BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Negros Press Club past president Dolly Yasa rendered her resignation from the club amid allegations of vote-buying during the recently-concluded club polls where she ran as Vice-President but lost against broadcaster Eljon Castaño.
Yasa ran under the Powerhouse slate with broadcaster Rey Siason gunning for the top spot, while Castaño was with New Normal line-up with Yves Montecillo also running – and eventually – winning as President. Their wins, however, were marred by allegations that a couple of businessmen funded their candidacies, and distributed P1,000 to voters.
As this developed, Negros Press Club Glazyl Masculino, in her statement dated 31 January 2021, called the allegations – which were posted over social media – were largely unsubstantiated.
She also cited Section 5 of Article VIII of the NPC’s Constitution and By-Laws, states that the Board and members may act on the suspension and termination of membership of any member with concurrence of the Grievance and Discipline Committee for certain reasons and just causes, including: gross unethical conduct inimical to the name and prestige of the association or its general membership and to the media profession, and
maligning any or all of the incumbent officers and directors through the use of his/her media outlet, agency or station.
Yasa, in her letter posted in her Facebook page, said though she cherished her years in the club, and despite being a lifetime member as past president, said “quota na ako (I have had enough)”.
She told DNX that she decided to over the weekend “for my peace of mind”.
Yasa, in her letter, brought up the issue of vote-buying saying that, “We condemn the act of vote-buying not the person”.
“For whatever good purposes it was intended for by those behind it, [it] defeats its very purpose because it was distributed when we are in an electoral process. We know the truth. And whether we like it or not it has influenced the decision of the member – voters,” she said.
She called it “an insult to the integrity of the NPC which for 85 years existed without such”.
She further clarified that she has no intent to ” shame” or offend anybody in her posts about the NPC.
“The media in general calls for transparency, then why shouldn’t we be transparent of what is going on in our midst? Is this a case of preaching one thing and doing another?” she said, adding, “We stand for press freedom, now, are trying to repress the very freedom we fight for?”
She asked: “Are we now trying to threaten to lash the whip to so called members who are critical of the organization or its officers? Where is freedom of expression then?”
Meanwhile, outgoing president Masculino said in a statement that “the name of the club was unnecessarily dragged into a controversy” making it “vulnerable to attacks and judgments of netizens when the issues and concerns raised could have been dealt with by the organization itself”.
Masculino said because the allegations were laid out on social media, it merely gave the public and other journalists – even non-members — the impression that the club is “in a state of chaos”.
“Nothing could be farther from the truth – “Indi magamu ang NPC”,” she said.
“As stewards of the 85-year-old club, it is our duty to keep its legacy alive as we continue to uphold a free and responsible press,” she said.