ABS-CBN gets 5 nominations at 2014 New York Festivals

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

(First published on ABS-CBNnews.com as “5 ABS-CBN entries at New York Festivals”)

Graphic design for "Agosto Beinte Uno" and ABS-CBN CCM's "Sprout" plug.

Graphic design for “Agosto Beinte Uno” and ABS-CBN CCM’s “Sprout” plug.

(UPDATED) Five television entries from ABS-CBN are vying for medals among the “World’s Best” as finalists in the 2014 New York Festivals (NYF) International Television and Film Awards.

Leading the pack are programs by the network’s Integrated News division.

The investigative documentary “Agosto Beinte Uno: Ang Pagpatay Kay Ninoy Aquino” by ABS-CBN Docu Central earned two nominations in separate categories.

The Jaime Fabregas-narrated special, which revisited the still-unsolved Aquino assassination case and the people involved in time for the 30th anniversary of the shooting, is a contender for the Biography/Profiles category.

Last year, the full-length profile of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile entitled “Johnny” won the ABS-CBN documentary team a Silver World Medal in the same category.

“Agosto Beinte Uno” was also recognized for its opening billboard and graphic design, which was produced by The Acid House for ABS-CBN.

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As ‘TV Patrol’ turns 27

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Collage of TV Patrol logos from 1987 to 2014

TV Patrol’s logos from 1987 to 2014

For most Filipinos, it is TV Patrol that has been their window to recent history for the longest time.

It has chronicled the ups and downs of the Fifth Republic, some of them coinciding with its own. Its headlines have shown scandals in the halls of power and brawls in obscure barangay corners. And its subjects have ranged from the ordinary to the influential.

The past 12 months were no exception to big news.

TV Patrol’s crews, reporters, and anchors took their cameras to the farthest and the worst, to the best and the most awe-striking. They were at the fringes of two border disputes and at the crossfire of a downtown skirmish. They uncovered schemes of greed and deceit and covered the outrage that followed.

They saw white smoke signal change in a centuries’ old institution, welcomed another countryman to the pantheon of saints, and celebrated the victories of other Pinoys in the global community.

They braved an earthquake, monsoons, and typhoons, including the deadliest where some of them barely escaped with their lives. And they carried the worldwide call for help and helped bring it there.

If 2013 was any indication, it’s that there are always new experiences for an old-timer, especially in news.

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ABS-CBN reaps most trophies at 10th USTv awards

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

(This is an updated version of an article first published on ABS-CBNnews.com on Feb. 20, 2014. I was at the UST that night to help mount TV Patrol’s live coverage from the university’s Plaza Mayor, where anchors Korina Sanchez and Noli De Castro came to receive awards. As we finished transmitting live footage of the event, I put together the winners and some quips from the recipients into a story that was e-mailed to base before my tech team left UST.)

"TV Patrol" anchors Korina Sanchez and Noli De Castro received the newscast's "Student's Choice of News Program" award from the 10th USTv Awards. (Grab c/o UST Tomasian Cable)

“TV Patrol” anchors Korina Sanchez and Noli De Castro receive the newscast’s award from USTv. (Grab c/o UST Tomasian Cable)

ABS-CBN took home the most awards at the 10th USTv Students’ Choice Awards held at the University of Santo Tomas on Thursday.

The Kapamilya network was recognized by the Tomasian student leaders as their choice of TV network.

Its public service arm, the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc., was among those picked student leaders’ choice of network foundation.

ABS-CBN flagship newscast “TV Patrol” led the winners in the news and public affairs category as students’ choice of news program.

Anchors Noli De Castro and Korina Sanchez received the award, which “TV Patrol” also won in 2013.

“Sa araw-araw, gabi-gabi, binabalita lang namin ang nangyayari. Ang mga artista po diyan ay kung sino ang involved sa mga balita. Ang kinatutuwa po namin ay pinahahalagahan ninyo ang mga balita,” De Castro said.

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How Boy Abunda interviewed Vhong Navarro

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

(Also published on ABS-CBNnews.com as “What didn’t air from Boy’s interview with Vhong”)

Boy Abunda interviews Vhong Navarro at his hospital bed (Screen grab from Buzz ng Bayan, ABS-CBN)

Boy Abunda and Vhong Navarro. (Screen grab from ABS-CBN’s “Buzz ng Bayan”)

Vhong Navarro’s televised tell-all interview with TV host Boy Abunda from the actor’s hospital bed on January 26 set off a week-long scandal that hogged the national headlines and dominated Filipinos’ conversations.

At a college forum nearly a week later, Abunda revealed that Navarro’s camp was hesitant about letting the actor speak out until minutes before they began what the host called a “tough” exchange.

“Both (Vhong’s) lawyers were in front of me. They were debating: ‘Ano ba, papayag ba tayo dito?’” Abunda said as he detailed to mass communication students at the University of the Philippines – Diliman how he handled the interview.

He recalled Navarro’s lawyers, Atty. Alma Mallonga and Atty. Dennis Manalo warning the actor: “Kasi, Vhong, ‘pag magsalita ka rito, this is coming out later. Lalabas din ang video. Your life is going to change, you may not be able to come back to your career.”

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Replays: PinoyJourn’s 2013 top posts

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

TACLOBAN CITY–Another storm, another scandal, another switch of leaders. We faced familiar events this 2013, only bigger in scale and more sobering in the lessons that came with them.

We survived the déjà vus of the year, but they were not all shakeups. We also turned back time as we marked milestones in our long-time relationships. Among them, a replay of the first journey my parents took together.

This year, my adventures with the news team landed me in new places and let me revisit old ones to see different scenes. Unfortunately, some of those trips did not bring good news.

I’m glad to say though that I’ve been able to keep writing despite the rigorous field production assignments. This year, an expanded story of an emotional tribute I got to cover helped PinoyJourn top its record for most hits in a day.

Anjo Bagaoisan speaking at Bayan Mo iPatrol Mo bloggers conference in ABS-CBN (Screen grab from TV Patrol)

Sometimes, I get pulled to share some thoughts in our blogger con. (Screen grab from TV Patrol)

Also, I was able to brush up on doing some enterprise stories for this blog—those fueled by interest rather than my daily deployments. I only added two installments to my “The Bookshelf” series: for another Agatha Christie mystery and for a sci-fi novel by Robert J. Sawyer.

The untimely death of ABS-CBN Cagayan Valley reporter Julius Camba this year had some revisit a 2011 blog entry about my sole coverage with him—chasing a typhoon up north.

I am also thankful for some of my posts getting replayed in outlets like photo blog Shoot.PH and the Lopez Group publication LopezLink.

I’m bringing into the new year a bucket list of unfinished business—long-planned stories that still lack the sides of needed sources. Being on the field before and beyond office hours is not exactly ideal for booking and doing interviews.

Here’s hoping that gets to improve this 2014. For now, allow me to replay the posts that brought the most readers to PinoyJourn this 2013.

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A renewed mission for ‘TV Patrol Tacloban’

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

(Life after Yolanda, Log 5)

TACLOBAN CITY–How do journalists cover the news when they themselves were directly affected by it?

Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) did not spare local media outlets in Eastern Visayas. The worst hit were radio stations whose announcers were on the air as the typhoon hit.

For the news team of ABS-CBN’s regional station in Tacloban City, the biggest story they covered cost them their homes and nearly them and their families’ lives.

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Of memorials and moving forward

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Life after Yolanda, Log 3

Banner in Tacloban City says "Arise and Shine Tacloban -- God is with us." (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

One of many statement banners in downtown. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

TACLOBAN CITY—The longer our news team has been here, the daily grind of stories we’ve been telling in post-Yolanda Leyte and Samar has looked back less on the tragedy we’ve seen and has turned instead to the mechanics of moving on.

We see more people walking the streets during the day, especially in downtown. Sidewalk stalls selling everything from fruit to fashion are flocked with buyers. And except for the torn roofs and the tenantless ruins left as scars of the storm, it seems it’s business as usual.

We’ve reported on how businesses have begun opening again and on how clean water and electricity need to be restored fast. At our news team’s impromptu story conferences over breakfast, we’ve called these updates “normalization” stories.

But what here is normal? It’s a word that Tacloban vice mayor Jerry Yaokasin hears often (usually from reporters) yet questions.

“We cannot say the city is now normal, because we will never be normal again,” he told them.

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Camp-out at Tacloban airport

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Life after Yolanda, Log 2

Sunrise at bombed-out Tacloban City airport (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

(Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

TACLOBAN CITY–They’ve been there for two weeks. After chasing Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) southward–from Albay to Sorsogon and across the channel to Samar, one of our news field operations teams drove to the Tacloban Airport and set up ABS-CBN’s second satellite live point in the city on November 14.

The terminal had been inundated with the influx of rescue and relief operations  from outside and the exodus of desperate residents from the city. Crowds of people begged for space in the departing military planes. Reports said President Aquino would also arrive.

The wrecked airport was where this calamity story was moving, and even international news services like CNN were already airing live reports from there. Our setup at the provincial capitol could not move elsewhere for security reasons. Plus, the requirements of an anchor and 5 reporters were too much for just one.

The only spot the team of 15 could find for their broadcast setup was beside the ruins of an eatery. Their other choices were risky all the same. Around them were more wreckage and unpicked cadavers. Even the area they picked had to be cleared of trash and debris.

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All eyes on Janet Napoles (no more)

ABS-CBN cameraman shooting the facade of the Philippine Senate on the wait for Janet Lim Napoles (Shot Nov 7, 2013 by Anjo Bagaoisan)

On guard in front of the Senate (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

None of us caught a glimpse of Janet Lim-Napoles when she arrived at the Senate on November 7. That, despite the best-laid coverage plans and the most pervasive camera placements in and around the compound.

That morning, media vehicles trailed a convoy that sped away from Napoles’s detention cell in Fort Sto. Domingo, Laguna. Some had lenses trained on it the whole ride, airing live via mobile transmitters.

Our broadcast facilities at the Senate were all set up the night before, fired up since 4 a.m., and waiting. Up to the last minute, news bosses talked with the Senate media bureau, haggling set-up spaces and running lists of personnel for accreditation.

The last time the Senate saw something this big was during the impeachment trialof former Chief Justice Renato Corona. Channels devoting special coverage again put up remote studios in allocated halls. Stages for live stand-ups were erected at the parking lot. Big news orgs like ABS-CBN fielded at least 6 reporter crews to the place. Robotic CCTV-style cameras were hung above the Senate session hall.

ABS-CBN reporter Ron Gagalac preparing to report on ANC from the Senate on Janet Napoles at the Pork Barrel Scam hearing (Shot Nov 7, 2013 by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Ron Gagalac on ANC. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

But the convoy from Laguna didn’t go straight to the Senate basement where VIPs of previous famous hearings usually headed. Instead, it stopped near the gate, beside a restricted side entrance for employees. Cameramen rushed there too late to see anyone important.

With no confirmation if Napoles had indeed arrived, we assumed the convoy was a decoy and waited a little more. One of our producers said he had sources saying Napoles was not yet here.

But a few minutes later, Janet Napoles entered the Senate plenary hall from a holding area reserved for senators. She wore a police-issued bulletproof vest—her same getup when we last saw her being rushed to a jailhouse in Makati.

Face-to-face

Napoles sat on one side of the rectangular arrangement of desks, directly opposite the senators. Beside her were two public attorneys, hired by the Senate to fill in for Napoles’s private counsel, who resigned. The whistleblowers, also in bulletproof vests, faced her from the right.

Monitors on ABS-CBN OB van show Janet Lim Napoles (Shot Nov 7, 2013 by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Split screens and Janet Napoles from the robotic camera. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

At our OB van, the technical director readied a split-screen template set against a graphic designed for this coverage. The producers wanted to see the reactions of Napoles, the whistleblowers, and the senators to each question and answer, so their shots had to be shown side-by-side.

Some of the Senate cleaning staff took a break to watch the Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on TV screens. Even the session hall had to extend seating capacity to 300. Among the restrictions inside—wearing shirts with political statements. Outside, militant groups came to protest.

Everyone wanted to hear what Napoles would say. None perhaps more than Sen. Miriam Santiago. Santiago had tweeted that she would get up from her “sick bed” just to grill Napoles.

Miriam’s turn to interrogate Janet was riveting, even entertaining. But after appealing to conscience, warning against possible death, employing reverse psychology, dispensing legal advise, and even name-dropping suspects, it grew frustrating.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago holds a press conference after interrogating Janet Napoles  (Shot Nov 7, 2013 by Anjo Bagaoisan)

After the interrogation, a presser for Senator Miriam. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

The other senators rephrased their questions and asked in stages, but they got nothing.

Napoles would say variations of these:

  1. “Hindi ko po alam”;
  2. “May kaso na po kami sa korte, BIR, Ombudsman, etc.”;
  3. “I invoke my right against self-incrimination.”

Someone took count–19 times for “I don’t know”, and 22 for “I invoke”. Filipinos have seen too many Senate hearings not to find those answers oddly familiar. Some waited for the usual final card to be played: the appeal to health.

The hearing looked futile–its bird would not sing. But Blue Ribbon Committee chairperson Sen. TG Guingona saw it differently. He had previously fought to summon Napoles to the Senate floor.

Contrasts

Guingona said the contrast between Napoles’s “general denials” and the whistleblowers’ “positive assertions” was clear to those watching. For him, the hearing allowed the public to scrutinize Napoles’s credibility.

Whistleblowers Marina Sula, Merlina Suñas, Benhur Luy and ,  Gertrudes Luy face Janet Napoles at the Senate (Shot Nov 7, 2013 by Allan Pingol, ABS-CBN News)

Janet Napoles surrounded by lawyers from the Public Attorney's Office (Shot Nov 7, 2013 by Angel Valderrama, ABS-CBN News) Beside Napoles, public lawyers she first met on this day. Facing her, her accusers. (Shots by Angel Valderrama & Allan Pingol, ABS-CBN News)

Santiago, meanwhile, suspected that Napoles was torn between protecting her alleged godfathers in government and saving her self. Santiago insisted though that there were bigger fish in the alleged pork barrel scam than Napoles.

The entire time, our lead anchor Lynda Jumilla sat in the Senate studio listening and typing notes. When the session called a break–like when Napoles asked to eat–the ABS-CBN News Channel would ask Lynda to fill in with a report. Occasionally, Channel 2 would also air Lynda’s updates.

Aided by a producer and two coordinators, Lynda invited senators and Justice Sec. Leila de Lima to talk with her live. And while there, she still managed to get first the sides of senators who were absent.

Lynda was sent a picture of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada watching ANC’s coverage in the United States. Then, after Senator Santiago unleashed diatribes against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Sergio Osmeña III, Enrile texted Lynda a reaction. Osmeña even went down from his office to be interviewed live.

Lynda Jumilla interviews Sen. Francis Chiz Escudero the day Janet Napoles faced the Senate. (Shot Nov 7, 2013 by Anjo Bagaoisan)

On ANC: Lynda Jumilla interviews Chiz Escudero. Click the pic to watch. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

As stealthily as Napoles came in, so did she leave. Few looked for her once the hearing ended. No media convoys followed her back to Fort Sto. Domingo. Reporters were busy getting reactions and filing stories.

Napoles was bumped off the top story during the primetime newscasts, when President Aquino came on TV pleading with Filipinos in the Visayas to evacuate their homes from nearing super storm Yolanda (Haiyan). His live speech cut into Ron Gagalac’s wrap-up report of the hearing.

The typhoon was in the minds of half the country that night, and the tragedy that followed took their attentions entirely off Napoles and the pork barrel scam.

But it did not stop some from reminding everyone what could have been avoided had not the nation’s taxes been tampered. Actress Angel Locsin asked that Napoles be shown TV coverage of the typhoon in her cell, hoping that she might feel remorse over what she allegedly did.

Napoles’s first face-to-face with the Senate was already set late due to an earthquake, an election, and a holiday. They said this was not the last. But after Yolanda, who knows when the next will be.

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When did ABS-CBN first use ‘Kapamilya’?

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

ABS-CBN 60 years of Philippine Television logoContrary to popular belief, way back in 2000. Back then, ABS-CBN Channel 2 was solidly number one in the Mega Manila ratings. When asked to comment then about his station’s rivalry with GMA 7, CEO Eugenio Gabriel “Gabby” Lopez III quipped, “What network war?”

On New Year’s day that year, the network unveiled a new logo: Its iconic three rings in a bigger, transparent, 3D box, its initials transformed to modern Malayan typeface and joined together below.

Soon, ABS-CBN aired interstitials (plugs aired during commercial breaks) introducing its personalities to speak for the network. At the end of the spiels, the network’s voiceover Peter Musngi said:

“Ka-pamilya namin.
Ka-pamilya ninyo.
Ka-pamilya ng bawat Pilipino.”

The series of plugs also included Dolphy and Noli De Castro and ran up until early 2001 during the height of EDSA Dos.

Here’s one featuring then “Balitang K” anchor Korina Sanchez:

The idea was revolutionary–using a term of familiarity, even endearment, to describe the relationship of a television station to its audience. It would set the tone for the brewing network war of years to come. It would set off the likes of Kapuso, Kabarkada, Kabisyo, and Kapatid.

But it was only three years after, during the 50th year of Philippine TV in 2003, that ABS-CBN officially adopted Kapamilya as its slogan and moniker for its viewers and talents.