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Graceful exit? Malou Mangahas retires from PCIJ after run-in with Ombudsman

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Malou Mangahas has stepped down as executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), just weeks after she was accused by Ombudsman Samuel Martires of unethical behavior.

PCIJ said in an January 6 statement posted on its website that Mangahas retired as executive director of the organization effective December 31, 2019.

“She has now opted to focus on more intensive journalism projects, and devote more time to achieving work-family balance,” PCIJ said.

Mangahas’ retirement came at the heels of her run-in with Martires in December last year because she used portions of their casual conversation in an article without the Ombudsman’s consent.

Martires slammed Mangahas for being unethical since he only answered her questions on President Rodrigo Duterte’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) in jest.

The Ombudsman said no interview took place— contrary to what Mangahas claimed— because the journalist had trailed him while he was on a “health break” during the forum.

“Tuloy-tuloy akong naglakad patungo sa conference hall habang patuloy din siyang nagtatanong na sinasagot ko naman ng pabiro. Lingid sa aking kaalalaman, isang panayam na pala ito at dagdag pa rito, for the record, hindi man lang humingi ng consent sa akin bilang interviewee,” he said in a statement.

Mangahas claimed in her defense that Martires knew he “was speaking face to face with a journalist with a legitimate journalistic purpose, on a matter of public interest.”

“The conversation occurred in a public space and even with the full knowledge and in full view of his own personnel from the Office of the Ombudsman,” she said.

PCIJ said it is now looking for a new executive director to replace Mangahas, who held the post for 11 years.

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