"These were momentous years."
As I was going over my memorabilia over the weekend, I came across a photo showing me and my mentor Doroy Valencia, the foremost newspaper columnist of his time, receiving trophies as the “Best Commentator of the Year” for 1957. This was from the Catholic Mass Media Awards.
There were only two of us who received that award (I was also in television at that time).
Ka Doroy had moved his column “Over a Cup of Coffee” to the Manila Times; it began at the front page. It was a popular and well-read column. Meanwhile, I had a TV commentary on Channel 13, IBS-RMN.
That award given by the CMMA was a momentous moment in my life as a journalist.
Ka Doroy’s commentary over the Roces-Prieto owned Channel 5 at that time was a direct commentary on the news of the day. Meanwhile, I had a different format. A voice-over would ask me a question on the news, and I would give my opinion on it.
Santa Banana, would you believe that both Valencia’s and my commentaries were in black and white?
The director of the television show was Dick Taylor, an iconic broadcaster during his time.
I also remember being a radio commentator, broadcasting from the Country Bake Shop along UN Avenue where the greats and near-greats at that time congregated. I was also given an award for “Best Radio Commentator” for that later on.
My gulay, at my age, 91 going 92, I wonder how I was able to do all those things: Having a daily radio broadcast, writing a daily column, and being on TV once a week. But I was young then—in my 30s.
It was in the 1950s when television came to the Philippines, through an American by name of Jimmy Linderberg. He became a good friend.
Linderberg partnered with the late Tony Quirino, brother of President Elpidio Quirino, who set up the Alto Broadcasting System. Since both Linderberg and Quirino needed funding, they partnered with the Lopezes through the Chronicle Broadcasting Network which became ABS-CBN. Other networks came later.
I would consider Tony Quirino as the Father of Philippine television for his efforts to make the TV industry what it is today.
Another television giant, GMA 7, also has stories to tell. It was during martial law days that the triumvirate of lawyer Felipe “Henry” Gozon, his brother in law Nards Jimenez, and another lawyer, Gualberto Duavit, bought the network from Bob Stewart. Now, GMA-7 has become a network with a bigger audience share than ABS-CBN.
It was during martial law that I organized the Kapisanan ng mga Boradkaster sa Pilipinas, the organization of all radio and television networks.
I was then a member of the Media Advisory Council. I thought of organizing all networks that would put them out of the ambit of martial law. I had the clearance of then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, martial law administrator, so that all the networks could do their own self-policing. My idea worked.
When the Sorianos bought the Philippines Herald from Don Vicente Madrigal, they were unhappy about how things were being run there. The Sorianos became very active in politics, as members of the Liberal Party, and took every occasion to attack then President Ferdinand Marcos, from the Nacionalista.
Thus, when my good friend Bobby Benedicto invited me to join Channel 9, I did.
I had several shows—a talk show, a business-cum-entertainment talk show, and a weekly documentary. As I said, I was young then.
Later on, before the Ninoy Aquino assassination in 1983, I quit the Benedicto network and tried lawyering. I became one of the organizers of Dizon Paculdo Jurado and Vitug Law Offices.
This firm, however, did not last long because of the appointment of my brother Desi Jurado to the Court of Appeals and Jose Vitug to the Supreme Court.
After the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in 1983, I wanted to get a job in the United States because times were hard in the Philippines. I had an offer to work as deskman of the San Francisco Chronicle, but doing so meant I had to leave my wife. So I stayed.
In February 1987, Rod Reyes who became press secretary for the Estrada and Ramos administrations, and I launched the Manila Standard in tabloid form. The rest is history as they say.
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My stint with the Roberto S. Benedicto chain of channels was a learning experience.
The takeover of the Benedicto-owned Kanlaon Broadcasting System of the Lopez-owned building and ABS-CBN channel 2 is something I would rather forget.
Santa Banana, upon orders of Malacañang that we occupy the Lopez broadcast building along Bohol Avenue in Quezon City, the whole bunch of Channel 9 employees took over the ABS-CBN building like Genghis Khan’s invading horde to get the best places they could.
I must confess that event was an embarrassment on my part as I never saw the likes of a group like Channel 9’s people grabbing the best offices they could lay their hands on.
I could not understand why the Benedicto-owned KBS had to take over the building. I was later on assigned to manage the government television station GTV 4, which is now PTV 4.
We had to go to Malacañang to report to President Marcos on the cash position and projected profits of KBS. I was becoming suspicious that Marcos already owned KBS.
Since I was then president of the KBP, I had a problem with members seeking a revision on the voting that radio and television should no longer vote per station but by network.
RSB thumbed down my request that voting should no longer be by station. I saw the opportunity to quit. When he stopped me from leaving by offering to increase my salary, I told him that my quitting the network was out of conviction. I really do not hesitate to quit a job out of conviction and self-respect.
So why am I at Manila Standard? I like it here. I am comfortable with the people I work with, like Publisher Rollie Estabillo and Opinion Editor Adelle Chua.