Tiglao broke journalistic canon in charges vs CJ

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Ths is a reaction to Rigoberto Tiglao’s column titled “Sereno lied on her track record” (Inquirer, 8/30/12).

The column is obviously a biased, unfair and baseless attack on the integrity of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. The title itself is grossly misleading and unfair. There is nothing in the column of Tiglao referring to where and how Chief Sereno lied. Tiglao does not actually cite (as he could not have cited) specific falsehoods committed by Chief Justice Sereno. The entire column is not germane to the title; the essence of the column is simply that Chief Justice Sereno doesn’t have the qualifications and experience to be in the Supreme Court. This is shown by his assertions that (a) Chief Justice Sereno was an “obscure law professor” before her appointment by President Aquino as associate justice; (b) she wasn’t outstanding enough to be a law school dean; (c) nowhere in her career did she show any passionate interest in judicial reform; (d) she was an executive director of a moribund unit in the Asian Institute of Management; (e) and she was not really a co-counsel of Justice Florentino Feliciano in the Fraport case.

Although Tiglao is entitled to his opinion that Chief Justice Sereno lacks the qualifications and experience to be Chief Justice, he should not impute lying to Chief Justice Sereno without any factual basis.

As to the allegation of Tiglao that Chief Justice Sereno was not really a co-counsel of Justice Feliciano in the Fraport case, Tiglao does not cite the particular document containing this representation. Tiglao admits that this fact is not in the curriculum vitae of Chief Justice Sereno. Tiglao merely refers to a “Palace statement” saying that Chief Justice Sereno was co-counsel with Justice Feliciano in the Fraport case. If Tiglao wants to accuse Chief Justice Sereno of lying, he should cite the specific and exact statement of Chief Justice Sereno “claiming credit for the (Philippine) Republic’s winning case” and the particular document where that statement is contained.

A journalist is bound by his code of ethics, before assailing the integrity of any person, to carefully verify the facts and give the person an opportunity to give his or her side. Tiglao should have observed this ethical canon of his profession.

—ROGELIO A. VINLUAN

of counsel Angara Abello

Concepcion  Regala & Cruz,

ravinluan@accralaw.com

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