MANILA, Philippines - Kris Aquino on Monday night broke her silence over her brother's criticism of ABS-CBN News anchor Noli "Kabayan" de Castro and other Filipino journalists during the 25th anniversary party of "TV Patrol."
The younger sister of President Benigno Aquino, who is also employed by ABS-CBN, said on social media site Twitter that her brother has the right to defend himself and express his opinion.
"Freedom of speech is a 2-way street right?" she said, in reply to a comment from another Twitter user.
"PNoy is our president & I do believe the majority of our people feel he's doing a great job. Maybe he just like anybody else," she added.
She said she is careful in commenting about the issue.
"Prayed before I replied to make sure I don't tweet the wrong thing. My issues are so trivial in comparison to PNoy," she added.
Her brother on Friday night lashed out at de Castro and Philippine media for alleged bias toward negative news reports.
Aquino, in his speech at the 25th anniversary celebration of TV Patrol at the Manila Hotel, said he wants a positive spin in news stories and commentaries from ABS-CBN's flagship primetime news broadcast.
"Kung gabi-gabing bad news ang hapunan ni Juan dela Cruz, talaga namang mangangayayat ang puso’t isip niya sa kawalan ng pag-asa," he said. "Ilang turista kaya kada buwan ang nagka-cancel ng bakasyon dahil sa araw-araw na negatibismo? Ilan kayang kababayan ang nawawalan ng pagkakataong magkaroon ng kabuhayan dahil sa bad news na ito?"
Aquino also said overseas Filipino workers should get more good news from home.
"Hindi ko hinihiling na kumatha kayo ng mga gawa-gawang kuwento, o pagandahin ang imahen ng gobyerno. Ang akin lang po, kung naibabalita ang mga nagaganap na krimen at trahedya, ibalita rin naman po natin sana kung paano ito naresolba," Aquino said. "Ang pagkiling sa negatibismo ay mag-aatras lamang sa dapat sana’y pag-usad na ng ating bayan at mga kapwa Pilipino."
He issued similar statements during the 25th anniversary of BusinessWorld newspaper also on Friday night.
"Too often, these days, when we switch our televisions to the news, or when we browse through the pages of our papers, we are greeted with negativity," he said.
"The news shouldn’t be about competing with other outfits on who can sell the most negative headlines; it shouldn’t just be about attracting more and more readers in the short term. Think about it: In the long term, how many people would be willing to pay just to have their day daily ruined? How long can an audience withstand negativism day in and day out?" Aquino said.
He said the media should join forces with the government and the public in creating "an environment of positive, progressive discourse."
"We must veer away from negativity and sensationalism. These must not run the course of our national discussions. Negativity leads to despair, which leads to apathy, which then perpetuates the vicious cycle," he said.
It was not the first time that Aquino has vented his ire on Philippine media.
In April this year, Aquino said at the Philippine Press Institute's National Press Forum and annual membership meeting that the country will have difficulty reaching the target to attract 10 million tourists by 2016 if media continues to focus on crime and the negative.
He accused Filipino journalists of having a "crab mentality" and accused them of pulling down efforts of other Filipinos.
Aquino targets 'Kabayan'
He specifically vented his ire on de Castro, a veteran TV Patrol anchor and former a vice president of then President Gloria Macapagfal-Arroyo, for allegedly belitting the gains made by his administration with regard to the sorry state of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.
Aquino also said he was unhappy over criticisms on TV Patrol regarding the National Bureau of Investigation's recovery of a kidnapped child last June 26.
"May naitutulong po ba ang mga walang-basehang spekulasyon, lalo na kung lumalabas ka sa telebisyon at sinusubaybayan ng sambayanan? Kung nagbabangkaaan lang tayo sa kanto, hindi problema ang mga walang-basehang patutsada. Pero kung alam mong opinion maker ka, alam mo rin dapat na meron kang responsibilidad. Sana po, sa tuwing sasabihin nating 'magandang gabi, bayan,' ay totoong hinahangad nating maging maganda ang gabi ng bayan," he said.
De Castro has yet to comment on Aquino's statements.
Ging Reyes, head of ABS-CBN's News and Current Affairs Division (NCAD), said: "Criticism is not a monopoly of journalists and media practitioners. The President had as much right to free speech as every citizen."
"Ang aming mga mamahayag ay may editorial independence, o kalayaan sa kanilang pagkalap ng balita at paglalahad ng istorya," Reyes said on TV Patrol Monday. "Ito ang pundasyon ng kredibilidad."
"Sa mga pagkakataong kinukwestyon ang aming pagiging patas at balanse, mayroon kaming sistema para tugunan ang ganitong reklamo ng manonood," she added.
ABS-CBNnews.com is the news website of ABS-CBN Corp.