Following reports that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has given broadcast frequencies previously assigned to ABS-CBN Corp. to Advanced Media Broadcasting System (AMBS), Inc., former Kapamilya newscaster Korina Sanchez addressed the likelihood of her joining the new network backed by tycoon and former Senate president Manny Villar.

“Well, you know, I’m a free agent. All my doors are open,” said the veteran TV journalist when asked in a recent virtual interview if she would be willing to accept should an AMBS offer be made to her.

“I don’t believe in burning bridges. I still have a very good relationship with the Lopezes and the management of ABS-CBN. My show (Rated Korina) actually is simulcast over multiple platforms on both TV5 and A2Z, Kapamilya Channel, TFC, One PH Cignal TV and I’m very happy about that.”

“And I owe that to Brightlight (Productions), which is headed by Albee Benitez. I owe Albee Benitez a lot because nung nagsarado ang ABS-CBN, hindi ako naghintay nang matagal, nagkatrabaho na ulit ang team ko at ako mismo. He trusted me. They don’t meddle in anything of my content. They trust me. I deliver. They’re happy with our output. And I’ve been renewed for a year.”

To recall, after over 30 years with ABS-CBN, Korina parted ways with the media giant three months after lawmakers denied its application for renewal of its broadcast franchise on July 10, 2020, and signed a contract with Brightlight Productions to produce Rated Korina for TV5.

Nevertheless, Korina said, this doesn’t mean she “can’t come out anywhere else.” “Because I’m organic to TV5 — I love MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan), he’s been very kind to me and they’ve given us a very good time slot — but I’m really more contracted with an independent content provider and blocktimer. So, if there’s an offer, why not? I’d love to be working again with the people who I came to know as my family, as I was growing up in the industry. So, why not?” she further said.

Given her long TV career, Korina was made to weigh in on the arrival of AMBS in the Philippine media landscape.

“Well, I think, the more players, the better. That’s where quality will emerge. Because right now, the competition landscape is not balanced. May iba na ang lakas ng transmission. Yung iba, ang gaganda ng programa, ang hina naman ng transmission. Tapos, merong may frequency, merong wala. Pero meron na ngayong streaming. So, that’s why I think it’s very important to still have the frequency because not every part of the Philippines ay abot ng internet,” she said.

“Napaka-importante niyan lalo na para sa darating na elections. Kasi saan nila kukunin ang impormasyon tungkol sa mga kandidato, right? Naka-sandal ka ngayon sa mga sasabihin ng barangay captain,” she pointed out its role amid the looming national elections.

“So, paano na ngayon ang information about our presidentiables, candidates – local, national? And beyond the elections, TV pa rin. Although sabi nga nila, malapit nang mawala ang TV. Maybe not in the next five, eight, 10 years. Iyan pa rin ang No. 1 source of information. And the more strong frequencies we have, with good content, the better for our country.”

Presidential interviews

While on the subject of the May polls, Korina shared the full story behind her recent Rated Korina special featuring the presidential aspirants — senators Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, Vice President Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Bongbong Marcos. She also defended her choice of interview format, which delved into the non-political side of their lives.

“Sabi nila Korina, bakit kailangan niyo pa mag-pa-cute, kailangan niyo pa mamingwit ng isda ni Ping, bakit kailangan niyo pa maglakad-lakad sa kalye ng Manila with Yorme, nakipagkantahan ka pa sa piano with Pacman, si Bonget, pinagluto mo ng pinakbet, tinour mo ang bahay ni Leni.

“Why? Kasi sa totoo lang, lahat ng politiko, this is what I concluded from my so many years of being a journalist, lahat ‘yan tao din. Lahat sila may nagmamahal sa kanila, sila rin nagmamahal, lahat sila mga anak din sila, mga tatay and nanay din sila, so bakit natin sila ipagmumukhang mga halimaw,” she explained.

“Alam mo ang Pinoy, pagka-yan bumoto ng presidente, tipo yan or hindi nila tipo, kasama dun ang pagkatao nila,” she added.

She believes she was able to provide a “snapshot that these (presidentiables) are also human beings.” According to her, it was a way for her to get them relaxed before she put them in the hot seat, which she dubbed Upuan ng Katotohanan. “And it really worked, they were candid and they seemed to be honest, they were relaxed. I think I asked the tough questions,” she said.

She provided some “one-liner summaries” on the presidential candidates after the interviews.

“Si Pacman, ang benta niya, hindi ang kanyang diploma kung di ang kanyang kabutihan ng puso. Si Bongbong, ang parang pinaka-nakuha ko sa kanya… ang ginawa ng tatay niya ay ginawa ng tatay niya. Iba ang gagawin niya at iba siya. That’s the one-liner summary of that interview,” she said.

“Si Leni, kaya ko kasi babae ako. Tinutungtungan niya ang pagiging babae. Di ba nga sa bahay, ang punong abala ay babae, yun ang bentahi ni Leni. ‘Kaya ko kasi babae ako.’ Si Ping, ‘I’m the most qualified because I’ve seen it all, I’ve done it all and I know what to do.’ Si Yorme, ang kanyang bentahi, tingnan niyo ang ginawa ko sa Manila, ‘yan ang gagawin ko sa buong Pilipinas.”

‘Journalism is evolving’

As a journalist, Korina said she has “evolved since the days when I was in my 20s na parati akong may kaaway, parating may galit sa akin, may death threat ako. May sumusunod sa akin, van na itim.”

“Now, wala na akong mga death threat. Ang bait-bait ko na. Nagbebenta na ako ng pampaputi ng mukha, alam mo yung ganun? Saka meron na akong Pepe and Pilar,” she added, referring to her toddlers with former senator and DILG secretary Mar Roxas.

While her kids helped her “mellow down,” she also thinks “journalism itself is evolving.”

“Alam mo ba ang natutunan ko sa masters class ko? When I took up my masters in Ateneo, I was already past 50. Pagpasok ko ng classroom, akala nila na ako ang teacher. Tumayo silang lahat. Kasi ako ang pinakamatanda sa kanila,” she recalled with a laugh.

“So, anyway, you know what really astounded me in that masters class, there is no such thing as objectivity. That is one of the conclusions. There is no such thing as ‘no bias,’ you know. And in the same way that the landscape of TV and social media is evolving, journalism itself, I think, is evolving.

“How do you present someone just answering tough questions on a chair? You have to know the whole of them. That’s why even in America, makikita mo nagpi-picnic si (former US president) Barack (Obama) kasama ni Michelle, di ba? Naka-two-piece si Michelle, papakita ni Barack na naka-six-pack siya. Why? ‘They have to know I’m healthy. They have to know that this is the kind of father I am.’”

She continued, “Honestly, are we really electing presidents to Malacañang? We are electing human beings to Malacañang. And you have to know what kind of human beings they are. So, that is how I feel my brand of journalism is evolving. It’s more holistic, it’s less judgmental, without having to diminish the value of knowledgeability, decency, education.

“Pero tama yung narinig ko kahapon dun sa isang vlog. Nasa galing ito. Gaano ka kagaling? Gaano ka marunong dumiskarte? Husay — husay ang pinag-uusapan dito.”

Upuan Ng Katotohanan: The 2022 Presidential Special was aired last weekend on Rated Korina, while the full interviews are available on the Rated Korina Plus YouTube channel.





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