‘Hack job’: Net 25 news show criticized for unprofessional spin in segment about Robredo’s daughters

·5 min read

A news show on the television station Net 25 enraged viewers and earned criticism for airing an unprofessional news segment calling Vice President Leni Robredo’s daughters Aika, Tricia, and Jillian kulang sa pansin (attention seekers) for posting social media updates featuring their mother.

Mata ng Agila (Eagle’s Eye) maligned the daughters’ social media updates, particularly those from the family’s recent trip to New York City for Jillian’s graduation from New York University.

Net 25 is owned by the Eagle Broadcasting Corporation, a for-profit affiliate organization of Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ), a popular Christian sect in the Philippines that endorsed the tandem of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte for its bloc vote in the May 9 elections.

READ: Despite risk of expulsion, Iglesia ni Cristo members openly defy church leaders’ endorsement of Bongbong Marcos-Sara Duterte tandem

The news segment, reported by Vin Pascua, featured egregious commentary and a number of unfounded claims.

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“VP Leni Robredo’s daughters Aika, Tricia, and Jillian seem to be celebrity wannabes who are viciously diligent in raising the image of their mother and of themselves online,” the segment in Filipino brazenly began.

“VP Robredo and her daughters are fond of posting images of humility and goodness on social media or displaying their simplicity, such as flying in economy class, going to New York and riding public transportation, while their camp boasts about the daughters’ high educational attainment,” it continued.

To be fair, Robredo is far from the first high-level public official to ride coach during a personal trip abroad: Indonesia President Joko Widodo also rode in economy class to attend his son’s graduation in Singapore.

Not stopping at the Robredos’ recent New York trip, Pascua also took a swipe at the Robredos’ personal superstitions and mythology, and brought up a fake sex video supposedly featuring Aika that made the rounds during campaign season, claiming without evidence that it was part of a ploy by Robredo’s camp to smear their opponent, presumptive President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“It will be remembered that Aika Robredo boasted about her mother being followed by butterflies, being met by rainbows at the airport, and being surrounded by a breeze, as if Leni were an angel or a prophet. Yet the image of goodness they try to portray runs counter to their camp’s smear campaign against the Marcoses. They have not stopped defaming the Marcoses, and even blamed presumptive president Bongbong Marcos (BBM) for releasing a lewd sex video of Aika that was obviously invented by the Robredos because no one else saw it,” it alleged.

Fake sex videos of Aika and Tricia circulated on social media during the campaign period, prompting the daughters and their legal counsel to seek the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the perpetrators. Contrary to the report, Robredo’s camp did not name Marcos behind the smear tactic.

The report did not stop there and continued to compare the Robredo siblings to Marcos Jr.’s sons.

“Meanwhile, BBM’s sons Sandro, Simon, and Vincent are quiet on social media. They live quietly without any arrogance, and never said anything negative about anyone. They were clearly brought up with good values and Filipinos see this in real life, not just on social media.”

Sandro, Marcos Jr.’s eldest, won his first congressional seat in the first district of Ilocos Norte.

The segment went on to claim that Sandro had even greeted retired Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon at an event, despite the latter being a fierce critic of the Marcoses — yet Guanzon admitted herself that she knows the Marcoses personally, having been a former classmate of Bongbong’s sister Imee, who is also a senator.

“Robredo really wants her children to be in the spotlight — but do the Robredos really want to uplift the lives of the people in this country, or themselves?”

The news segment earned criticism among netizens, particularly for its unprofessional reportage.

Journalism professor and election watchdog Kontra Daya (Combat Cheating) founder Danilo Arao called the report “neither news nor opinion reportage but a shameless hack job,” adding that as a member of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP; Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines), Net 25 may be liable for sanctions for violating the KBP Broadcast Code.

According to the KBP Broadcast Code, violations of Section 3 on Fairness and Objectivity may lead to a PHP20,000 (US$382.46) penalty fee, a reprimand for the individual, and a PHP40,000 fine (US$764.96) and censure for the station for a first offense.

Arao also encouraged the public to report the segment to the KBP and to publicly call out the network for its wrongdoing.

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