FAKE MEDIA & FAKE NEWS
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Critics and political foes have impregnated their media machine with a horde of swindlers and racketeers in broadcast media, particularly the so-called “Last Two” broadcasters, who have been hurling mud and fake news without let-up against Davao del Norte Second District Congressman Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr. and the Floirendo-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco).
“Last Two” broadcasters, fake mediamen who are not licensed by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas (KBP), sell “winning numbers” to listeners, especially from the provinces, in a massive swindling operation that has victimized thousands of gullible lottery bettors.
Carrying fake names and selling alleged winning numbers for as low as P300 to as high as P20,000, the fake broadcasters brag of connections to “insiders” in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes (PCSO), which runs Philippine lotteries including the Small Time Lottery (STL).
The broadcasting racket is heard in AM and FM radio stations in Davao City like DXKT, DXOW, DXGO, DXRR, Radyo Ukay and others, and the provincial FM stations of Radyo Natin.
Alongside selling fake winning numbers to lottery addicts, the broadcasters spice up their airtime with black propaganda against Floirendo and Tadeco.
Apparently paid hefty sums, the ‘Last Two’ racketeers, who broadcast their programs in paid “blocktime” radio hours (up to P20,000 per month for one hour of airtime), go on air with their swindling racket and black propaganda from early morning up to midnight.
The massive smear attacks in the broadcast media comes as House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a former friend and political ally of Floirendo, is poised to run for reelection in Davao del Norte’s First District in the 2019 election.
Alvarez’s politics was practically dead after an earlier short-lived term in Congress and since he bowed out of the political scene after serving as transport secretary during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. His stint in the Arroyo regime was marred by allegations of his link to a controversial multi-million rehabilitation project at the Manila airport.
He hitched a ride on the Duterte-for-President bandwagon in the 2016 election and backed by Floirendo and Tadeco run anew, after more than a decade of political hiatus, and won in the Davao del Norte First District congressional race.
Alvarez has broken relations with Floirendo, an unpopular and widely criticized move in the province aware that Floirendo and Tadeco were long-time political backers of Alvarez.
Reports had it that the Alvarez-Floirendo split was sparked by a public quarrel between their girlfriends.
Soon after he became the Speaker, Alvarez hounded Floirendo with a graft case at the Ombudsman and initiated a congressional inquiry into the legality of Tadeco’s decades-old Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) over about 5,300 hectares of the Dapecol reservation area that the company developed into a banana plantation.
Except that the fake “Last Two” broadcasters are known for their broadcasting pattern of praising Alvarez and attacking Floirendo and Tadeco, there is however no proof to link them to Alvarez or to speculations that the Speaker is awash with money to fund an expensive black propaganda campaign in media.
However, Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario, a cousin of Congressman Floirendo, has questioned where the Speaker got P55 million to spend for his birthday bash in Tagum City in January.
Del Rosario raised his query in his speech at a recent Davao del Norte Liga ng mga Barangay event in Davao City.
Short of saying that Alvarez was penniless before he became Speaker, Del Rosario said Alvarez had “begged” from Floirendo for funds to run his election campaign in the 2016 election.
Alvarez’s lavish three-day birthday bash was attended by senators and congressmen, high government officials, movie stars and VIPs, among others.
Reportedly, three planes were allegedly chartered to fly to Davao City, while hundreds of cars were hired for trips to Davao del Norte’s capital city of Tagum. The report, however, did not tie them to the birthday bash.
In the meantime, just about a year to the 2019 polls, Alvarez’s political future appears doomed after presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte vowed to campaign against his reelection.
This developed as the Speaker, the secretary general of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), described as an “opposition,” and without the blessing of President Duterte, the regional party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), recently formed by Mayor Duterte with Davao Region political leaders.
Going ballistic, Mayor Duterte called Alvarez an “asshole” and urged congressmen to oust the Speaker.
She said Alvarez has become a liability to the nation and the administration of President Duterte.
Following the Sara Duterte-Alvarez spat, governors of the Davao Region’s five provinces led other local officials in resigning en masse from the PDP-Laban to join HNP, which was expected to put up a complete line-up in the 2019 regional elections against Alvarez and his slate under the PDP-Laban banner.