Ever wondered why Maria Ressa left ABS-CBN in 2010 after spending six years as the head of its News and Current Affairs Division?
Former Cabinet Secretary Bobi Tiglao revealed on Thursday (February 20) that Ressa was asked to resign by the network’s chairman at the time, Gabby Lopez, because she violated the exclusivity clause in her contract.
“Gabby Lopez, I was told by insiders, got the excuse to give Ressa the ‘resign-or-be-fired’ message when he got undeniable proof that she was moonlighting, that is, giving interviews, for a fee, on Philippine developments with CNN and other US media outfits (whom she would later tap to raise a howl against the libel charge against her). Her services to ABS-CBN was exclusive, according to her contract,” Tiglao wrote in his Manila Times column.
Ressa, the former bureau chief of CNN’s Jakarta bureau, was supposedly hired by ABS-CBN in hopes of having the “CNN sheen” of excellence rub off on its news and current affairs division.
However, Tiglao said the Princeton-educated Ressa proved to be a “headache” for Lopez because of her romantic relationship with journalist Lilibeth Frondoso.
“Many in the network, even Lopez’s conservative relatives, were allegedly also scandalized over Ressa’s open lesbian relationship with Lilibeth Frondoso — married but separated — who became some kind of power in the network because of her closeness to the controversial news head. Gabby’s mestizo executives and friends incessantly asked him: ‘Are you really comfortable with Ressa being the face of ABS-CBN?'” he said.
Ressa and Frondoso are now both part of Rappler.
According to an article posted on ABS-CBNNews.com, Ressa opted not to renew her contract with the network upon its expiration in January 2011. She went on terminal leave starting November 2010.
ABS-CBN’s Integrated News and Current Affairs Division is currently headed by Ging Reyes.