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Former Cabinet Secretary Bobi Tiglao believes major news organizations in the country are tight-lipped about the funding received by web-only media firms from a firm linked to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) out of fear of journalists Howie Severino and Malou Mangahas.

Tiglao said Saturday (May 4) that Severino and Mangahas may be using their clout as the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism’s (PCIJ) chairman and executive director, respectively, to stop media groups from reporting about the millions of pesos they have been receiving in funding from the National Endowment For Democracy (NED).

“Traditional media has been mum on the NED revelations, probably afraid that PCIJ’s chairman Howie Severino and executive director Malou Mangahas who are top media executives at GMA-7, the country’s biggest network,could use it against them,” he said in his column for the Manila Times.

Citing data from the US Agency for International Development, Tiglao said PCIJ and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility received around $1.1 million or P50 million each from NED from 2009 to 2018.

However, Tiglao, who was one of PCIJ’s founding members, said he has sources saying that NED started funding PCIJ and CMFR in late 1999 in a bid to topple then- President Joseph Estrada.

“If this is true, PCIJ and CMFR would have received at least P100 million so far,” he said.

Aside from PCIJ and CMFR, the web-only media outlets Rappler and Vera Files also received multimillion-peso funding from NED in recent years.

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