Ouster matrix story 'poorly sourced,' resigned Times editor says

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Ouster matrix story 'poorly sourced,' resigned Times editor says
In this April 22, 2019 photo, presidential spokesperon Salvador Panelo holds the so-called matrix on the alleged ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.
The STAR / Alexis Romero

MANILA, Philippines — The exclusive banner story of Manila Times on a supposed "matrix" to oust President Rodrigo Duterte was poorly sourced, a former editor of the broadsheet said.

Senior journalist Felipe Salvosa resigned from his post as managing editor of the Manila Times days after the ouster matrix story was published.

In an interview with ANC's "Early Edition" Friday, Salvosa said he was asked to resign from the publication.

"I was asked to resign and then I filed a resignation letter so I typed it in a computer, printed three copies, submitted it to HR. I resigned," Salvosa told ANC.

He added that he was already thinking of resigning prior to being asked to tender his resignation.

"In a way, you could say na naunahan lang ako pero (they beat me to it but) I really planned on quitting," he said.

In a statement released Thursday, Manile Times President and CEO Dante Ang II clarified that Salvosa "did not resign" but "was asked to do so."

"He (Salvosa) behaved unethically when he posted a statement on spcial media without first notifying or clarifying with our Chairman Emeritus, Dr. Dante A. Ang, the issues that he had with the story 'Oust-Duterte plot bared,' written by the owner himself," Ang said.

Ang also pointed out that publication's chairman emeritues had a credible source, which was the Office of the President.

Asked why he resigned from the broadsheet, Salvosa said he did not agree to the publication of the story about the supposed matrix that linked journalists and lawyers to the purported ouster plot against Duterte.

"As an editor, as a journalist, I would have suggested to delay the publication for maybe a day or two and call up all the names mentioned in the diagram... I think it's just fair to call them up and get their reaction," Salvosa said.

He also noted that as a general rule, using anonymous sources, even high-placed or knowledgeable sources, was not preferred as the article was "making big accusations."

"We're linking several names of some of the biggest names in journalism to a destabilization plot and for me, if you ask my opinion, the article was poorly sourced," Salvosa said.

The senior journalist added that the article could have been written in a journalistic manner as it appears to be more of an opinion piece.

Salvosa also revealed that he was instructed not to edit the article as it had already been edited.

"I was told to include the story in the lineup and I included it. I haven't read it and then I was told that I can't edit so I just followed. I just complied and I ran it for the paper the following day," he said.

The resigned editor also pointed out that it was questionable for Malacañang to confirm the so-called matrix the same day it was published as the information came from Malacañang itself.

"What's given to the Times is an exclusive but to say that Malacañang confirmed the following day... the information came from Malacañang in the first place," he said.

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