October 28, 2017

Contreras was not "fired": he was disinvited, just like Leni Robredo

I started ThinkingPinoy with the intention of talking about Politics and little else. The problem, however, is that I have not seen a drama queen of your caliber before. I didn't want to respond to your round-the-clock passive-aggressive dilawan-type status posts because I hate drama, except when that drama involves a national issue.

I write because I want to help people make better political decisions. I do not write to gain sympathy and attention. Truth be told, I do not really care if other writers have other intentions, but their freedom to choose their reason for writing ends where they start trampling on me and my work.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I really do not want to talk about this issue but the attacks have gotten so vicious that it might affect the reputation of my blog among my social media followers and it might also harm the reputation not only of Karambola, but DWIZ as well. Yes, I have to address this before the issue gets out of hand. 

It's been a week since you left the show, yet you haven't stopped ranting about it. Truth be told, kulang na lang e mahiya sa iyo si Tisha Bautista: she's never appeared as bitter as you.

I initially told myself, “Okay, he just needs to vent, so let him vent.” I watched you disparage the show and the network not only through your profile page, but also through the different social media chat groups, some of which I am also a member of.

I tried to be as patient and understanding to you as possible. In one of the chatrooms, I even gently told you:
“With all due respect Prof. Ton, I think some introspection is in order.”
To which, you replied:
“I have. The reason given to me was exactly what I said. Leni wanted me out. What is there to introspect? It is weird since it looks like a delayed reaction. I have not been talking about Leni. I did not personally attack her. In any case thanks for the reminder.”
At that point, I realized, “Wow, he really thinks there's nothing wrong with him.”

I asked Jojo if that's true, and he said it's not. I found out that you just cherry-picked that statement and disregarded everything else that he said.

The problem: the Leni thing constitutes a very small portion of what Jojo really told you.

I kept my silence in spite of that, out of my respect for the more senior co-producers. I was made a co-producer of the show before you got disinvited.
The problem, however, is that you allowed your diva-hood to get the better of you when you used your Manila Times column to bring the drama to a whole new level. I do not know if you named names in your column, but let's not kid ourselves: we all know who and what you're talking about.

So I apologize if I didn't read your article-rant in its entirety because simply reading the title made me vomit my innards.

But one of my long-time OFW readers did and she messaged me about it. She said:
“Araw-araw, naririndi na ako kay Contreras. Hindi pa nakuntento, sinulat pa sa column niya.”
It's sickeningly juvenile, Professor, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I have become a co-producer of the show and I don't like the way you disparage the show's and the station's respective reputations.

This will be the last time that I will talk about this issue, and I leave it to the public to decide who's telling the more believable version of events.

That is, to set things straight, let me tell you my version of the story behind your leaving Karambola sa DWIZ.


You weren't fired because firing you requires the existence of an employee-employer relationship vis-a-vis the Karambola sa DWIZ radio show, a relationship that is non-existent because there is no contract between you and anybody in Karambola's management or that of the radio station. 

In short, you were Karambola's regular guest.

That is, when one of the show's heads, veteran journalist Jojo A. Robles, told you that he was “letting you go”, he meant he was disinviting you from the show.

Yes, the operative word here is not “termination”, but “disinvitation”.

That is, Karambola simply withdrew your invitation to be a guest. Nothing more, nothing less.

Yes, Prof. Conteraras, you were disinvited, just like what the President did to VP Leni Robredo in Malacanang's vin d'honneur earlier in January [SunStar].
Now, some people may be asking why you weren't offered a contract. That's a fair question. Well, the hosts told me that you weren't offered a contract because they feared that you're one gigantic drama queen. 

It's safe to say that after your week-long-and-still-ongoing-and-still-intensifying rants, those fears are not unfounded.

Now that that has been clarified, let's answer the next logical question: “Why were you disinvited?”

You fail at instrospection, professor, so let me do the introspection for you.


I do not know if you yourself claimed that your anti-Leni Robredo stance caused your disinvitation, but it appears that most netizens believe that Leni tried to find ways to kick you out of it.

That is mostly incorrect. 

I have spoken with the team and while it is true that someone in management raised the issue of your unabashed hatred for Robredo, that in itself is not reason enough for them to let you go. I myself love criticizing Robredo, perhaps as much as you do, yet they decided to invite me to the team.

Leni or no Leni, the decision to disinvite you from the show came even before I entered the picture. You see, the show's producers have been planning to disinvite you months before that fateful Monday morning. It was not because of any new development, but because of chronic issues that the shows' hosts and the station's management found, issues that adversely affect the quality of the show's content.
The most senior producer talked to you that morning to deliver the bad news as gently as possible. He said he's at least giving you the rest of the week so you won't be embarrassed. You said you'll just leave right then and there, and the producer thought the matter has been settled and it's time to just move on for both sides.

The show did not announce your exit and you weren't even prevented to make up an alibi to explain your exit. For one, you could have just told the public that you decided to leave the show because of scheduling issues and got the entire thing over with.

But no, you announced your "termination" minutes before the live stream, exposing us to a barrage of angry comments that lasted the entire show.

No, Prof. Tonton, that isn't how grown-ups behave. Yes, I myself am childish at times, but you're older than I am: you should know better.

The problem is that you don't.


You know what, I was the one who defended you as they were mulling your disinvitation. But they have become so sick and tired of you that no amount of defending could have saved your neck. But “sick and tired” is too vague a term, so let me list down the specific reasons one by one.

First, Pre-show Prep Issues

There was a general impression that you do not perform sufficient pre-show preparation. There have been many times when your comments on particular issues consist basically of motherhood statements that provide little value to the listener. While complete mastery of every new political issue is not expected, the show's producers expect commentators to give insights that occasionally elicit “Ay, oo nga no!?” from listeners.

For example, there have been more than a few instances where co-host Conrad Banal interrupted you with snarky comments. Those snarky comments were subtle instructions for you to level up your game. The problem, however, is that you weren't able to take the hint despite being a year into the show.

Second, Credentialism

You also have a penchant for resorting to credentialism when you run out of motherhood statements to blurt out. You love to shamelessly invoke your “academic background”, which in effect tells the audience that they have to believe you regardless of how insipid your commentary is. That's just like ABS-CBN News insisting that they're credible just because they wont this and that award.

At the end of the day, nobody cares about where you're from: what they care about is the quality of your ideas.

But the problem is further exacerbated by your unnecessary penchant for jargon. Professor, our audience do not have formal training in the social sciences, so you have to speak in a language that they readily understand. You don't do that.

Third, Hijacking Topics

Your peers in the show also felt selfishness on your part whenever you hijack topics. Take, for example, the time when you changed the topic from the Marawi Clash to e-Jeepneys. I mean, come on, e-Jeepneys? The hosts were trying to bring back the topic to Marawi, but you interrupted them so much and so often that they weren't able to. For almost half an hour, we were forced to listen about your thing with e-Jeepneys as we watched the Facebook Live viewer count plunge like Leni Robredo's Trust Ratings.

You know why Conrad sometimes suddenly talks about economics? It's to shut you up, because the show's hosts notice that you talk less when economics is the topic. That's how bad the situation has become.

Fourth, Airtime Hogging

Despite the previous two points, you chose to airtime hog: you love listening to yourself too much. There have been more than a few occasions where you did 5-minute monologues without allowing anyone among the co-hosts to talk. It would have been acceptable if those were 5 minutes worth of mind-boggling insights, but they weren't.

Haven't you noticed those episodes when Jojo or Conrad or Jonat barely talked for an entire segment? It's because of you. Worse, you don't even let anybody speak while you're in between thoughts, and you do this by repeating sentences over and over until your brain catches up with your mouth.

Fifth, Egotism

Another issue that everyone raised was your humongous ego. While egotism in itself is not necessarily bad, your ego has adversely affected the quality of discussion in Karambola. Karambola has slowly become more toxic because of it, and the show's hosts managed to mitigate the toxicity only by getting out of your way. But the show is called Karambola: a monologue is no karambola.

Take, for example, that time when we criticized ABS-CBN/ANC's editorial decision-making when they chose to pit Jover Laurio with a peripheral figure to the #CocoyGate issue. You did not let us expound on how she broke the law and instead forced the conversation to focus on Jover's penchant for name-calling. Your contention that her calling you a “balahura” is important may be true, but it surely is less important than Laurio violating the Revised Penal Code.

Sixth, Sense of Entitlement

This bears repeating: you were just a regular guest. Despite this, you usurped editorial control by inviting other people to substitute for you when you're out of town. That's just like lending someone your precious car, only for that person to lend it to someone else without even asking for your permission.

Professor Ton, do not give to others what does not belong to you.

Seventh, Sub-optimal Ratings

A radio show costs serious money to produce and broadcast and just like TV shows, ratings decide the fate of the show. You were brought into Karambola because you had a relatively massive online following. I have spoken with the show's hosts and they said it's the primary reason why you were invited to the show. The problem, however, is that your following did not translate into significantly better ratings.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Eighth, Integrity Issue

One of the show's hosts even told me that you said months ago that your close friend Joyce Ramirez can help bring in sponsorship deals to the show, a sort-of promise that never materialized. What's more interesting, however, are your constant efforts to “reconcile” me with Joyce, something that I cannot imagine will happen.

You offered, in multiple occasions and with the other hosts as witnesses, to organize a meeting with Joyce and me so we can patch things up. What I do not understand, however, is what we should patch up.

My #NasaanAngPangulo and #WishKoKayPnoy articles reported about the duplicity of the Liberal Party and Joyce Ramirez, and I do not understand how a meeting with Joyce will correct what she has already allegedly done.

I specifically remember that time when I spoke with Joyce's post-Roxas politician-client and warned him of my article that would be published days later because I hate dealing collateral damage. 

Yes, we're talking about the same Joyce Ramirez who allegedly headed LP-Akbayan black propaganda social media campaigns, where Mar Roxas reportedly tried to pin all the blame over Mamasapano on PNoy just to salvage his 2016 presidential ambitions.

Right after I said that, you brazenly ordered me, right in front of that politician's face and with several other people as witnesses, that I should stop writing against Joyce Ramirez.

We were all stunned. Who are you to censor my blog? I think even that politician was stunned, as evidenced by the politician's camp reportedly firing Ramirez a few days later.

After the article's publication and ensuing brouhaha, Ramirez reportedly told the politician that she knew of the article's existence days before its publication because you told her about it yourself.

Did you divulge confidential information to the exact person who I was about to expose?

Tonton, which side are you on? Duterte's side, as long as it's not against PR operator Joyce Ramirez? What do you owe Joyce, really? 

My little birds told me a few things and many others, but I'd rather not mention them anymore.

A Final Word

Yes, Professor, I partially agree that your unabashed hatred for Leni Robredo is a factor behind your disinvitation, but that reason was thrown in only because the producers still had enough remaining sympathy for you, enough for them to feel the need to protect your large and fragile ego.

They gave you a full year to fix your act, but they felt that you believed that you were so good, you didn't have to get better. They partially agree with you: you did not improve indeed.

The producers were hoping that you would exit quietly, just like what everyone did before you. You know why job interviewers interviewers in general reject applicants who trash-talk their previous companies? First, because people generally hate whiny people. Second, because those applicants are likely to do the same thing if and when they leave.

Jojo Robles, Conrad Banal, Mon Tulfo, and many other bigger radio and TV celebrities were once fired from their stations, but they had the decency to avoid whining about it. Instead, they just moved on and looked for better opportunities elsewhere.

But unlike them, you had to whine like a child who's got his candy stolen.

Professor Tonton, you are years older than I am, and people expect you to display an EQ that's at least higher than a 32-year-old's.

With these said, will you choose to finally show some grace in adversity, or will you continue to whine until kingdom come?

It's up to you but if choose the latter, do us a favor by not whining in front of PR operator Joyce Ramirez, your dear friend.

I have spoken to the show's producers about it and they said that in keeping with media tradition, they will not utter a word. But I am TP: I do not share the same level of fortitude as my co-producers.

You can whine till kingdom come but I'm sorry, you are not the most important topic on earth.

Please, Professor Contreras, let this be the last of it.

That's all I have to say about the matter. [ThinkingPinoy]