in the name of their fathers

A text message I received one Sunday morning washed out the alcohol that entered my body the night before. I wasn't expecting lawyer Karlo Nograles to like what I wrote but that he would react the way he did was another thing.

The text message sent he sent to a common friend read: " Have you read the inquirer? I thought this jeffrey guy was a responsible journalist. if i had known that he had already prejudged my family, i would have never let him into my house. He directly misquoted me and even added words just to suit his biased report. That's the last time. Never again."

Many questions were dangled by the reaction of the son of the Speaker of the House. Which part of the story was manufactured? Which quotes were misquotes? These he failed to answer.

I must concede about my being bias. My bias is something that I must not compromise. My bias is my loyalty. And my loyalty goes to my stories. And these stories are the stories of my sources. Meaning my loyalty goes to the story of Karlo Nograles or Sara Duterte and all other people who trust in me their stories.

Sure I am guilty. Be one of the judges...

Inquirer Mindanao
Defending the name of their fathers

By Jeffrey M. Tupas
Inquirer Mindanao
First Posted 21:39:00 06/20/2009

Filed Under: Family, Politics

DAVAO CITY—He is his father’s son; she, her father’s daughter. Their families are mortal political enemies, and in the 2010 elections, they will be at the forefront of their war.

Like his father, Speaker Prospero Nograles, lawyer Karlo “Kaka” Nograles defends the billboards and posters with his smiling face and name—in rich, bold letters—that are placed conspicuously in areas where major infrastructure projects have been completed or are going on in Davao City.

While critics say these announcements speak of the Nograleses’ narcissism, or are part of a grand stunt to claim credit for government funded-projects, Karlo says these do not violate laws.

He describes these as nothing but “information billboards”—simply to remind people of the service that has been delivered to them and what is to be expected from the Nograleses’ “politics of performance.”

Karlo speaks of how his father’s performance has changed people’s lives in the first district, the biggest in the city’s three congressional districts.

That is normal because he is his father’s chief of staff. It is expected because he is being groomed to become his father’s successor.

Blunt on issues

Just like her mayor-father, Rodrigo Duterte, Vice Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte is known to be blunt about issues close to her heart.

While presiding over a regular city council session, she was overheard as saying, “Oh my God … oh, my God …”—her eyes wide—as the majority of the councilors voted for a controversial housing project in an environmentally critical area.

Later, she would confirm cases of corruption involving some councilors and admit that she has difficulty in fighting corruption in the council.

But she had to do it, she said, as she could not stomach public officials stealing public money. “No public money got into the pockets of the Dutertes … the Dutertes are not corrupt and I can declare that publicly, without me being mortified of myself for saying it,” she once said.

Reacting to rumors that her plan to replace her father as mayor will be challenged by Speaker Nograles, Sara said: “Who’s afraid of them? … who’s afraid of the Nograleses?”

It is the kind of tough talk that her father is known for. The kind that drives “criminals” out of the city, sending shivers down their spines.

Next breed of politicos

Sara and Karlo are the next breed of politicians who are seen to stir the political landscape of Davao City in the coming elections. The long battle of their families, as political arch-rivals, is anticipated to sizzle more with them at the helm.

Sara, 29, a lawyer, is seen to take over the position of her father. She considers herself the product of the old and the new Duterte, a family name kept protected by a long history of public service that “always kept the people first.”

“Our identity as political leaders is recognizable as it is distinct. It is a kind of service that emanates from the heart. Ours is not mechanical. We see through people and we respond to their needs appropriately,” she said.

Davaoeños know that Sara, who wears a couple of tattoos and a short chic hair, had contradicted her father over many issues in the past.

It was a feud that she did not deny but refused to elaborate on, except to say, “I don’t want to be told what to do. If I am told not to do this, I would end up doing it.”

Stereotype brand

Karlo, on the other hand, leaves an image of the obedient son, if not the perfect copy, of the father. He, too, has an image of a stereotype politician.

“I can offer many ways to serve the people. But my father’s brand will be my brand,” he said.

“We give importance to the continuity of things—to work on what has already started, done or achieved … my advantage over my father is that all I have to do is to continue what he has done and accomplished.”

For Sara, compromise is as tricky as the full implementation of the law.

She illustrates this by using as an example the sidewalk vendors that business establishments have been complaining against for so long.

“We have been receiving complaints about sidewalk vendors who occupy the space supposedly for the people and these establishments,” she said.

“But we can’t just disallow these sidewalk vendors and dislocate them and become the reason for their poverty. So we allow them (to occupy the sidewalks) provided that they agree to behave well, maintain the cleanliness of the surroundings, and other simple things.”


Rhoda said...

I did not find any basis for Karlo Nograles' allegation for being biased. It was a fair report. He's just so paranoid what with all the issues his family is facing.

chi said...

Same comment here. I do not see any bias in the article.

Maki said...

What's so prejudicial about that? There's nothing wrong with the article naman siguro.

PIPO said...

Your report is just transparent as air. It is not even polluted. Karlo is acting like a jealous politician. dat's all.

Anonymous said...

A quick read would seem to support your contention of non-bias; a closer reading can give grounds for Karlo Nograles' "paranoia" (as a Rhoda says).

1. The meat of the article seems to be Sara Duterte fighting corruption and Karlo Norgrales defending the billboards.

2. The article mentions Sara Duterte being against corruption, confirming that corruption exists in the council which she heads. Yet the article does not say she refuses to publicly name the corrupt councilors.

3. You call Karlo Nograles a "stereotype" politician with all the negative connotations. Do you want to be called a "stereotype journalist" who receives envelopes, gifts, and trips, and attends press events for the food then goes on to quotes press releases verbatim? I am sure you are not one of those, but you get my drift.;-)

4. Karlo Nograles is described an an "obedient son", implying a sense of reluctance (napilitan lang) in his present role. But no mention is made Sara Duterte's prior (and well known) aversion to politics. The article makes no mention of her being plucked from a self-imposed "exile" in Manila and obeying his father to run in a Duterte-Duterte tandem last elections because - well, you know the reason why.

I am pretty much resigned to these kids running the city in the near future. I think I can handle any one of them being a Congressman. But the prospect of an inexperienced 30 year old running the second largest city outside Metro Manila gives me the pause. Now, if they are just stand-ins for their fathers, something anybody with half a brain knows - that would be interesting. But I doubt if any journalist (or anybody for that matter) in Davao would would have the balls to write an article (and append his name to it) with that perspective.

Karlo Nograles is relatively new in this game so it is possible that hide is still not thick enough. That he invited you to his house (maybe with the concurrence of mutual friends (suggesting that both of you belong to the same social circle)) may add to the "hurt". (The ranting blocktimers on AM radio are easier to dismiss.)

Bias (especially those relating to self-image) is notoriously difficult to detect and overcome. Who wants to be "wrong", or, worse, "ugly"? I have found this blog helpful ( but it can get pretty heavy on the economics.

End of (semi-) rant.

Keep writing.

bananas said...
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bananas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bananas said...

rhoda--that's what you think. i respect that the way i respected kaka's feeling over what came out of the story. acceptance of what you think or what karlo thinks is another thing tho.

chi--as ive said, i know my bias. what i did was a biased reporting. my bias goes to truth.

maki--the article was correct from the opening word down to the last period. what's wrong was when the manila desk did a nip/tuck, eliminating the "juicier" parts like when kaka defended his father's con-ass and sara paroting his father's defense against allegations that he is the grandfather of the DDS. how's that?

Pipo--atch? is that you? may nalalaman kang polluted air ha. hmpfness ka. hehehheh

anon--waw. thanks for the (semi-)rant. :)

that i called karlo a "stereotype" politician was not to mean bad. for one, he's not yet an elected official although he has been working for his father as the speaker's chief of staff. so to mean that he is a trapo, as the word stereotype stongly suggests, was of no basis at all.

the original article offered explanation behind the tag "stereotype." it says--"...he speaks the (political) language like it is his own."

as on observer, karlo talks and walks like is he a politician despite his being--stress this time--a non-elected official yet.

the context of the line must be clear. there was an apparent comparison between sara and karlo there as public figures (not as politicians).

while karlo appears like the obedient son--overly, perhaps--sara doesn't care to put up a fight with the father. and her hair is chic and she has a couple of tats.

and karlo wears glasses. and, i repeat, talks and walks like a real politician.

the story was supposed to disect the would-be political figures of Davao--sara being digong's daughter and karlo being the speaker's son.

and no. we don't belong to the same circle. impossible. that he allowed me to get into their house, something that he regrets, happened during the interview--where i jotted down notes and recorded the interview.

...while i sipped a cup of freshly brewed coffee and munched on some japanese chips. or were they korean?

Ate Sienna said...

no matter how you write it, there will always be people who wouldn't like or enjoy the finished product of the interviews you've conducted. most specially if the article didn't come out glorifying the interviewee. With politicians, i think it is a bigger thing that every bit of article that comes out about them must elevate their standings for a coming elections.

if you have the proofs to back up your writings, then you're on the right tract. basta ingat ka lang. politics is a very dirty game.

ramil said...

shitness naexcite ako sa titl eng blog ko, wrong timing. seryoso pala. ;)

mikel said...

i agree with anonymous. there are some points in your article that when read more closely means something not so nice about him, or not. it's a matter of perception, really, i.e. if you attach meanings to a supposedly innocent article. although "He, too, has an image of a stereotype politician" is a bit off, don't you think? still, if it is true, who cares of what he thinks?

Unknown said...

ikanga ni Giovanni Calvo (that gay guy who had a noon time television show ages ago).. "ang mag react, guilty!"