Affected much? J-school dean Sheila Coronel believes Tiglao’s anger at PCIJ linked to exposés during GMA’s term
The Philippine-born dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism believes former Cabinet Secretary Bobi Tiglao wants to paint the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) in a bad light because of its corruption exposés during the term of his erstwhile boss, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
In an essay posted on PCIJ’s website Thursday (May 2), Sheila Coronel slammed Bobi Tiglao for alleging wrongdoing over PCIJ’s receipt of millions of pesos in foreign funding from the United States government.
Tiglao wrote in his Manila Times column on May 1 that PCIJ received some P25 million from the US Agency for International Development (AID), since 2009.
Coronel, however, said Tiglao never objected to PCIJ’s receipt of foreign funding when he was with the organization as a founding member.
“Bobi didn’t use to think this was a bad thing – not even long after PCIJ started publishing its own stories online,” she said. “Today Bobi wants you to think it’s a crime to get foreign funding, despite his previous explicit support of it.”
Coronel believes Tiglao’s view of PCIJ changed when it came out with articles on alleged wrongdoing under Arroyo’s term, such as the “Hello Garci” scandal in which she supposedly tried to manipulate the results of the 2004 elections.
“We followed through with other stories on Arroyo’s and her family’s alleged involvement in various scandals, ranging from keeping secret bank accounts to getting money from illegal gambling. Perhaps those stories – the product of good journalism – holding to account an administration he was part of, are driving his anger at us?” Coronel asked.
The US-based journalism school dean did not hide her dismay at Tiglao for turning his back on the organization he helped estabalish.
“Bobi remains loyal to his president. We at PCIJ do not begrudge him that. But we are sad that the man that we once held up, not just as a journalist but as a believer in press freedom, is now abusing and seeking to undermine the freedom for which so many of his – and our generation – fought and died,” Coronel said.