(UPDATE) Korina’s ‘suspension’ puts spotlight on ABS-CBN

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(UPDATE) Talks were swirling over the weekend that Korina Sanchez was suspended for a week on her daily newscast TV Patrol.

Indeed, she was noticeably absent from the primetime news program since Thursday, Nov. 14. Her last appearance on the newscast was when she reported live from Ormoc City to check on relief efforts.

All of these stemmed from Korina’s criticism of CNN journalist Anderson Cooper about his on-air report that there’s “no government presence” in Tacloban City, Leyte and other Yolanda-hit areas. She lambasted Cooper over the report saying, he “doesn’t know where he speaks of.”

She was in Ormoc obviously to respond to Cooper’s dare that she visit Tacloban to assess the situation herself and that she could easily do it being the “Interior Minister’s wife.” Cooper’s challenge came as his response to Korina’s brickbats. Of course, Cooper’s CNN desk defended its prized expert journo in disaster-stricken locations calling Korina’s observations “inaccurate” and “bizarre.”

No defenders

What’s worse for ABS-CBN’s top lady news anchor was that not even her compatriots sided with her. Filipino netizens immediately rebuked Korina for her remarks, charging that Cooper, who was reporting from Tacloban, was only narrating what he was seeing and that she wasn’t even in the storm-ravaged city when she questioned Cooper’s credibility.

For her “unguided” remarks against Cooper, reports say, Korina had been suspended. While her official reason was that she took a vacation leave, it seemed not a valid excuse. What journalist could choose a time like the Yolanda tragedy for a vacation leave? Certainly not a broadcast journalist of her caliber.

It seemed that with international attention she was getting for her controversial remarks against Cooper, Korina should go mute for a while.

But if this is true—and this will be confirmed in upcoming newscasts—is her “suspension” justified?

Mistakes, mistakes

After all, she committed every mistake in the journalism book—loading comments with biases, and unspeakably questioning a report from a journalist on the ground without actually communicating or verifying with him. Maybe this should offer a fair warning to anyone who’d want to enter journalism, that even someone of Korina’s stature would not be spared. If this is true, then good job, ABS-CBN. It seemed you should now carry the tag, “Walang kinikilingan, Walang pinoprotektahan.”

But, as of this writing, ABS-CBN has still not issued a statement on the alleged suspension. We tried contacting the network's corporate communications team, which has indicated the network has no statement yet. Maybe it is waiting for the proper time—maybe tonight or tomorrow. Or maybe they will issue a denial and Korina will soon go on air again after her "much-deserved vacation" at the height of the Yolanda tragedy.

This will indeed show where the network stands on the issue—if it carries the light for journalists to follow, or lead them to a bottomless pit.

Postscript: On Tuesday, November 19, Korina broke her silence on the matter and revealed the reason behind her sudden disappearance: work. She said in an interview on radio station dzMM that she was going around typhoon-affected areas for her magazine show Rated K. If so, why was it so difficult for ABS-CBN to officially issue a statement and simply explain that she was on assignment?

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