The head of the Manila-based public relations outfit whose pre-poll survey in the mayoralty race in Davao City that had Speaker Prospero Nograles leading had been widely criticized, has turned ugly and has called a well-known and respected personality in education and broadcast here a lapdog of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Eduardo Malay of The Issues and Transparency Center also slammed Willy Torres and the University of Mindanao, one of Mindanao’s oldest and largest universities, and the UMBN Radyo Ukay as “mouthpieces” of the mayor.
Torres is the president of UM and executive officer of the UMBN.
While Malay’s outfit had Nograles ahead against Vice Mayor Sara Duterte (45-35), separate surveys by UM and UMBN had Mayor Duterte’s daughter leading by as much as 80%.
“It is unfortunate that (Willy Torres and the University of Mindanao and ) UMBN which as a media organization should position itself as an impartial purveyor of truth have become a mouthpiece for Duterte,” said Malay in a report published by the local paper Mindanao Insider Daily, where Nograles is said to have substantial investment.
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said Dabawenyos should not see a grain of credibility in Malay and his “fly-by-night organization.”
Police beat reporter
Malay, according to the Mindanao Insider Daily, first media experience was as broadcaster for the Mindanao Broadcasting System (formerly UMBN) in the mid-60s the managed by the late Viring Torres, founder of UM. Old timers in broadcast media here said Malay did not stay long with the radio station, for lack of talent to rise above the level of a police beat reporter.
Malay’s pained assessment Torres, UM and UMBN, came as Mayor Duterte dished him out with a verbal kick in the ass by calling his outfit also called The Center as a “fly-by-night organization.”
The Center announced last month that a survey it conducted in Davao City had Nograles ahead by 10 points against Vice Mayor Duterte.
However in surveys conducted at UM’s Bolton and Matina campuses with students and by UMBN Radio Ukay’s polling of radio listeners Vice Mayor Duterte led with as much as 80% with Nogie earning a measly 15 percent. Vice Mayor Duterte’s wide lead has been validated here by other independent surveys, which have been widely reported in local media, said the Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, the local party of Mayor Duterte.
Breaking up with Nogie
Nograles, friend and buddy of Torres since boyhood, had tried to prevent the release of the survey results, but the respected education and broadcast industry leader stood his ground and had the results released to media. Torres has since broken his ties with Nograles.
The badly hurt Malay said Duterte’s disparaging remark about The Center being a ‘fly-by-night” operator was meant to “skirt the many issues leveled against his administration and divert the attention of the people of Davao City to the anomalies that have reportedly been unearthed by the Commission on Audit.”
The Nograles camp has been all over media dangling the alleged COA report. The Duterte camp has answered one-by-one the issues raised by the Nograles camp, and has urged Dabawenyos to visit the COA website to find out the lies being peddled by the Speaker and his camp. The COA regional office here said the Speaker’s alleged expose is tied to the political season and refused to confirm the allegations against Duterte and daughter Vice Mayor Duterte.
Even as this is the first time that Dabawenyos, whose acute political sense is on tight watch for results of surveys during the election period, have heard of Malay and his outfit, Malay claimed The Center is next to the respected Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia when it comes to surveys.
Dabawenyos had their first brush last year with Malay as a political operator when he gathered here media personalities to support the bid of former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Bayani Fernando to be the presidential candidate of the administration Lakas/Kampi. The camp of Fernando, according to sources, had partly blamed Malay, who reportedly headed the Fernando media bureau, for the MMDA’s chair to grab the slot.
Malay has not mentioned his role in Fernando’s sad political fate in his profile of accomplishments, but is bragging about his other alleged high-profile assignments that made The Center one of the credible pollsters in the country.
The Mindanao Insider Daily reports: “Malay said since their organization started conducting pre-poll surveys for the 2004 presidential elections, The Center has managed to position itself as the third polling firm behind the Social Weather Station (SWS) and Pulse Asia.”
“In fact, The Center earned plaudits when it accurately measured the results of the presidential polls in the National Capital Region in 2004 when its exit poll showed that the late movie actor Fernando Poe Jr. won overwhelmingly in Metro Manila, according to Malay.
“Malay also said that he joined the presidential campaign of then former Defense Secretary Fidel V. Ramos in 1991 at a time when Ramos was contending with the late Speaker Ramon Mitra during the convention of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino or LDP.”
“Malay said he has remained as the Public Relations and Media Adviser of former President Fidel V. Ramos from that time up to now.”
“Certainly, FVR will not want to be associated with someone who is operating a fly-by-night polling organization. In fact, our surveys at The Center is one of the many pieces of information that FVR relies on when it comes to the political environment and over the years we have built up a considerable amount of credibility since our surveys are subscribed to by foreign embassies as well as foreign investment groups. So it is terribly wrong for Duterte to make such an absurd claim as this only show that Duterte is not only misinformed but is attacking the credibility of The Center to divert the public’s attention from the issues leveled against his administration, said Malay.”
“Even the national broadsheets and major television stations have included our surveys in their news reportage which these news organizations will not do if The Center is a fly-by-night organization, added Malay.”
Local dailies in Davao City, apparently unable to believe the figures, however have refused to bite the Malay survey, except the Mindanao Insider Daily. The seven-year old daily paper, founded in 2003 by businessmen Dennis Uy, now chief operating officer of the fast-rising independent oil distributor Phoenix Petroleum, Leo Magno, president of the Rizal Memorial Colleges and journalists Roger M. Balanza, Virgilio Bermudez and Lan Daval, and photojournalist Roland Jumawan, is said to be owned now by Nograles. Bermudez edits the paper, while Balanza now publishes the weekly paper The Durian Post.