Sidebar: When is a columnist too partisan?
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The Philippine Daily Inquirer confirmed on June 17 that Belinda Olivares-Cunanan, who had been with the paper when it was founded, would “no longer be writing a column for the paper”, adding that she had resigned as early as March this year.
But Cunanan denied in her last column on the same date that she had resigned, despite her being told in an earlier meeting with publisher Isagani Yambot and opinion editor Jorge Aruta that she was being “too partisan” against one candidate, “raising a number of issues against him,” meaning then candidate Benigno Aquino III.
But it was not Cunanan alone among the columnists who has been accused of partisanship. Nactionalista Party spokesperson Gilbert Remulla, for example, said that the columnists who were writing on Manuel Villar’s I-was-really-poor claims and on the C-5 controversy that proved so fatal to his candidacy were part of a smear campaign.
That the accusers were the Nacionalista Party and its supporters, is grounds enough for skepticism.
But whether they were moved by authentic concern for the electorate or by other, less noble motives, the columnists who were so instrumental in demolishing Manuel Villar’s candidacy have also been perceived as “too partisan” because of their links with either the Aquinos or the Cojuangcos.