Mr. Efrain Pelaez seems to be a loss at the tirades he had been getting the past month against. Instead of meeting headon the issues raised, he merely dismisses these as irrelevant and proceeds to question my integrity for writing a critical column.
Aside from the letter to the editor published in Sun.Star Cebu today, he sent an email to my Sun.Star bosses railing against what he perceived as a “coordinated media campaign” and my alleged role because Lapu-Lapu Mayor Arturo Radaza’s supposed PR consultant Ahmed Cuizon may be a “brother in law.”
Because of space limitations and the time, I was not able to articulate all that was in mind in my brief reply published in Sun.Star Cebu today.
Thus, I wrote this blog entry.
I reviewed what came out in the local dailies after reading his diatribe and found out the following:
- Reputable writers in both Cebu Daily News and The Freeman had already been criticizing Mr. Pelaez before I typed my column “Business Friendly Cebu” on June 2, 2008.
- Early in May 2008, news reports on the affidavits of the widow and son of former mayor Ernest Weigel Jr. were published in Sun.Star Cebu, Sun.Star Superbalita and The Freeman.
- A day or two after the May 20 assassination of Atty. Richard Sison, the legal counsel of Mayor Radaza, reporter Nilda Gallo of the Cebu Daily News wrote about her last interview with the slain lawyer. She said Sison talked about gathering evidences against tax cheats in Lapu-Lapu City.
- The weekend after the assassination, news items in Sun.Star Cebu, Sun.Star Superbalita and Cebu Daily News detailed the official response of Mayor Radaza to the Gallo news item. He asked police investigators to also look into the tax cheats angle, ordered his remaining lawyer to take up what Sison left, and asked the local police to provide the lawyers with security. The Cebu Daily News even bannered this story.
- Days after this, news items on the AIM-IFC survey that said Lapu-Lapu city ranked second in being “business friendly” were published in Sun.Star Cebu, Cebu Daily News and The Freeman.
- The Freeman came out with a favorable editorial on the AIM-IFC survey.
Only on June 2, 2008 did I write my column “Business Friendly Cebu” and based it on documents that were already reported in local dailies.
Contrary to the allegations of Mr. Pelaez, the points on “tax cheats” and “tax evader” were not based on “rumors and black propaganda” guided by a “script” but on documents and news reports available to opinion writers and the public.
In crying against what he perceived as a “coordinated media attack,” is Mr. Pelaez insinuating that Ahmed Cuizon, who he alleges as the PR consultant of Mayor Radaza, engineered all these reports and columns?
Are all the other journalists (reporters, editors and columnists) responsible for the news items and columns that came out for nearly a month “may” be also relatives of Cuizon?
The way I see it, Mr. Pelaez is practically accusing the whole of Cebu media of being stooges of Ahmed Cuizon and Mayor Radaza. His outburst against Anol Mongaya virtually attacks the Cebu media.