Embattled Cristy Fermin faces question of credibility

Oct 16, 2008
"I will die a writer," said Cristy Fermin in a PEP interview. On the issue of credibility, she argued, "Kasi napakapangit kung ako ang magtanggol sa sarili ko, e. Siguro naman kung wala akong kredibilidad, di ako tatanggapin ng mga publikasyon... Nagpapaalam na nga ako sa iba, pinipigil naman ako."

In the aftermath of Cristy Fermin’s word war with actress Nadia Montenegro, ABS-CBN suspended the TV and radio contracts of Cristy yesterday, October 15. She is a host of The Buzz and of her radio show on DzMM.

The ABS-CBN statement declares that Cristy Fermin “did not conduct herself with due regard to social conventions and public morals. Her statements went beyond the bounds of decency as they involved innocent children who are not party to their personal dispute. Ms Fermin's statements violated the highest standards of professionalism and journalistic integrity.”

“The act committed by Ms Fermin brought her and The Buzz to public disrepute, jeopardizing the name and goodwill of both the show and the network.”

Effective immediately, Cristy will no longer be heard on her DzMM program, Showbiz Mismo, and will not host the Sunday TV show, The Buzz, until December 31, 2008.

The controversial tri-media showbiz reporter is still not available for comment.

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PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) was able to interview Cristy Fermin last October 9 at the Hotel Rembrandt. Although it was for a quick profile of her life, we were able to obtain her views on entertainment journalism. (Click HERE for related story)

It may be observed that Cristy Fermin’s style of questioning on both radio and TV tends to be unkind at times.

A case in point was when she interviewed Pinoy Dream Academy scholar, Apple Abarquez: “Itsura-itsura mo pa lang talaga, Apple, ang tingin ko sa yo mukha ka ng mang-aagaw. Kundi mo lang ba naging kaibigan is Bea dito sa PDA, posible bang naging kayo ni Miguel?”

In her columns, Cristy does not mince words either. TV host Willie Revillame commented on this during her birthday celebration in The Buzz, although he phrased it in a positive way. “Bakit lahat ng pinansin mo [Cristy] sa dyaryo, ako for two years sa MTB (Magandang Tanghali Bayan), wala kang ginawa kundi tirahin ako, ‘Mayabang ka’, ‘Hambog ka’, araw-araw mo ‘kong tinitira. Si Senator Bong Revilla, si Piolo [Pascual], si Osang [Rosanna Roces], marami pa, pero sobra ka naming mahal, anong meron ka? Bakit ganun ka?”

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In PEP’s interview with her, she answered our query on her questioned credibility.

"Kasi napakapangit kung ako ang magtanggol sa sarili ko, e. Siguro naman kung wala akong kredebilidad, di ako tatanggapin ng mga publikasyon… Nagpapaalam na nga ako sa iba, pinipigil naman ako," she defended. (Click HERE for related story)

She also cited the fact that she always has lots of sources and that she does not fabricate her stories. “Mga artista mismo ang lumalapit, hatinggabi may iiyak na artista sa kin. Hatinggabi, may magsusumbong na artista. Katanghaliang tapat may tatawag, nay sa ‘yo ko pa pagtatapat ‘to bahala na kayo.”

She also said that she does not visit or approach celebrities to ask for money or ‘tokens’ for glowing articles she writes about them, "Hindi ako nagpipresenta ng mga ginawa ko sa artista, ‘yung pupunta ako sa isang lugar, uy..wala pa yata akong matandaan!"

"Ako'y hindi di rin naghuhugas kamay. Ako man ay hindi uma-attend ng presscon, may mga artista namang nagpapadala sa akin ng ‘reward' kapagka ako'y nakagagawa ng maganda. At ‘pag birthday ko at pasko, marami din namang nagreregalo sa akin. Kung sakali namang ang artista ay nakita na maganda ang nagawa ko, hindi naman ako maghuhugas kamay na ibinabalik ko. Nung una [oo], nagpapabalik ako. Masyado pa kasi akong nakakulong sa paniniwala na pagka merong tinanggap, puwersado ka or may kompromiso.”

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Cristy Fermin believes that she is only doing her duty as a journalist. She noted, “Sa isang mundo na puro kaplastikan at pagpapanggap ang namamayani, ang isang totoong manunulat ay hindi welcome."

Controversies. Her spat with Nadia Montenegro is not the first time that Cristy has found herself in a bind.

In October 2005, actor Hero Angeles filed a libel case against Cristy after she stated that the actor’s family was getting in the way of his career, and then implied that Hero was gay.

Said Hero then: “Sinasabi nila bakit kailangan mong magdemanda e artista ka lang, e sila matagal na sila sa industriya. Sinasabi nila, dati si Piolo [Pascual] sinulat din n’yan pero ngayon okay na sila. Naisip ko tuloy, kasali ba si Cristy Fermin sa proseso ng pagsikat ng isang artista?”

Ms Fermin brushed off Hero’s case and merely told PEP: “Ay, na-dismiss na ‘yun. Wala na ‘yun.”

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In January 2007, Cristy Fermin wrote on the Revillas: “Bryan’s use of ecstasy, kabit ni Bong Revilla, pambubugbug ni Jolo sa ina ng kanyang baby at anak ni Rosanna Roces na si Grace Adriano…”

That controversy was crushed only when Lani Mercado, Bong’s wife and Bryan and Jolo’s mother, reached out to Cristy and forgave her by showing up at the hospital where Cristy’s mother was ill. Lani was quoted as saying: “Hindi na kailangan humingi ng paumanhin [Cristy]. Yung mere fact na tinaggap niya ako nang bumisita ako sa nanay niya, na sana magaling na ngayon, is one big thing for me.”

In December 2006, it was VJ host KC Montero’s turn to wail about Cristy’s columns when Cristy called Geneva Cruz [KC’s wife], a “lousy performer” and “Retokada.”

KC Montero hit Cristy with, "As a journalist, you are supposed to be responsible…You should be careful with what you're saying."

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According to the Filipino Journalist’s Code of Ethics, this should be the journalist’s conduct:

I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts nor to distort the truth by improper omission or emphasis. I recognize the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly.

I shall refrain from writing reports which will adversely affect a private reputation unless the public interest justifies it.

I shall not let personal motives or interest influence me in the performance of my duties, nor shall I accept or offer any present, gift or other consideration of a nature which may cast doubt on my professional integrity

I shall conduct myself in public or while performing my duties as journalist in such manner as to maintain the dignity of my profession. When in doubt, decency should by my watchword.

Cristy Fermin, when asked whether she was okay when reporters are given money or ‘tokens’ for their writing, said: "Depende naman ‘yan sa sitwasyon. Sino ako para magsabi ng dapat at hindi dapat?"

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"Ay, okay sa akin yon," she stressed. "'Wag lang makakasira sa porma ng magazine. Wag lang masyadong magagamit ang kanilang mga columns sa ganun. Okay ako sa ganun. Manunulat iyun, eh. May laya.”

Legal battles. Cristy Fermin is not a neophyte in legal battles. She once faced 37 cases of Estafa because of the trust she had given freely to a friend. "Ewan ko ba, pinagkatiwalaan ko ng dalawang booklets ng tseke," Cristy narrated.

Aside from Estafa, she gets sued for libel.

Only last April 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed the libel conviction against Cristy Fermin and ordered her to pay P806,000 to couple Anabelle Rama and Eddie Gutierrez, instead of serving the jail term slapped on her by a lower court.

The libel conviction stemmed from Cristy’s article insinuating that Anabelle and Eddie left the U.S. because they were running away from an estafa case.

When asked by PEP, Cristy said that she still has to file a Motion for Reconsideration before the verdict of the Supreme Court is finalized.

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And then last October 7, former Caloocan City mayor Rey Malonzo, filed a two-million libel case against Cristy for an article she wrote in July, accusing him of threatening the life of businesswoman Cristina Decena.

But Cristy informed PEP that said case is unlikely to materialize in court, "Sinabi na niya [Rey Malonzo] on air, na humihingi siya ng dispensa sa akin... kaya lang kailangan na isama ako dahil ako ang nagsulat. Pero sabi niya wala na ‘yun.”

"Meron pa raw padating," related Cristy, referring to Nadia Montenegro's warning that she will file a case against her. "Naghihintay naman ako....Ako naman, di ko siya iniimbita. Pero kung dumadating, hinaharap ko.

Recently, Nadia made a move against the embattled TV host by filing a complaint with the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). (Click HERE for related story)

Nadia’s next stop, if reports are to be believed, is in court to file a case against Cristy Fermin.

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Will there be an end to Cristy’s woes?

When Anabelle Rama guested in The Buzz right after the Supreme Court ruled in her favor against Cristy, she remarked: "Ang message ko kay Cristy Fermin, Cristy, sana matuto ka na. Madala ka na… Ang daming mga artista, marami siyang tinitirang mga artista na nagti-text sa akin na tuwang-tuwa sila sa nangyari. Kasi sila, kasi hindi sila puwedeng lumaban kasi nga mahaba ang proseso…

"Sana Cristy, matuto ka na. Huwag ka nang... Kung sumulat at least dahan-dahan lang, huwag yung pabigla-bigla. ‘Tsaka, you know, huwag mo namang siraan ang isang tao na below the belt. Puro pang-imbento. Kasi kawawa naman kami. Siya, may radio siya, may diyaryo. Kawawa yung mga artista na hindi puwedeng lumaban…dahan-dahan ka sa pagsusulat mo.”

During her interview with PEP, Cristy emphasized that nobody can make her leave showbiz. “I will die a writer.”

“Passion yan eh. ‘Pag passion di ka humihinto. At sumasabay ka sa panahon, di ka nagpapaiwan,” she said.

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"I will die a writer," said Cristy Fermin in a PEP interview. On the issue of credibility, she argued, "Kasi napakapangit kung ako ang magtanggol sa sarili ko, e. Siguro naman kung wala akong kredibilidad, di ako tatanggapin ng mga publikasyon... Nagpapaalam na nga ako sa iba, pinipigil naman ako."
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