Two decades ago, the Senate was my beat as a reporter.
I am here today because I was summoned by a Subpoena ad Testifcandum, to appear before a sub-committee of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee
The subpoena included a warning – ‘Fail not under penalty of law.’
When I asked what the sub-committee wanted from me, I was told that the sub-committee wanted to know if it was true I had interviewed the Vice-President in 2010.
I am here in my capacity as a professional journalist. I have been one for several decades. I’ve broken a few stories as an investigative journalist: in 2000, I unearthed the story of the Muslim Youth Foundations of then president Joseph Estrada. Two years ago, I wrote about the unexplained wealth of then Chief Justice Renato Corona. This month I wrote a series of stories for my blog about Vice President Binay
In my years as a journalist I’ve interviewed numerous politicians. Before the May 2010 elections I made it a point to interview the major presidential candidates: Senator Manuel Villar, Senator Chiz Escudero before he quit the race, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro and by chance, Senator Benigno Aquino III. I skipped Joseph Estrada whom I had interviewed countless times, even while he was in detention. My interview with him resulted in then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo barring him from attending his grand school reunion.
I only interviewed VP Binay after his stunning victory over Mar Roxas, for a story I was doing for the South China Morning Post. I thought then that he was aspiring for the presidency. But I needed to ask him directly about all the persistent allegations of corruption against him.
I believe it’s part of a journalist’s job to ask the tough questions and to be as fair as possible in getting people’s explanations.
I’m also here as a journalist who runs a political blog where many issues are actively discussed in what my commenters have coined as Cyber Plaza Miranda. And where the commenters have provided much insight and information. I’ll probably be writing about my experiences here today because I’ve never covered a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee report – I mean story inside – we used to call it “The Cage”.
I also believe that this investigation is in aid of legislation. The probe is showing the crying need for a Freedom of Information Law.
Another thing, your Honors. We have an anti-Dummy Law that punishes those who serve as dummies for foreign investors. I believe we do not have an Anti-Dummy law to punish those who serve as dummies to hide the wealth of government officials.
I hope you can help address these.
– Raissa Robles
blogger – raissarobles.com: inside Philippine politics and beyond