the effectiveness of government performance, the accountability of government institutions, and the transparency of government agencies. They have realized that democracy in itself does not ensue that government officials and institutions are immune to the corruption that plagued authoritarian regimes.

The grandmother of all scams

GEORGE TRIVIÑO, Ital-Thai’s Philippine representative, was livid when he found out that the company had begun negotiating the purchase of three reclaimed islands in Manila Bay without his knowledge.

The grandmother of all scams

SINCE THE nineteenth century, discreet brokers, many of them ethnic Chinese, have played a key but often invisible role in Philippine politics. Filipino officials have relied on such middlemen to make under-the-table arrangements away from the glare of public scrutiny.

The grandmother of all scams

ON FRIDAY, April 28, 1995, George Triviño, a convicted gold smuggler with a long history of wheeling-dealing, received 31 checks totaling P300 million from the Amari Coastal Bay Resources Corp., a Thai-Filipino company that had just entered into a P1.8-billion contract with the government to buy reclaimed property off the Manila-Cavite coastal road.