By Raïssa Robles
Dear Bobie, now that I’ve finished some deadlines using real journalism practices (you should try it one of these days) I can take some time to address that letter you wrote to my editors last week.
In that email, you peremptorily commanded the SCMP’s editors to read your column wherein you urged the paper to fire me as its correspondent.
You know what I felt when I read your column? I felt sad. I felt sad seeing so many mistakes. You’d think with all your years in journalism, you’d have learned to be less sloppy. Seems not.
In fact you were so sloppy even your short email had a mistake. You got the gender of the editor in chief wrong. A word of advice: in matters like this, don’t guess..
Anyway, let’s go over your column, shall we? Look on me as the editor you’ve always sorely needed.
In your column, you refer to me as “one Raissa Robles.” You’re pretending not to know me? But dear Bobbie, are you concealing the fact that we have known each other for years, going all the way back to Business Day?
We have known each other so well that once, you all but confided to me that the Arroyo administration cheated in the 2004 elections? Here’s a piece I wrote about it.
Perhaps the cheating was done with the help of Cambridge Analytica’s mother company, Strategic Communications Laboratories or SCL?
Well, in my most recent piece in the South China Morning Post, I explained why—between Benigno Aquino III and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo—it was more logical for Arroyo to have contracted SCL.
You can read my piece by clicking on the title:
Duterte’s defenders have denied any relationship with the controversial consulting firm that exploited the data of millions of Facebook users – this is how the South China Morning Post established those links
Now, let’s look at your column, which any journalistic tyro can immediately see makes one fundamental horrible mistake: it uses unnamed sources. “Sources” told you? Really?
Are you sure you didn’t just invent those sources?
Now, every beginning journalist knows that if you must use unnamed sources, you should present corroborating evidence. Like an interview with a named person. Or a document. Or a photo. You know? Like a photo of people seated on a table with Alexander Nix?
Basically, YOU HAVE NOTHING.
And you are saying I’m a poor journalist?
By the way, the lead or first paragraph of your column gives a basic fact wrong—which is why I think you need an editor like me. You called SCL “a sister company of Cambridge Analytica”. It’s not. SCL is the parent company.
You assumed I got my data from the 2013 brochure. I did not.
You also made this whopper of a conclusion: “After 2013 and through 2016, SCL no longer reported the Philippines as a client. Only Kenya, South Africa, India, Thailand and Indonesia were its international clients.”
Did you bother to look at the present SCL website? Did you not see that the Philippines continues to be part of its “worldwide” activities and/or operations? Click on this link: https://sclgroup.cc/worldwide
Dear Boobie, I never said Joel Egco was the liaison with Nix. I merely confirmed with Egco IN AN INTERVIEW that he indeed wrote in Manila Times about Nix and that he had met Nix. I was very careful in the phrasing and I wrote that Egco told me he was not part of Duterte’s campaign.
But then, I found THE PHOTOGRAPHS which, curiously you do not even mention in your column.
And when you wrote – “My sources in the Aquino camp alleged that it was his cousin Rapa Lopa, formerly president of polling firm Pulse Asia who contracted the SCL’s services, which cost P50 million, paid in dollars, shouldered allegedly by another cousin, the tycoon Antonio Cojuangco, Jr. Lopa asked Yolanda Ong of Campaigns and Grey, to implement the SCL’s recommendations for Aquino’s campaign strategy.”
Who are your sources? Did you bother asking Rapa Lopa and Yoly Ong?
Your next paragraph – claiming that the Aquinos were “a pioneer” in getting foreign political consulting groups – flies in the face of history. Ferdinand Marcos used a foreign consulting group, Paul Manafort Stone & Kelly. Come to think of it, even Ramon Magsaysay had Ed Lansdale.
I think your rage is clouding your reasoning.
I realize it now from your letter—all these labeling and branding me “Yellow” are meant to shame me and stop me from writing what I see is the truth.
And boy, it worked for the last two years.
I hesitated to write for fear that it would bring on an avalanche of insults like “Dilawan”, “Yellow”, hate messages and threats.
But you know what, Bobie?
You’ve just inspired me to write the best I can, the most I can.
For that, thank you
P.S. I still think you’re very sloppy.
P.P.S. I’m graciously waiving any fee I should charge you for the edit job on your piece