Saturday, April 25, 2015

My 65 years as a journalist

By Emil Jurado 
But, KBS, the foremost radio-television at that time, had a problem. Initially, voting at KBP was one vote per station. Naturally, since KBS had some 46 stations at that time, we controlled the voting. I had pushed for each station have one vote, not by network. Benedicto opposed my plan, so I had no recourse but to resign. Teodoro Valencia, then the foremost newspaper columnist and a Marcos supporter, succeeded me. That’s what made me think that KBS was actually owned by the Marcoses.  I knew this since Benedicto and Buddy Tan had to report to Malacañang every now and then.
Anyway, I became general manager of the government station GTV-4 since KBS was running not only the government station, but Channels 2, 9 and 13 as well.
I became disillusioned and I soon submitted my resignation to Benedicto who tried to persuade me to stay on at a higher pay.  I told him that money was not the issue; it was my belief in press freedom.
Thus, for about three years after the assassination of the late Ninoy Aquino I tried to practice my profession when I joined the partnership of Dizon, Paculdo, Jurado, Jurado (that was me) and Vitug Law offices. But the partnership broke up when my late brother Desiderio P. Jurado was appointed to the Court of Appeals and Joe Vitug became associate justice of the Supreme Court.
After the 1986 People Power revolution, my good friend Rod Reyes, a former Manila Times newspaperman, who succeeded in infiltrating a drug cartel and exposing it, planned to put up a newspaper. He approached me to become part of the newspaper to be publicized by Manuel “Manda” Elizalde, who was then on self-exile in Costa Rica. When he returned, we made the Elizalde & Co. and Tanduay Rum building along Ayala Avenue the Standard’s first office. That was in Feburary 1987.
In spite of offers to join other publications, I stayed on with the Manila Standard. This makes me perhaps the oldest opinion writer now. As I said, I believe in the Standard’s vision and goals, and I like working for every management that has ever taken over the newspaper.
When I exposed the non-promulgation of the case against Juan Ponce Enrile who was charged of rebellion with murder by the Cory Aquino government, a non-existent case because rebellion already included murder. I was cited for contempt by the Supreme Court – not as a journalist but as a lawyer, who is supposed to be an officer of the court? The reason I had to expose the non-promulgation of the High Court’s decision was my discovery that I found out that a Supreme Court associate justice was holding the case since it would mean the dismissal of the Enrile case.
I never revealed by source, a Supreme Court associate justice. The case was supposed to have been a landmark decision so much so that it was one of the questions in Bar examination on Legal Ethics, title In Re Jurado.
My sources at the Supreme Court were many. When I exposed a senior justice whose trip to Hong Kong with his entire family of 27 was funded by a known Binondo drug dealer, I was against cited for contempt until I revealed by source. I never did. I’m perhaps the only journalist who was cited for contempt twice by the Supreme Court.
In my battle with the Supreme Court, the Manila Standard stood by me all along. That is one of the reasons I never left the publication.
I have been charged with 17 libel cases and had to apologize four times upon request of my publisher. In fact, when I was named Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Manila Standard, I was also subpoenaed simply because my name was in the masthead. I had to quit my position since I was subpoened for something I was never a part of.
They say it’s a badge of honor, but I never felt comfortable with those cases against me. The venue at times of the court were in the provinces.
When Martial Law was lifted and freedom of the press was restored, being the only living member of the 365 Club at Hotel Intercontinental, I became active at its chairman. I envisioned the 365 Club to be a freewheeling venue for those who would like to say their piece on the economic and political issues of the day.
And I succeeded when the 365 Club was featured by no less than The Wall Street Journal as the only one of its kind in Asia where people of all political persuasions could take coffee and express their opinions freely without fear.
In my sunset years, I have passed on the torch to businessman Boy Reyno, who is a regular. I became its chairman emeritus. Chairman emeritus is also my position at the Manila Overseas Press Club having been its president and the oldest MOPC member.
I love doing what I’m doing. And I will be 88 this year. If I had retired early, I would have been sick or dead by now.

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