Manila Times editor resigns over 'oust Duterte' matrix

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 25 2019 02:38 PM | Updated as of Apr 25 2019 06:42 PM

Manila Times says Salvosa 'was asked to resign'

MANILA (UPDATE) - Journalist Felipe Salvosa II has resigned as Manila Times managing editor, days after the paper published a matrix linking journalists and lawyers to an alleged ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.

Salvosa said he resigned effective Wednesday, April 24. 

"I felt it was time to go after the publication of the ‘matrix’ story. I posted about my thoughts on the story and the owners were displeased. I was asked to resign but told them, I was planning to quit anyway," he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News. 

The article about the "oust-Duterte matrix" was written by Manila Times chairman emeritus and Duterte appointee Dante Ang and published last Monday. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has said the source of the matrix was Duterte himself. 

Duterte appointed Ang Special Envoy of the President for International Public Relations in 2017.

In a private social media post, Salvosa questioned the "matrix" story published on the Manila Times, calling it a "huge stretch" to question anyone accusing the said publications. "A diagram is by no means an evidence of 'destabilization' or an 'ouster plot,'" he said. 

He told ABS-CBN News that he was asked to publish the report. 

"I was asked to run it, and I complied with the instruction," he said. 

Asked what he sees in store for the Manila Times, he said: "The Times has a long history, I’m sure the owners are committed to keeping its legacy."

"I have great colleagues and I respect all of them. I wish them all well."

In a statement, Manila Times President Dante "Klink" Ang II said Salvosa "was asked" to resign.

"He behaved unethically when he posted a statement on social media without first notifying or clarifying with our Chairman Emeritus, Dr. Dante A. Ang, the issues that he had with the story 'Oust-Duterte plot bared,' written by the owner himself," he said.

The younger Ang added that the publication has an "open-door policy that allows any employee to contact or visit our Chairman Emeritus, especially on editorial matters." 

"Mr. Salvosa did not object to the story to our Chairman Emeritus, nor did the former managing editor suggest ways of rewriting or handling the piece. He was merely told that copyediting of the story was no longer required as that was done by the editor in chief," he said.

The newspaper president also defended the article, saying it was "not a PR piece."

"It was a legitimate news item. Dr. Ang’s appointment as special envoy has no line item or office in the government or remuneration of any kind," he said.

"He was simply acting on his journalistic instincts having been given an opportunity to write a legitimate story, that was later confirmed by the Palace."

Online news site Rappler, which was tagged in the matrix, criticized the report as an example of what journalists should avoid. Veteran journalists Inday Espina-Varona and Ellen Tordesillas, both named in the matrix, also discredited the report.

Salvosa, who serves as University of Santo Tomas' journalism coordinator and assistant publications adviser of campus paper The Varsitarian, said he would continue teaching at the university.