Years ago while I was the executive editor of the Davao City-based daily Mindanao Insider, a fellow masquerading as a veteran journalist applied with us as a reporter.
He was readily accepted as he introduced himself as a stringer for the government-owned Philippine News Agency.
On his first day at work, we assigned to the guy a computer that has a program that not only checks spelling and grammar.
In addition, the system spews out on the monitor the graphic warning “NINCOMPOOP!” if the user writes in atrocious, mangled English.
The guy did not last long with our paper. He disappeared after three days.
I edited the few pieces he submitted and I could not blame the computer shouting “NINCOMPOOP!” at the smell of the guy . The guy writes in, well, atrocious English.
Once in a while, before we took him in, I would come across well-written PNA stories with his byline.
I checked with friends in PNA Manila who edits provincial reports. They are familiar with the guy and his reports that nobody would touch for editing because, as they say, caused them giant migraines for its load of bad grammar.
We are narrating this funny episode because the guy happens to be Cha Monforte, now an online blogger who runs the news site Rural Urban News, and publisher of a weekly newspaper of the same name.
In this political season, Monforte parades himself as the propagandist of Vice Governor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio who is battling a losing fight against Congressman Anthony G. del Rosario in the gubernatorial race in Davao del Norte.
He also sits in a morning radio program in Tagum City, where he hurls scud missiles at Rep. del Rosario and his father Governor Rodolfo del Rosario and the Floirendos led by Tonyboy Floirendo, whom he accuse, among other alleged anomalies, of building a political dynasty in Davao del Norte.
I visited RURAL URBAN NEWS, the online edition of Monforte’s weekly paper, and found that he writes the same mangled, atrocious English as during his brief stint with Mindanao Insider about ten years ago.
Does Monforte know that he has become a laughing stock among people who know their English who stumbled on his site?
I recently discovered that some people visit Monforte’s site or read his newspaper not for the news in them but for the laugh they get out of his atrocious, mangled, ungrammatical English.
If you happen to read a well-written report in PNA with a Monforte byline, do not believe it is a Monforte masterpiece. That story from a Monforte report would have been edited a hundred times by PNA editors, who suffer headaches after grappling with Monforte’s atrocious English.
Some friends in the media had been saying that Monforte should close down his blog or stop publishing his weekly paper because his writing badly reflects on the level of proficiency and quality of English writers in the Davao Region.
Online reporters writing in English, in particular, are also up in arms against Monforte.
Online news being available in the internet worldwide, readers may think that Monforte’s atrocious and mangled English may be construed as the standard in English news reporting among Davao Region English writers, they say.
Since I am acquainted with Monforte, some media friends recently asked me to plead to Monforte to close down his blog and stop publishing his paper for the shame they bring to the English-writing community in Davao.
I would not do that because I am preparing a libel rap against Monforte.
To spice up the case, I am also charging him for his bad English, if that would make the community of English-writing journalists in Davao happy.
Why am I suing this ant Monforte?
A few days ago, I wrote a piece about the guy. It was a friendly piece, hinting an advice to Monforte to be careful, this being political season and that he was working as a propagandist for a candidate. I raised the apprehension especially that he had been shot in an unresolved shooting incident a few years ago and that political seasons are seasons for media killings.
Monforte, in atrocious English, reacted to the piece with a libelous retort, instead of thanking us for our concern, in a “news item” posted in his blog and on Facebook.
With evil and malicious intent, and in mangled English, Monforte juxtaposed his libelous blabbering with a plagiarized report from GMANews about Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s comments on paid media:
“Meanwhile, a blocktime broadcaster in Davao City said that the mayor really knows by heart on story twisting by paid media hack journalists as Duterte had been a victim of this in few of his mayoral runs where he has rival before.”
“The broadcaster, who asked not to be identified, said that Duterte had been hit black and blue by “money making writers and journalists daw like Roger Balanza” during his previous mayoral runs versus ex-Mayor Ben de Guzman and versus ex-Speaker Boy Nograles.
“Balanza for all his lies, fabricated stories and truth twisting against Duterte, was punched, knocked out and floored by Duterte a few months after he won in his comeback mayoral bid against reelectionist De Guzman in 2001 polls.”
“The mayor got back at Balanza who portrayed Duterte as evil by using lies, half truths, distortions and twists out from Duterte’s statements during the 2001 electoral campaign period, recalled the broadcaster who was then a member of De Guzman media team.”
On the same day, Monforte also sent us an e-mail, also in atrociously scandalous, mangled English, in reaction to my piece:
“this is a case of shooting the messenger than the message, guys. you are a paid media hack ger, tsk, tsk, tsk so libelous, so malicious article, you’re engaging a dirty demolition job ger vs a messenger, stick to issues, don’t twist, for sums of money, but i wont stoop down to your level, you got no radio audience at all in davnor, you better get radio fm blocktime and smash me than fuel to feed me to the lions over the lies and false speculations you leveled for being a paid media hack; by this my high respect on you was immediately smashed down to the smithereens — here’s my credentials being still a poor, principled journalist am I, and I’m standing taller than you who was boxed (knocked out) by mayor duterte after becoming a black propagandist of ex mayor ben de guzman right after the duterte-de guzman mayoral fight in 2010 polls.”
Although written in atrocious English, Monforte’s insane ramblings are libelous:
Balanza is “a paid media hack.”
Duterte had been hit black and blue by “money making writers and journalists daw like Roger Balanza.”
“Balanza for all his lies, fabricated stories and truth twisting against Duterte, was punched, knocked out and floored by Duterte.”
That is at least three counts of libel that could send Monforte to the New Bilibid Prison where he could publish a newspaper with his atrocious English to be read by incarcerated rapists, murderers and drug lords. Hahaha!
I have been a journalist for more than 30 years and Monforte calling me a “paid hack” is unforgivable.
I am an Ilonggo and has a “Tikal License” (Bragging Rights), and so with the readers’ indulgence allow me to elaborate on who Balanza is:
Senior Writer of the Davao City Press Office from 1992 to 1998
City Press Secretary from 1998 to 2001
Editor: The Daily San Pedro Express, Mindanao Daily Monitor, Mindanao Insider Daily
Awardee: Blogger of the Year, Best Reporter, Best Editor, Globe Media Excellence Award
Publisher/Editor: The Durian Post Weekly
Publisher/Editor: The Durian Post Online, Top News Now! Online, Madayaw Dabaw Online
Monforte claims that I was “punched, knocked out and floored by Duterte.” This malicious imputation of a criminal act on the mayor is unfair to Duterte as it never happened. Monforte should explain why and what his motive is in inventing this lie that destroyed the reputation of the mayor.
People, including Monforte, cannot fathom the relationship between the mayor and I that dates back to 1988 in so far as my role as a publicist, not propagandist, is concerned.
The De Guzman episode is a past event that Duterte and I chose to forget.
Is Monforte reviving that episode because he suspects that I am working for the gubernatorial bid of Rep. del Rosario against his candidate Suaybaguio?
For months now, I have focused my days and nights on the high-stake Duterte for President campaign in online media.
It would cheapen me if I stoop down to the level of this ant Monforte, and fight him in a media war where his candidate is certain to lose.
This humbug neophyte propagandist has been proclaiming himself as the “ptopagandist” of Suaybaguio. He hallucinates that with the lies he writes in his blog and newspaper, and the venom he spews out like a rabid dog in his radio program, to shame and discredit the Del Rosarios and the Floirendos, could change the political landscape in Davao del Norte and make his client Suaybaguio win against Rep. Anthony del Rosario in the race for governor.
Suaybaguio can never win, and he could have paid a large sum to Monforte to make this idiot believe this wild dream. Or Monforte could have made an idiot of Suaybaguio as to make the vice governor believe he could defeat the young del Rosario.
Again, I am an Ilonggo with a Tikal License, so with the indulgence of the readers allow me to elaborate more on who is Balanza:
As editor in chief of the Daily San Pedro Express, supported Duterte in the Duterte-Zaf Respicio mayoral tiff in 1988
Chief Media Strategist for Duterte in the mayoral fight with Congressman Prospero Nograles in the 1992 election
Chief Media Strategist for Benjamin de Guzman (who was then supported by Duterte) vs. Nograles in the 1998 election.
It is public knowledge that I had a falling out with Duterte after the Duterte-De Guzman confrontation in 2001. I was the Press Secretary of de Guzman, whom I consider as an accident that came into my life that broke my years of relationship with Duterte.
Only Duterte can explain why he took me back into his fold in 2010 to handle the media campaign of Inday Sara in the mayoral battle against Nograles.
The job cost me four libel charges filed by Nograles, if to explain the intensity that I poured to make Inday Sara win.
Having said this credential, I am proud to say that I was a key player in four major elections in support of Duterte or his candidates.
Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed propagandist Monforte is still grappling with his atrocious English.
So, what do I do now with an ant like Monforte?
I will file several counts of libel but I would also ask the court not to impose fine or punishment on the trying-hard propagandist of Suaybaguio.
Provided, Your Honor, that Monforte jump from a cliff in Km. 75 in Mawab or from the Compostela Valley View Deck of Governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy in Tuburan.
I will also file a charge against the neophyte propagandist for desecrating the King’s Language with his atrocious and mangled English with his newspaper and blog as evidence.
But I will not demand fine, punishment, exemplary damage or whatever.
Provided, Your Honor, that the Honorable Court will order Monforte to go back to elementary school so that he can improve his atrocious English which is a shame to the community of journalists writing in English in the Davao Region.