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Korina Sanchez and Noli De Castro not yet coming back to ABS-CBN News
by Napoleon Quintos | July 03, 2010 2:37 AM | 

In a recent press conference, ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs head Maria Ressa finally answered some of the pressing questions concerning the media organization. First was if senior anchor Korina Sanchez would be coming back to the late night news program Bandila since the elections are over. Maria told reporters in a press conference that ABS-CBN News rules mandate that Korina has to wait for another year before she can go back to her job.

“A good rule of thumb for us is exactly what happens in government when you run for office. You campaign, and you either don't get the office or you resign in the process. There's a one-year rule. I think it's a good rule for us to take on because in the campaign, while Korina herself did not run for office, she also campaigned. It will be hard to think that she will be able to say reports on Vice President (Jejomar) Binay. So a one-year break and we'll assess again," said Maria. Korina filed a one-year leave from the news department beginning May of last year. She married Senator Mar Roxas in October 2009 and campaigned for him in his Vice Presidential bid, but unfortunately lost to Binay.

There’s also much buzz that former Vice President Noli De Castro will be returning to the news department. “Kabayan Noli” has been vocal about not wanting to stay in the government service any longer and go back to his first love which is broadcasting. Maria, however, refused to give a definite answer regarding this issue. “Let me put it this way. I'm very, very happy with the anchors that we have. They work very hard to give you the news. So at this point in time, I don't see our news anchors changing.” Noli anchored TV Patrol and Magandang Gabi Bayan, but left when he ran for Senator in 2001, and for Vice President in 2004.

ABS-CBN has also been tagged by critics as an Aquino station because President Noynoy Aquino’s sister Kris Aquino is a bankable star of the network. Maria denied that the news department will now have strong connections with the Aquino administration, nor will it be more critical of the newly elected government. “People have said we're biased, and I always answer back, 'Bias is in the eyes of the beholder.' An independent monitoring group, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, analyzed all of the news programs of GMA-7 and ABS-CBN during elections and they came out with a study that showed that ABS-CBN had no bias in their coverage.”

Maria, the former head of the CNN Jakarta news bureau, expressed her disappointment that people assume that ABS-CBN is living on an “utang na loob” to the Aquino family. History has it that the Aquino family, through former president Cory Aquino, helped return ABS-CBN to the Lopez family after over 20 years of being in the hands of former president Ferdinand Marcos. “When people say things like, 'Because 24 years ago, the Aquinos gave this network back to the Lopezes, obviously we must be biased,' I just go, 'Gosh, tell me the logic of that.' Dun ako nagagalit. Look at our reports, look at our reporters. We have no utang na loob. Ako as a reporter, as a journalist, I have no utang na loob to anyone except the people I write reports for. But that's really the way that I feel.”

The seasoned journalist further spoke on the issue that Kris and another bankable Kapamilya star, Willie Revillame, who campaigned for Presidential candidate Manny Villar, became upset at the department’s coverage of the campaign season. "Perhaps they weren't happy with the way we tell it," she said. "Our goal is not to make them happy; our goal is to tell the truth. So on that day, we ran Willie saying that we are biased, and at the same time, in that report, we ran Kris saying that we're evil people.”

Also present in the press conference was TV Patrol weekend anchor Bernadette Sembrano. Entertainment reporters could not help but ask her about her past relationship with President Noynoy. Is she regretting over the possibility that she could have now been the First Lady? “Kung regrets, wala po. Siyempre kung nagkatuluyan kami, hindi ko makikilala ang asawa ko, at hindi rin niya makikilala si Shalani (Soledad). E masaya naman po kami pareho so wala pong regrets,” she answered. President Noy is now in a relationship with Shalani, a councilor from Valenzuela.

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