Thinking Pinoy: On Sec. Albert Del Rosario, is there anybody worse than Karen Davila?

July 31, 2016

On Sec. Albert Del Rosario, is there anybody worse than Karen Davila?

Karen Davila is a trashy reporter, but it turns out the rest are trashier. There’s something Philippine Media deliberately ignores, and it’s a cause for national concern.
NOTE: This is the original English version of the ThinkingPinoy article "On Sec. Albert Del Rosario, is there anybody worse than Karen Davila?". If you want to read the Tatalog Translation, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Major Philippine media outlets, which ThinkingPinoy will collectively call Big Media, have been hailing the Aquino administration’s Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario as a patriot after he purportedly fought for our nation’s interest in the South China Sea dispute.

For some reason, big media appears to believe, and takes every effort to make the public believe, that “Albert del Rosario is a patriot” is some sort of Bible Truth, a notion that is difficult to reconcile with reality.

Karen Davila’s interview with del Rosario [TP: Dear Karen], despite being extremely problematic, appears to the ONLY attempt by Big Media to investigate the issue.

Is there a media blackout on Del Rosario's conflict of interest?


I, ThinkingPinoy, will discuss this problem by first asking (and eventually, answering) four basic questions:
  1. Who is Albert del Rosario?
  2. What did Albert del Rosario do?
  3. What laws did Albert del Rosario violate?
  4. What did Karen Davila and Big Media do?

Now, it’s time to answer the first question, which is…

Who is Albert del Rosario?

Since 2004 and with a five-year break from 2011 to 2015, Albert del Rosario served a company director of Indonesian-owned, Hong Kong-based conglomerate First Pacific, where Business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) is managing director and CEO [FP].

First Pacific was founded by Chinese-Indonesian Sudono Salim, a famous crony of the late dictator Suharto, and was once the richest man in Indonesia [JP]. Essentially, Salim is to First Pacific as Danding Cojuangco is to San Miguel Corporation [TP: Coco Levy].

First Pacific attempted to downplay del Rosario’s role using the job description “Non-executive Director” [FP], despite the fact that First Pacific actually used del Rosario’s name as its primary director in its Disclosure of Interests in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange [HKEx].

Hindi raw mahalaga pero siya ang frontline man ng First Pacific?

Based on his official profile [FP], Del Rosario became DFA secretary in February 2011 while still a First Pacific director, then resigned a month later, probably out of an attempt at exercising delicadeza.

But del Rosario’s delicadeza stopped right there.

That is, TP asks…

What did Albert del Rosario do?

In his five years in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), del Rosario consistently used his government position to give favors to First Pacific’s Philippine subsidiaries, i.e. companies under the Salim-MVP group. Let’s list down some of the things he did:

FIRST: Just a week after becoming DFA chief [ABS], del Rosario authorized Salim-MVP company Forum Energy to find hydrocarbons in the South China Sea [Storey 2011], despite full knowledge that it squarely violates the 2002 ASEAN Declaration of Conduct (2002 DoC) which states:

5. The Parties undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability… [ASEAN]

SECOND: China’s vessels aggressively approached Salim-MVP’s survey ship so the latter had to retreat. Instead of talking to China per 2002 DoC, del Rosario ignored Chinese opposition by authorizing the ship’s return, allowing it to complete the survey on that same month [ABS].

THIRD: PH-China diplomatic relations hit rock bottom because of this [TP: Trillanes], forcing both countries to engage in “backdoor negotiations”. Who was del Rosario’s appointee as backdoor negotiator? First Pacific CEO Manny Pangilinan [GMA].

FOURTH: Throughout his DFA stint, del Rosario kept his shareholdings in Salim-MVP companies [TV5] namely PLDT, Metro Pacific Land, Metro Pacific Investments, Meralco, Philex Mining, and most disturbingly, Philex Petroleum, the same company involved in the Reed Bank incident.

FIFTH: Philex Petroleum’s stocks debuted in September 2011, well into del Rosario’s foreign affairs stint [Inq]. In short, del Rosario acquired these assets right in the middle of the PH-China squabble.
SIXTH: Del Rosario still owns the petroleum stocks. As of 08 April 2015 disclosure [PSE], Del Rosario still belongs to Philex Petroleums Top 100 shareholders.

SEVENTH: With del Rosario’s and Pres. Aquino’s blessings, MVP tried to strike a deal with state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) [Star].

EIGHTH: Del Rosario usurped the Department of Energy’s authority over South China Sea petroleum contracts, despite the fact that Philex Petroleum is directly interested in it [Inq].

NINTH: Then in 2013, DFA then extended Forum Energy’s Recto Bank exploration license by two more years [Inq].

TENTH: The government awarded three petroleum contracts from 2011 to 2013 [DOE], two of them went to MVP companies (Philex and Pitkin) [FP]. While it initially appeared that Salim-MVP didn’t monopolize PH petroleum, the third contract was a dud, as awardee Otto Energy quit PH oil and gas last year, citing plans to develop other assets with “better potential” in other countries [MT].

These ten points clearly show del Rosario’s hand in furthering Salim-MVP’s business interests.  Even if some smart-ass out there manages to rebut half of these points, the rest of the points still stand.

Del Rosario doesn't wanna sell us out to China. He wants to sell us out to Indonesia instead.

Kulang na lang ay i-rename ang DFA into "DMVP".

Moving on, it’s time to ask…

Exactly which laws did Albert del Rosario violate?


Del Rosario completely forgot the 1987 Constitution, RA 3019, and RA 6713.

I will cite Article VII, Section 13 of the 1987 Constitution [Gov.ph]:
“Section 13. The… Members of the Cabinet… shall not… during said tenure, directly or indirectly… be financially interested in any contract with… the Government. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office.”

Del Rosario clearly violated that provision in the constitution, but just like any other lawsuit, we have to cite an implementing law that del Rosario actually violated.
Hence, let me cite the following:

First, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act Section 3(h) [RA 3019]:
“… indirectly having financing or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity...”
Second, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act Section 3(i) [RA 3019]:
“… having a material interest in any transaction… requiring the approval of a… group of which he is a member, and which exercises discretion in such approval, even if he votes against the same or does not participate… Interest for personal gain shall be presumed against those public officers…”
Third, the Code of Ethics of Public Officials Section 7(a) [RA 6713]:
Public officials and employees shall not, directly or indirectly, have any financial or material interest in any transaction requiring the approval of their office.
I leave it to the reader to match Del Rosario’s ten deeds listed in the previous section to one or more of the laws cited in this section. Note that there may be other laws or provisions that are relevant to this discussion, but I felt that these three are sufficient to elucidate my point.

Del Rosario is no patriot. He’s a criminal, a criminal who's making the Indonesian version of Danding Cojuangco richer, at the expense of the common tao.

So yes, the public needs to ask del Rosario’s side on this, and the perfect opportunity was when ABS-CBN journalist Karen Davila interviewed him in Headstart on 18 July 2016, or less than a week after the final ruling on the South China Sea arbitration case was released.

So TP asks…

What did Karen Davila and Big Media do?

In “Dear Karen ‘Higher Intelligent (sic)’ Davila”, I explained how ABS-CBN journalist Karen Davila deliberately, tangentially tackled the del Rosario conflict of interest issue. I pretty much burned her for that, especially since she admitted having bought Philex Petroleum stocks herself.

On the basis of her Philex stocks, I even went as far as telling Davila, “This country needs journalists with integrity, a quality that you seemingly lack.”

Just recently, however, I discovered that Davila’s husband, DJ Sta. Ana, is TV5’s news operations head [LinkedIn]. TV5 is a Salim-MVP company [BM].
From DJ Sta Ana's LinkedIn Account [LinkedIn]

So maybe she doesn’t wanna piss her husband off?

It doesn’t matter as much anymore at this time. What’s more important is the question on whether other major news outlets have considered exploring this Del Rosario conflict of interest issue.To do that, ThinkingPinoy did several site-specific google searches for the following term:
site: conflict of interest del rosario
Note that “site:” forces google to return results that are within that specific site. Thus, using “site:news.abs-cbn.com” limits the results to ABS-CBN articles. I used this search operator because I want to learn whether a specific news site has released an article related to Del Rosario’s conflicts of interest.

Now, it’s time to give you the results as of 11:27 PM Manila, 30 July 2016.

A: Television’s Big Four

  • ABS-CBN: There was one instance, which was Karen Davila’s crappy interview with del Rosario mentioned in the previous section [Google].
  • GMA Network: No relevant articles [Google].
  • CNN Philippines: No relevant articles [Google]
  • News5: No relevant articles [Google]
  • Interaksyon: No relevant articles [Google

Of the four TV networks, only ABS-CBN tackled the issue, and it tackled it terribly.

B: Newspapers

  • Inquirer: No relevant articles [Google]
  • Philippine Star: No relevant articles [Google]
  • Manila Bulletin: No relevant articles [Google]

C: Others

  • Rappler: No relevant articles [Google]

Why zero Big Media coverage?

All major news outlets have not, AT ANY POINT, entertained the idea that our own Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario may have harbored conflicts of interest to the detriment of national interest.
A public official violated laws for his own benefit while risking the lives of millions of innocent Filipinos? That’s one hell of a scoop for any decent journalist.
ThinkingPinoy has written about this conflict of interest angle as early as 14 July 2016 with “The South China Sea Decision and Perfecto Yasay's Face”. Since then, I have released seven additional articles tackling the same issue, namely:
  1. #CHexit FAQ: Mga Katanungan tungkol sa Philippines vs China Arbitration
  2. Dreaming of forming a military alliance against China? Learn from SEATO's experience
  3. South China Sea #CHexit decision explained in simple Taglish
  4. PH-China on West Philippine Sea: The issue of trust, or the lack of it
  5. South China Sea 101: How Trillanes, DFA, MVP destroyed PH-CN ties
  6. Dear Karen “Higher Intelligent (sic)” Davila
  7. South China Sea, Philex and the Roman Catholic Church
These eight articles collectively garnered over 1 million hits and tens of thousands of social media shares, so how in the world can every Big Media employee, supported by their hordes of writers and editors, fail to read even one of them?

Now, some smartass out there would probably say, “Don’t be too full of yourself, maybe your audience are of the less educated kind,” but that alibi will not fly either.

Why? Because a simple google search for July 2016 articles [as of 30 July 2016, 11:56 PM Manila] using …
… the keyword “UNCLOS Albert del Rosario” yields a ThinkingPinoy article as Top 8 of search results page 1 [Google].
… the keyword “Karen Davila” yields a ThinkingPinoy article as Top 2 of search results page 1 [Google].
… the keyword “south china sea albert del rosario” yields a ThinkingPinoy article as Top 2 of search results page 2 [Google].
There are many other Google keyword combinations that return TP articles on Page 1, but I think I already made my point.

Over 1,000,000 hits, over 100,000 shares, and good Google ranking, yet Big Media still failed to catch wind of this issue?

Patay-malisya lang?

There are several possible explanations behind this news blackout:
  1. Incompetence
  2. Conflicts of Interest
  3. Bias

Now, it’s up to the Filipino people if they are still willing to put up with Big Media’s crap.

Nagtataka pa kayo kung bakit sumisikat si Mocha Uson at ang mga fake news sites, samantalang nuknukan naman kayo ng tanga, o nuknukan ng hipokrito. Ang yayabang nga mga ungas nga ‘to e mga walang kwenta naman. Dahil sa kagaguhan ni del Rosario, puwedeng mamamatay ang mga kababayan ko, mga putang ina nyo!

I abhor media killings but with all these crap, you seriously want the general public to sympathize with you on media killings? Why would they join your cause when you work against theirs?

Let's now ask the final question:  On Sec. Albert Del Rosario, is there anybody worse than Karen Davila?

The answer? Everyone else.(ThinkingPinoy)

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