The manager of a radio station in Davao City has stopped broadcasting his public affairs radio program and totally cleaned up his Facebook account of libelous politically-slanted posts over accusation he was spreading fake news.
Michael Manguhig, radio station manager of Davao City-based DXKT of the Radio Philippines Network (RPN), made the abrupt and unceremonious retreat following his posting of a “fake news” in his Facebook account that reported that reelectionist Davao del Norte Second District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. has given up his reelection bid in the May 13 mid-term election.
Manguhig also widely discussed the erroneous Floirendo post in his one-hour daily early morning public affairs program in his radio station, where he was appointed as station manager only recently.
On Facebook, Manguhig identifies himself as a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) through postings related to activities of the religious organization.
The fake news of Manguhig was also picked up by other radio broadcasters and shared by netizens to inflict damage on the reelection bid of Floirendo whose camp dismissed the report as fake news as Floirendo is not backing out of the race.
Manguhi’s radio program and Facebook account are known to promote Alvarez and other candidates of the Alvarez Wing and for hard-hitting politics-related news and commentaries against candidates of the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP), the regional political party of presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio.
The HNP lead candidates in the Davao del Norte races are Floirendo in the Second District, Rodolfo “Rodney” del Rosario Jr. for Governor and Gov. Anthony del Rosario in the First District Congress race.
The HNP is up against the Alvarez Wing, a local political bloc of the PDP/Laban.
Alvarez Wing is front-lined by former House Speaker First District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez whose reelection is being challenged by Gov. del Rosario.
Aside from Alvarez, the other Alvarez Wing candidates are former bus conductor and virtual unknown Edwin Jubahib in the race for governor against HNP’s Senior Board Provincial member Rodney del Rosario, and token candidate Vice Governor Alan Dujali versus Floirendo in the Second District. Dujali is a former political ally and protege of Floirendo who has junked his political patron to join Alvarez.
Alvarez seeks reelection limping from his ouster as Speaker of the House of Representatives in a coup in July last year over allegations of corruption and his alleged dictatorial manner of running affairs of the House.
To add to his woes, President Rodrigo Duterte, chairman of the PDP/Laban of which the ex-Speaker is the secretary general, has endorsed the bids of Floirendo and the del Rosarios.
Manguhig’s stunt to voluntarily stop his Facebook posting and as anchorman of a radio program stands on record as a first in local media for a journalist accused of peddling fake news.
In social media, Manguhig, who uses the alias “AGAW JUN” in his Facebook account, is known to pepper his news and commentaries with the same scurrilous anti-HNP tenor as in his hard-hitting broadcast on DXKT RPN against candidates of the party of Mayor Sara Duterte.
In his radio program and social media posts, Manguhig openly bares his political bent in violation of media ethics on non-partisanship in elections with his all-out support for Alvarez and other candidates of the Alvarez Wing.
Manguhig’s commentary in the air lane and post on Facebook on Floirendo throwing the towel in his reelection bid, sparked widespread discussion in a media chat room and in gatherings of media persons last week.
The tsunami of fake news in media and ethical standards for newsmen is a hot topic among the public and the media community as black propaganda invades print and broadcast media and the Internet as the May 13 elections draw near.
Manguhig had an interrupted holiday on peddling fake news at HNP and its candidates and blowing horns for Alvarez and the Alvarez Wing until his post that reported Floirendo running away from the race.
In the media chat room, some journalists volunteered to convince Manguhig to take down the Facebook post and stop his libelous commentaries in his radio program on pain of being slapped charges of violation of the Cybercrime Law on libel and other laws on libel.
A member of the press, a godfather of Manguhig, who took the effort to convince him to lie low on reporting fake news, said Manguhig sent him on April 30 this message:
“Salamat po sa pa Birthday mo sa akin na pakikipag usap.tungkol sa aking programa. Simula bukas hindi na.po ako uupo sa Programa sa RPN.”
Manguhig also deleted all his biased, partisan and politically-beefed posts and comments on Facebook and sent off-air his program on DXKT which is also broadcast live on Facebook.
Manguhig and the radio station did not make a statement on the sudden retreat.
Manguhig’s disappearance from the air lanes and social media, triggered various speculations:
1. That he has admitted he was spreading fake news and realized that media should not be used by politicians in black propaganda
2. That he feared being slapped with libel
3. That he was reprimanded by INC for dragging
4. That he was threatened by RPN top management with dismissal as newly-appointed DXKT station manager
The campaign of Alvarez and the Alvarez Wing is backstopped in media by more than a dozen radio broadcasters, many of them without license from the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas (KBP), and revealed as under the House payroll of the former Speaker getting monthly pay as consultants or contract workers of as much as P50,000.
With barely two weeks before the May 13 election, the Alvarez campaign is losing steam against the HNP, led by Floirendo and the del Rosarios, who has swayed political dominance over Davao del Norte for more than 30 years. Mayor Sara Duterte is also personally campaigning against his reelection. Adding more to Alvarez’s misery is former Governor Rodolfo del Rosario Sr., who is the campaign manager of the HNP.
Before winning a seat in Congress in the 2016 election, with the political and financial support of Floirendo and the del Rosarios as the ex-Speaker publicly admitted, Alvarez had fought and lost to rivals backed by the Floirendo and del Rosario clans in two previous elections in the First District Congress race.
Alvarez was first elected to Congress in 2001, but left the post to join the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He had a brief stint in the Arroyo Cabinet, where he would be charged for graft over an allegedly anomalous multi-million peso contract in the rehabilitation of the Manila international airport.
He would then lose twice in his bid to recapture his Congress post.
Alvarez resurfaced from his political limbo in 2016 and joined the bandwagon of the victorious presidential campaign of then Davao City Mayor Duterte and won his old seat back. This time he was on the same train as Floirendo and the del Rosarios who supported Mayor Duterte.
His being named as Speaker is reported as strongly lobbied with the newly-elected President Duterte by Floirendo, who contributed about P70 million to the Duterte presidential campaign.
In Davao del Norte, Dabaonons, fully aware of the ex-Speaker’s background, describe Alvarez as a “snake in the grass” for now fighting Floirendo and the del Rosarios who had helped him rise from his dead politics.