MANILA— Radio station DZRH has apologized to Vice President Leni Robredo and her supporters in Northern Samar after a report aired on Monday claiming there were complaints of “unpaid” pink caravan participants.
In a statement posted on Twitter late Monday night, Cesar Chavez, Manila Broadcasting Company vice president and station manager of DZRH Radio Nationwide and DZRH News Television said the report was “wrong.”
“Mali ang report ng DZRH, paumanhin po VP Leni at sa inyong mga supporter sa Northern Samar,” said Chavez, formerly chief-of-staff of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, who is also running for president.
(The DZRH report was wrong, apologies to VP Leni and her supporters in Northern Samar.)
The report claimed that some supporters of Robredo were supposedly not paid and that some organizers pocketed intended payments.
The Leni for President Movement-Northern Samar immediately issued a statement denying the allegation.
“No one was paid and no one participated because there was payment promised or given. There was no funding for the said activity either. The caravan was purely voluntary,” it said in its statement shared by lawyer Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson.
The group called the DZRH report “malicious and irresponsible.”
“No one from our group had been asked as to our side on the allegations. No source, more so, a reliable one was cited. No person was presented to support their allegation that there was a complaint on the alleged non-payment of ‘bayad’ for participating,” it said.
“We expect fair play from the members of the media because they are important component of a working democracy. However, the way the news was delivered and aired was unfair and irresponsible for being inaccurate and untrue."
"It has caused distress among the organizers and volunteers who are now being falsely accused and unjustly vilified especially on social media. We are very disappointed and sad that DZRH has allowed itself to become a conveyor of inaccurate and untruthful news,” it added.
The group demanded a public apology.
DZRH REPORTER SUSPENDED
In his apology, Chavez said he personally investigated the incident.
“Sa aking pagsisiyasat hanggang sa oras na ito, walang direct quote ang aming reporter mula sa sinuman na nagsabing siya o sila ay ‘hindi nabayaran’ at umano’y ‘binulsa ng mga organizer’ ang bayad na dapat para sa kanila kapalit ng pakikilahok sa kanilang motorcade,” he wrote.
(In my investigation as of this time, the reporter could not cite a direct quote from anyone saying he/she was not paid or that the organizers pocketed the payment intended for participants who joined the motorcade.)
“Ibig sabihin, mismong ang reporter namin ay walang nakausap kahit isang nilalang sa Northern Samar na nagsabi may naganap na bayaran o mayroong hindi nabayaran sa event na iyon,” he said.
(That means, the reporter did not speak to anyone from Northern Samar claiming that payment or non-payment took place during the event.)
The reporter is now suspended while DZRH is conducting further probe, Chavez added.
He clarified the station would not tolerate the incident and neither do they have a policy allowing it.
DZRH APOLOGY AIRED
In an update Tuesday morning, Chavez said his station’s public apology has aired, starting at 4:46 in the morning and will continue to air hourly on succeeding programs until 3 p.m.
Gutierrez thanked Chavez for investigating and for airing the apology.
In turn, Chavez, in a tweet, thanked supporters of Robredo for correcting them without being rude.
He also confirmed the public apology was placed on DZRH Television News’ news ticker or crawler.
Robredo's camp has pushed back against what they called “fake news” of supposedly paid pink caravan participants that emerged Sunday, a day after a nationwide motorcade Saturday, which drew 10,000 vehicles and thousands of supporters in 49 areas across the country.
“Sa sobrang solid kahapon, umagang-umaga may nakarating sa aming ganitong pics. Fake news na naman. Asahan natin ang ganitong paninira habang lumalakas at dumadami tayo,” Gutierrez said in a tweet Sunday, along with a screenshot of a video showing a “Dapat si Leni” sticker with a P100 bill and a note supposedly urging the recipient to vote for Robredo in 2022.
(We came out so solid yesterday that they had to come up with these pics. That’s fake news. Expect to see more of these malicious allegations as we grow stronger and bigger.)
Amid the mudslinging on social media, Robredo herself had previously called on her supporters to show “radical love.”
“Madaling makipagtalo, mas radikal ang magmahal,” she said.
(It’s easy to get into an argument; it’s more radical to love.)