Archive for December, 2010

In the practice of journalism, it is sometimes inevitable that some people will get hurt. That is what reporting is all about. We report it as it happened. Quite often, the truth hurts. But the people have a right to know and readers of Philippine Sentinel want to know the truth.

In the past, this column has defined journalism as the process of seeking the truth, verifying the truth, and publishing the truth, even if it hurts.

Such is what happened in the case of Dolores Amarille, a tenant of Kapitbahayan Cooperative, as reported by columnist Benjie de Ubago in the September 2010 issue of Philippine Sentinel.

Mrs Amarille was served an eviction notice on 15 June 2010 by Kapitbahayan and was required to leave the premises on 12 July 2010. Amarille stayed past the due date prompting Kapitbahayan president Ruben Amores to take the case to the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT).

Reasons cited on the eviction notice included installation of a TFC antenna without permission; arrears of allegedly 2 weeks rent; and “not fit to be a resident of Kapitbahayan.” CTTT regarded the reasons for eviction as weak and ruled in favor of the tenant. Mrs Amarille won and was allowed to stay.

Court records do not lie

On Monday, the 20th of December 2010, Mr. Amores and the editor of this paper bumped into each other during the HAPAG presentation at Bowman Hall in Blacktown NSW. Maybe he deliberately waited at the staircase for me to come out. Referring to the article of Ms de Ubago about the Amarille case, Amores said that “they were all lies.” He added: “Kasama ka sa kasinungalingan.” (You are part of the falsehood.)

He was obviously referring to my role as editor of Philippine Sentinel. Did he really expect me not to publish the column of Ms de Ubago? Or maybe, he expected me (for whatever reasons) to censor or revise the report made.

But court records do not lie. At the time of publication and up to the present, I am satisfied that my columnist exercised due prudence in doing her research about the Amarille case. That is what journalism is all about –
seeking the truth, verifying the truth and publishing the truth, even if it hurts.

Apparently, Mr. Amores was hurt by the article of Ms de Ubago. I owe him no apology and will not make any apology, ever! He does not deserve any apology coming from me. He should, in fact make the apology for claiming that I was part of the falsehood.

By the way, during the unscheduled meeting, I invited Mr. Amores to send us his reply to the column of Benjie de Ubago. I promise to publish it verbatim. – Dino Crescini

To end the year on a good note, and upon NSW Premier’s invitation, the Philippine Community Council of NSW (PCC NSW) Board met with the Honourable Kristina Keanelly at the Governor Macquarie Tower Office, Sydney, last 17 December 2010. President Elsa Collado and ten of the PCC board members attended the close-door meeting with Keanelly. Also in attendance were the Premier’s staff and Councillor Prue……. of Penrith.

Since the attendance of Premiere Keanelly at the PCC-NSW 20th Anniversary, PCC-NSW President, Ms Collado has lobbied for a meeting with the Premier for the opportunity to discuss the Filipino community’s needs and PCC NSW’s project priorities.

The Premiere opened the dialogue with “How can I help?” This heart-warming opening statement enabled the PCC officers to discuss openly the community’s needs. The Premier gave her assurance to help and directed her staff to coordinate, facilitate and direct the PCC-NSW to government funding availabilities to assist with future projects.

This meeting with the NSW Premier delivered positive outcomes for the community and strengthens ties between the Filipino community and Australian government. It further reaffirms PCC-NSW’s stance as the State’s peak body representing the Filipino community in NSW. After two decades of leadership in the Filipino community on welfare and humanitarian issues, PCC-NSW remains as strong as ever, leading the way for 2011. – © ?

(Philippine Sentinel owns exclusive rights over the publication of this article. It may be reprinted in other forms of media, provided prior written permission is obtained from the author and Philippine Sentinel with the notation that it first appeared in Philippine Sentinel on 27 December 2010.)

Manila. Dec. 14, 2010. Hubert Webb, one of six young men convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1991 killings of a mother and her two daughters, was released after 15 years in jail at the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa, Philippines. The Supreme Court acquitted Hubert Webb, son of former Senator Freddie Webb, and five others saying the prosecutors failed to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

The Vizconde Massacre caught the nation’s attention not only because of the gruesome killings of the three women but also the involvement of the scion of the country’s wealthy families.

A former official of the US Embassy in Manila has backed Hubert Webb’s claim that he was in the US when three members of the Vizconde family were killed inside their Parañaque home in June 1991.

In a report in GMA News’ “24 Oras,” Robert Heafner, former legal attaché of the US Embassy, said he helped in the investigation on the Vizconde case after talking with then National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director Alfredo Lim.

“I was able to verify that Hubert Webb did arrive in the US through his US immigration record and separately through his US custom record and thirdly through his California driver’s license that had his photo and thumbprint on it,” Heafner said.

The defence during the trial said that the son of former Senator Freddie Webb couldn’t have committed the crime because he was in the US from March 1991 to October 1992. The killings happened in June 1991.

The Parañaque Regional Trial Court, however, dismissed this alibi and convicted Webb and nine others in October 2000 for the killings of Estrellita Vizconde and her daughters Carmela and Jennifer on June 30, 1991.

Joining the bandwagon became a popular practice that probably started in America. Early settlers banded themselves together for strength when attacked by the “Red skinned” Indians who were merely protecting their ancestral lands. Thus, the term became so popular that it gained the connotation of “engaging in a similar type of business.

In the early 60s up to the early 80s, manufacture, retail and export of Philippine Handicraft delivered much-needed dollars to the Philippine economy. Among the better-known retailers were Tesoro’s in Manila, Rosas Handicrafts in Angeles, and Munsayac’s in Baguio. I remember seeing busloads of tourists flocking the main outlet of Tesoro’s in Ermita.

But every Tom, Dick and Harry wanted their share of the loot. The slice of the pie became smaller and inferior quality products flooded the world market until the handicraft industry reached its peak and fell. The same thing happened to the puka shell industry that once upon a time enriched exporters from Cebu and Iloilo. The same thing happened to prawn farming. The same thing happened to children’s wear and other RTW items.

When people see that a particular business is successful, they tend to venture into the same line of business.

This seems to be happening in the Filipino Community in Sydney. I do not really know which one came in first but I heard of Sandigan News, The Philippine Voice, The Philippine Community Herald, Bayanihan News, Philippine Tribune, Philippine Sentinel, News Pinoy and Kalatas, which is the latest entrant into the growing market. There is also The Filipino Australian which is an internet-based virtual newspaper.

With the exception of a few dailies like The Sydney Morning Herald and The Telegraph, most local newspapers are distributed free. Cost of printing is derived from advertisements and that is where fierce competition now exists.

Market Intelligence has compelled some sort of rate standardization among three older monthly newspapers. No cartel has actually been established but sneaky espionage has somehow led to uniform pricing. Some favored advertisers continue to enjoy special rates but the new entrants, desperate to penetrate the market, have started offering free advertising. This is of course to the delight of some businesses who themselves are struggling to stay alive.

Offering free advertising space may not necessarily be a sound marketing strategy. Unless the person is a Bill Gates or a Rupert Murdoch, there is always a limit to one’s financial capacity. Except for credit card issuers, very few banks are willing to provide unsecured credit based on a feasibility or project study.

Is it laissez-faire or is it abhorrent practice of client piracy? Where do we draw the line between business ethics and cutthroat competition? Only time will tell. It is time to separate the real men from the boys.

In the process, we might be killing the goose that laid the golden egg. Dino Crescini

(Any reaction to this editorial may be posted by visiting or by sending an email directly to )

Fr. Vladimir Echalas, SOLT is a Filipino missionary priest from Legazpi City, Philippines. He is a member of a religious community called the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) and currently the parish priest of Lindfield-Killara Catholic Parish in the Diocese of Broken Bay, NSW.

Everyone is invited to the Gala Opening of Fr. Vlad’s ONE MAN EXHIBITION of his 35 pieces framed 30 X 42” poetographs on 11 December 2010 7pm at Holy Family Hall 2 – 4 Highfield Road, Lindfield, NSW. His poetographs will be auctioned at the Gala. The exhibition runs through 12 December 2010, 9:30am – 9pm.

Fr. Vlad is also publishing EMPTIFUL, a 68-page coffee table book on Poetography which is a fusion of Poetry and Photography. The book will be launched during the Gala Opening.

The book costs only $28 which includes GST and freight. It is indeed a lovely Christmas gift that you can give to your loved ones and friends. For those interested to get a copy of this book please contact him:
Lindfield-Killara Catholic Parish
388 Pacific Highway
Lindfield, NSW 2070
Tel. 9416-3702 or 0435-424485