This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Over the past 93 years, the Bulletin changed names twice. First, in 1972 when the martial-law regime closed all newspapers. The Bulletin reopened three months later but with a more politically acceptable name personally approved by President Marcos. The second was in 1986 when it tried to rid itself of Marcos’ ghost. Diﬀerent names are also associated with diﬀerent owners. The ﬁrst with Carson Taylor, the second with Hans Menzi, and the third, with Emilio Yap. But to a number of its long-time employees, the Manila Daily Bulletin, Bulletin Today and Manila Bulletin will always be one and the same newspaper. The story of the Bulletin can be summarized in one word: growth. From a small operation in the 1900, it has become today a multi-million peso enterprise. From its rented space in various shops in downtown Manila, it now has a building all its own. From a poor second in circulation and advertising to the Manila Times, it claims today to lead all other local dailies (1992 gross income: P1,217,338,224). But all through this period of being second-best, the Bulletin always considered itself as number-one. It looked up to the New York Times as a role model, both in lay-out and in standards. Veteran reporters will all recall the gruﬀ editor in the Sixties who threw ﬁts over missing commas and ﬁred anyone who accepted money from people they were supposed to cover. It was as if they knew that someday they would earn the top spot and that they had to deserve it, in all departments. This paper will look into the history of the Bulletin, from 1957 to 1984, the years during which it was owned and associated with Hans Menzi. This was also the period that saw it take its place as the No. 1 newspaper in the country. It will not be a plain chronology of events, but rather the story of and by the people behind these events. The writer interviewed six people, each of whom worked with the Bulletin for a minimum of 25 years (with one exception) and who had different backgrounds. They were, alphabetically, Vicente Abanilla (worked in the advertising department from 1966 to 1991), Susie Aunario (librarian from 1947 to 1979), Jesus Bigornia (columnist, employed in the Bulletin since 1939), Crispulo Icban Jr. (editor, joined the newspaper in 1976), Lourdes Mendoza (retired as assistant treasurer, 1957 to 1988), Benjamin Pangilinan (retired circulation manager, 1949 to 1985), and Benjamin Rodriguez (editor, joined the Bulletin in 1951). These conversations are preserved on magnetic
2 • MARIANO
audio tape. There were also previous conversations — albeit informal — with former columnist Amelita Reysio-Cruz, former librarian Teresita Mariano, former publisher Apolonio Batalla, former editor Patricio Gonzales and former president Mariano Quimson Jr. The last three are deceased.
2. T�� E���� Y����
Carson Taylor was a schoolteacher from Illinois who served as a volunteer with the U.S. Army in what the Americans simply called the Islands. He was a happy-go-lucky man who thought one should never be too serious about life. He put up the Manila Daily Bulletin in 1900, as a young man in his 20s, without any idea that someday it would be the nation’s most proﬁtable paper. He did not do it alone, however. In fact, the idea of a shipping newspaper came from H. G. Farris, who saw in Manila a potential major shipping center. In 1902, Farris sold out to Taylor. (Taylor 1927) At ﬁrst, the paper was distributed free to anyone who would accept it. He sold advertising space but this was limited mostly to shipping companies. It was not until a year later that Taylor began charging money for copies of the Bulletin. The original oﬃce address is listed as 10 Carriedo, Manila. Later it moved to Evangelista street until World War II during which it was destroyed. Brieﬂy, it held oﬃce on Soler street on grounds lent by the rival Roces family. Later it occupied a quonset hut on the corner of Florentino Torres and Raon streets (just behind the Quiapo church and beside the TVT building) before moving to the Shurdut building in Intramuros in 1956. Those who remember Taylor speak of him fondly. He was regarded as a father ﬁgure. Dark and quiet but impressive because he was tall, but with a down-to-earth sense of humor. One retired librarian recalls drinking from the fountain when Taylor slapped her in the back and said, “You are suﬀering from pe�icoat hangout.” Another former librarian says that when he’d see her talking to or from work he’d pick her up in his car. Joining the paper as young women in the late ’40s, they recall playing hooky from the oﬃce and going for a stroll on Escolta. Popular destinations then were the Botica Boie and Oceanica. Once, the publisher’s car happened by as they emerged from one store, shopping bags in hand. Caught in the act, they expected a scolding. Instead, out peeped the head of the elderly Taylor,
He even took a look at the stuﬀ the girls had bought and complimented them on their choice. Bigornia says he was there when the Japanese closed the Bulletin.MANILA DAILY BULLETIN • 3 smiling. they made up the American press in Manila. and Roy Bennet (1918-42). who was a tough-nosed editor nobody liked to mess with. William Crozier (1905-13). G. The Times was sold on March 15. We used to stay there while the Japanese were bombing Manila. We were there about 10 o’clock in the morning. Its pre-war competitor was the Manila Times. brieﬂy. “He was like a grandfather. C. Talor took one of them to a moviehouse that had just opened on Rizal avenue. Editors were H. except Bennet. They closed . It was edited by Americans. Along with Israel Putnam's Cablenews-American and R. Russell Zeininger (1918). According to one account. Li�le is known about these men. 11. The Bulletin was an American newspaper. 1930 to Alejandro Roces. accompanied by the Kempetai. succeeded Zeininger when the la�er joined the United Press bureau in Chicago. Farris (1900). The Hudubu came in. It was owned by an American. a Japanese consular oﬃcial. Benne� was editor in 1942 when the Japanese invaded the Philippines. It was an old building and the ground ﬂoor was the press and the stacks of paper. McCullough Dick’s Philippines Free Press. Charles Bond (1904-05).” she said. 1898 by Thomas Gowan. the Tribune was the largest selling newspaper and it was used by the Japanese for propaganda purposes. Arthur MacArthur). George Rice (1900 until 1904 when he was deported by Gen. “Need a li� back to the oﬃce?” In the ride back to work. Taylor was no truant oﬃcer. who decided to stop publication in order to boost the Tribune’s circulation. owner of the TVT (Tribune-La Vanguardia-Taliba) chain. a series of mimeographed newspapers known collectively in history books as the STIC (Santo Tomas Internment Camp) Press. brandishing a pistol. Benne�. A�er the “Liberation. No more Bulletin. established on Oct. walked into the newsroom accompanied by soldiers and announced: “You don’t publish. He recalls: We were taking shelter in the bodega of the Bulletin which was located at the corner of Evangelista and Raon. In yet another instance.” the Roceses reopened the Manila Times. William Crozier (1913-18).” Benne� and other Americans on the staﬀ were interned at the University of Santo Tomas where they published. By World War II. a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism. just behind the Quiapo church.
who was his advertising director. Instead. They killed the Bulletin. At the time. Susie Aunario. Taylor must have been in his 80s. 1957 Taylor announced the sale of the Bulletin to Menzi 3. T�� G������ T���� O��� There were at least three other prospective buyers. He returned in 1946 to ﬁnd the oﬃces and presses destroyed during the bombings. messenger. There was no formal organization yet to speak of.” The Bulletin hired its ﬁrst registered nurse only a�er it was required by law. who worked in the library from 1949 to 1988. And then Judge . Susie Aunario quotes him as always saying. joined the Bulletin in 1947 hoping to write home-making columns. Hans Menzi was born to Swiss parents but opted for Filipino citizenship. nonexistent (and unnecessary) for more than half a century. We were out of jobs that day. remembers operating the telephone switchboard whenever it became necessary. Taylor told her to organize the library. Ramon Roces assisted Taylor in making the comeback of the “exponent of Philippine progress” a reality by lending the family’s facilities on Soler street. the Bulletin remained American for another 11 years. But Judge [Gonzalez] was the one who mediated for Menzi and then got it. Although the Philippines became independent in 1946. He said it was his old age. but Taylor thought that Hans Menzi would make a good successor. I heard Herald wanted to buy it [the Bulletin]. (Actually. was instrumental in delivering the Bulletin to Menzi. when it was sold to a Filipino industrialist. He was afraid of losing his paper to organized labor. clerk. On July 13. but it is suspected that the establishment of a labor union. She was also sent for ﬁrst-aid training and thus became the staﬀ “nurse. and Ford Wilkins. But she was not just a librarian. was his cue to retirement. She was everything she could be: typist. Tessie Mariano.) Nobody can tell his age at that time. but when he put the newspaper up for sale. who was librarian for 32 years.” & Co. According to Aunario. He reorganized the paper with the help of Hal Linn. editor. who had moved to the Herald. She had just graduated with a degree in home economics. “I don’t know whether my paper will still be here or not.4 • MARIANO the Bulletin. Taylor was on home leave. Felix Gonzalez.
Ben Pangilinan. the Manila Times. The rhythm of typewriter keys ﬁlled the air. The editorial staﬀ then consisted of a virtual Who’s Who in Philippine journalism: Hernando Abaya. But everything was not as neat.A. If one goes to the Bulletin’s air-conditioned news room today. Oscar Villadolid.MANILA DAILY BULLETIN • 5 returned to the Bulletin with Menzi. that position was the equivalent to that of the President. The next year he was made . He set up branches in Cebu. Amelita Reysio-Cruz. Pol Batalla. former Bulletin vice president for circulation and now president of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. was “so big” — not to mention it had collection problems. It was also on a slump. which was also ﬁlled with cigare�e smoke. He hired Mariano Quimson Jr. because Judge moved to Herald when we were in Florentino Torres. Dagupan. he would see rows and rows of tables and atop each one a video display terminal. from Northwestern.P. referring to the number of copies printed and distributed. in 1959. The Bulletin was occupying the ground and second ﬂoors of the brand-new Shurdut building. Menzi made him Secretary-Treasurer. Ding Poblador. Iloilo.B. when editors and reporters sat in the same room. who had some years in his family’s pharmaceutical and construction companies..A. Jose de Vera. a C. When Menzi took over. Bacolod. Also hired. The Bulletin had a circulation of 20. San Fernando (Pampanga) and Baguio. who held an M. Amando Doronila. which today houses the Department of Labor and Employment.000. Jimmy Lacsamana. Le�y Magsanoc. Sebastian Catarroja (the ﬁrst Panorama editor). Francisco Tatad. One of the ﬁrst things Menzi had to do was to put things in order. Bernie Ronquillo. In fact. Quimson was a salesman of NCR business machines and had just made a sale to the Bulletin. Arthur Sales. he wasn’t sure he liked what he saw. because the competition. Davao. His job: to boost provincial circulation. Ralph Hawkins. Joe and Rudy Romero. both with dealers and advertisers. Antonio Zumel. It wasn’t like that in the Fi�ies. Felix Gonzalez. was in his early early 30s in 1959 when he joined the newspaper. was Pangilinan. Aurelio Calderon. Pat Gonzales. Amante and Jess Bigornia. Half of these were returned. The editors all sat at one big desk. General Manager or Chief Executive Oﬃcer. Ricardo “Bing” Torres. The editors’ oﬃces are glass-walled. Prudencio Europa.
Vic Abanilla. Baguio. He also contracted bus companies to transport copies to provincial routes that included San Fernando (La Union and Pampanga). monitoring the frequency of ad insertions in newspapers. ad-takers were sent out to solicit business. That would be unbelievable now as the Bulletin in 1992 made P870. His ﬁrst task was as a statistician.6 • MARIANO overall circulation manager. The Times agent did not have to work for his ads. particularly the Manila Times. “You could tell the Times man just by the way he looked: fancy clothes. 4. In the early Sixties. Abanilla says. He also organized contests for agents and newsboys as incentives. The newsboys were paid half the minimum wage. But we had to resort to hard-core selling. The competition. Legazpi. More important. he remembers. The rewards were small. was formidable. though.000 before martial law. The next year. and noting their corresponding sizes. since the Bulletin could not command higher rates.434 in advertising. “All he had to do was present themselves and they made the sale. It was not that diﬃcult ge�ing ads. All he had to do was convince potential clients that it also welcomed general advertising. But agents like Abanilla were given 15 percent of the ads they brought in. D���-��-D��� A���������� A modest circulation also means modest advertising. even if it meant only 50 centavos a day. newsstands and newsboys had to carry it.” They looked for potential advertisers daily using the classiﬁed-ads pages of the Manila Times and the . Bataan. Advertisers thought the Bulletin took only shipping ads.964. agents. Based on these ﬁgures. I was dressed in a T-shirt and denims. But it was not until later that it took over as the circulation leader. The object was not only to get the Bulletin printed on time and delivered ahead of the others.” Circulation ﬁgures rose to a respectable 80. jewelry. recalls the lean years. in addition to direct subscribers. who was with the advertising department from 1966 until 1991.” he recalls. Abanilla became a classiﬁed-ads solicitor. The Bulletin later tried delivering with its own trucks but found it “problematic. nice car. Cabanatuan. he engaged about 800 newsboys and 100 solicitors in the city to perk up street sales. The main problem was that of perception. He also marked those ads which did not appear in the Bulletin but appeared in other newspapers.
T�� ‘J����’ If there was a most unforge�able character from that period in the history of the Bulletin. “So you are cum laude? It does not mean anything to me. and he looked at Teddy and said. Maybe it was because he was a drop-out. he would call you. In fact. Most reporters belonged to the former but a few employees spoke glowingly of him. and grammar book in one. “Come here. he never even ﬁnished college at San Sebastian. Judge was Felix Gonzales Gonzalez and reporters had be�er spell his name right.” says Ben Rodriguez. See that?” He’d say. he was said to have a be�er understanding of everything than anybody. he looked at the note hastily.”He made sarcastic remarks like that. “Get the dictionary. He was neither a judge nor a lawyer. . now editor in chief. But he was “always right. but Judge was reputed never to have liked college graduates. Olivera. whom he regarded with “jaundiced eyes. dictionary. He did not make bones about his feelings for graduates. who later became news editor.” You looked in the dictionary. Says Rodriguez: Everytime there is a mistake. like most tyrants. In fact. a professor then at the UST — both I and Teddy Owen.” You either feared (or hated) the man or loved him. He was said to have had a be�er understanding of the law and the judiciary than a lawyer.” So you got the dictionary. he was always right. Of course. Judge picked up his nickname while covering the courts. Rodriguez was a young reporter when Gonzalez edited the paper. then they’d start calling them to persuade them to advertize in the Bulletin. he believed rightly that not all college graduates make good newspapermen. He had a fantastic memory but a “cantankerous temper. He remembers when he and Teddy Owen.MANILA DAILY BULLETIN • 7 Yellow Pages. 5.” recalls Jess Bigornia. came to the Bulletin a�er graduation from UST: We brought a le�er of recommendation of Mr. So when we gave it to him.” According to Rodriguez. it was “Judge. “That’s not the way it’s spelled. He was a walking encyclopedia.
Especially if it came from politicians. whom he’d engage in . How can you be be�er unless you read and read and read and try to improve?” Bigornia says Gonzalez was very strict. Judge himself panicked and called for the nurse. For sure. That’s why you learned. always to be be�er than the other fellow. a�er going through a one-over — you know. He taught you how to excel. he was making sure they maintained their professional integrity. “Where did you go to school. “It’s perfect!” I couldn’t see anything and it was only one comma missing. “He embarrassed you. from people they were covering. Bigornia just keeled over and fainted in front of him. goddammit!” He would curse like hell. He would not hesitate to ﬁre a reporter whom he found out to be accepting money and challenege the union head-on. “He called him [Bigornia] once then started to lecture to him. but acknowledges his fairness. the hard way. you rewrote them and pasted them about a yard long. But be careful that you didn’t absent a single day!” If he was not shouting at his reporters over bad punctuation and dangling modiﬁers. He would go there asking silly questions to these oﬃcials and probably somebody would blurt out that he gave you some pocket money. They were on a ﬁrst-name basis. reporters learned from Judge. in cash or in kind.” says Rodriguez. Now all of these people were high government oﬃcials. Says Bigornia: He went around and he knew most of the people. I learned a lot from the guy out of fear and I’m glad I had him as editor because I was forced to learn. He crumpled it and threw it in the waste basket. “If he thought you contributed something then he commended you for promotion. You’re out! If he suspected somebody of taking money from a congressman he would go to Congress and look for the congressman. He went about one page.8 • MARIANO Bigornia adds: There was a time when I would submit my stories to him and he said. It did not ma�er if reporters were never paid too far above the minimum wage. You’re dead! We had a very strong union but the union was helpless when he was sure this fellow was a crook. He never liked any of them receiving gi�s. Then you went over again your store and rewrote.
“If you do. one janitor was sporting an expensive barong tagalog.” as if it was a ma�er of pride to the congressman. courtesy of the President of the Republic. He returned to the Bulletin only when Menzi came in. who was secretary-treasurer at that time. he was an equally tough man at home. who wanted to place a press release which Judge refused. Mr.MANILA DAILY BULLETIN • 9 small talk. even at Christmas.” the lawmaker would protest. In reality. He had a ﬁght with this guy and then he quit the Bulletin. In the ’50s. “That’s not true. Gonzalez would be the one to return them to you. Then a messenger came back. He would always remind his children that they should never take advantage — at school or at work — of the fact that he was a newspaper editor. But the Bulletin was always his love. he raﬄed them oﬀ — for janitors only. The cleaning men would go home with legs of ham and bo�les of ﬁne whiskies and brandies. a Malacañang oﬃcial sent him a gi� check. His principles also cost him his job. with the cash equivalent. One Christmas. “In fact I had just given him money. “According to my reporter you’re the stingiest congressman. Lina is a lawyer and Felix Jr. If Judge was a spartan in the newsroom. If he could not return Christmas gi�s. If he barked and growled at reporters.” Bigornia would tell people in his beat not to send gi�s to the oﬃce. He did not like the internal politics also. he was a . he had a tiﬀ with a Mr. Abundo. The poor boy got bawled out. He was never happy with the Herald. Judge had a so� heart and the women employees suspected his ferocity was a disguise. he resigned and worked with the Philippines Herald. where Clarita practiced medicine (until her death recently).”) is a bank executive. Bigornia narrates: Abundo just wanted the activities of the masonic temple on the front page. He promptly returned it with the warning that he did not accept checks. (“Jun G. He used to come around to the Bulletin just to play ping-pong with us. The entire family has since emigrated to the United States. A�er the holidays. Each one of them had to work hard for his own success. He did not like the sensationalism.” For Judge did return gi�s. Then he would spring the bait. Instead of yielding to the man.
the victim of his frequent newsroom tantrums. apparently to appease Marcos who .10 • MARIANO doting lolo to his grandchildren and a chevalier with the ladies. helped him get a job. and others who needed cash for tuition. Today reporters organize press associations and share notes. When her brother (a lawyer who never worked with the Bulletin) emigrated to America. There were the likes of Francisco Tatad. Even if I had to steal your notes. forcibly retired by Menzi. They swear they never actually heard him cursing in front of them. veteran newsmen Rodriguez and Bigornia admit they learned most of what they know about the profession from Gonzalez. anything. I would. Susie Aunario (who is the daughter-in-law of La Vanguardia columnist Pedro Aunario) and Tessie Mariano only heard tales about the Judge. T�� O���� G������� Pat Gonzales became editor in chief in 1981. the closeness is an extension of the friendship he shared with the elder Getulio Abanilla. A newspaperman’s newspaperman. buy a second-hand car and ﬁnd a nearby apartment. We were that competitive. groceries. if I had to scoop you. a long-time colleague and buddy at the Bulletin. In fact he was godfather of Aunario’s son and the friendship continued up to his death. Judge oﬀered his home. but by golly. Judge simply looked the other way. medicines.” The kind of reporting Judge and the other editors demanded of their news gatherers was much. When he retired in 1970 and went to the United States. he gave former librarian Teresita Mariano a special power of a�orney to a�end to his affairs. Of course. when Rodriguez was. trying to ﬁnd money to pay the taxi driver. much diﬀerent from what is practiced today.000 (this was the ’60s) from which reporters could borrow. apparently. Looking back. It was his gi� to his boys. Bigornia thinks that he was Judge’s favorite — “of all the reporters that came under him. He gave Mariano a secret fund of P2.” 6. Finally Mariano had to tell Gonzalez that the fund was almost dry because most of the reporters did not pay back what they borrowed. he himself was always broke and he was aware that because of their low pay the temptation to accept bribe money was strong. with her. He also le� most of his books. says Bigornia “You could be my best friend. who would arrive in the newsroom huﬀing and puﬃng. One thing the reporters never knew was that Judge was indeed concerned about their ﬁnancial state. precious possessions of every writer.
But the urge to be a Bulletin man would not go away.” said the General. odd-colored pants for his high-school graduation. A�er the EDSA event of 1986. Told that the “new guy” was Patricio Gonzales. Gonzales had wanted to work with the Bulletin. he kept mumbling to himself. He studied journalism at UST on a scholarship courtesy of a patron who wished to remain anonymous.” Then Gonzales walked in. One day. But all his life. “I’ve heard that name somewhere. We can’t aﬀord to pay him what he’s ge�ing there. Go ﬁnd another job. Mariano (a�er consulting Pat Gonzales): He said he’s crazy enough to take the job. Pat was said to have borrowed a pair of ill-ﬁ�ing. A�er ge�ing his degree. He landed a job as a reporter for an obscure daily and later became a proofreader for a publishing house. Judge spoke through Tessie Mariano the librarian and the negotiation went like this: Judge: Ask him if he’s crazy. The son of a laundrywoman from Pasay. Gonzales became publisher of The Philippine Tribune which he co-founded with his best friend and erstwhile Philippines Daily Express editor Neal Cruz (now with the Philippine Daily Inquirer). “This is too much. Gonzalez made Gonzales a reporter for the sports page. working under Lito Fernandez. Menzi came to see Judge.” said the General. And so. who is sports editor to this day. He almost never did. who was no less outspoken than Judge. He’s better oﬀ in his job. but this time he went to Judge Gonzalez. He has a wife and a kid.MANILA DAILY BULLETIN • 11 was ge�ing irked by reports that challenged the government’s position. “I already sent you to school and now you still want my money. He was class valedictorian. “So where’s the new guy? Let’s see him. he applied with the Bulletin and was rejected outright by Menzi. .” It was only then that Gonzales learned that he was a Menzi scholar in college. a�er relaying the message to Gonzales): He said he’s willing to be anything. He applied again. Mariano (again. Judge: Ask him if he’s willing to start as a cub reporter. But that was not the end of it.
Rodriguez was the newsman’s newsman. Ben Pangilinan had already succeeded in improving the ﬁgures: from an embarrassing 25. He was the perfect choice to succeed Judge. He covered City Hall. he’s good enough for me. But Batalla was slow and so much of an introvert. he had severed ties with his dear. except sports. Judge did not share the opinion. Advertising was also catching up under Roque Laudico. Pat Gonzales kept his job. According to former librarians Aunario and Mariano. He had put back on the usual grouchy face and tone that once caused Bigornia to faint. who was classiﬁed-ads manager. Menzi relented.” replied Gonzales. “I trust your judgment.000 and stable in the early ’70s. while Rodriguez was a go-getter and had be�er “PR. Judge Gonzalez had just retired. During his term as editor in chief. old Bulletin. moved to more important assignments. like a dedicated defense a�orney (which was totally out of character for a man like Judge). who was advertising director. the House of Representatives.” End of episode? Not quite. He reported on celebrities arriving on the waterfront (once he spo�ed Prince Sihanouk traveling incognito and scooped all other papers). a ﬂustered Gonzalez cornered Gonzales. delivered a glowing recommendation for the new kid. “Had I told you about that. Malacañang. Neither one of them liked the idea of spli�ing . “Didn’t I tell you I didn’t want you working for me?” Gonzalez spoke for Pat and. Senate. A�er the meeting. sat at the desk as city editor and was a two-term National Press Club president. telling his editor. 7. and the late Dita Roseberg.000 in 1959 to a decent 80. “Why didn’t you tell me you two knew each other and that he didn’t want you working for him?” he demanded. you might not have hired me. and gone to the United States. the cub reporter he once hounded. over a span of 20 years. he put out the Bulletin Today Stylebook. He was succeeded by Ben Rodriguez. If he’s good enough for you. It was only regre�able that when he died of a heart a�ack. the ﬁrst and only such manual for that paper. He had covered almost every possible beat in the ﬁeld. M������ L��: T�� T������ P���� About 10 years a�er he began working to increase the Bulletin’s circulation. He thought Batalla was the be�er editorial writer.” He decided to make Rodriguez editor-in-chief and Batalla the editorial writer.12 • MARIANO “You!?” Menzi exclaimed in disbelief.
would pile up during the martiallaw regime. Marcos labeled her “Animalita. 1 authorized the Departments of National Defense and Public Information to take over and control media. who had become Marcos’ information secretary.” said Susie Aunario. And Amelita Reysio-Cruz. Marcos invited Menzi to a party and told the General that perhaps it was time for the Bulletin to reopen. on condition that it changed its name. There is still on ﬁle the very page on which Marcos signed the la�er. but because of her friendship with the General she was retained as his biographer. on national television the provisions of Proclamation No. however. the Bulletin did not suﬀer as many arrests.MANILA DAILY BULLETIN • 13 the editor’s chores. The Bulletin’s casualty list. whom she called “Imeldita” in her columns. There was uncertainty for the men and women of the Bulletin. In turn. “He was inviting us all to go with him to the States. although at that time they were no longer Bulletin employees. That meant the closure of. Unlike other newspapers. 1081. An implied term was that it should support the New Society. the General Orders. in the case of Tempo correspondent Tim Olivarez. was reading. Amelita was a society columnist who did not hide her contempt for the First Lady. Le�ers of Instruction. A couple of months a�er martial law was proclaimed.” Then it happened. in which one reporter a�er another would be harassed. the Bulletin. DPI Orders 1 and 2 instituted censorship and the need for permission to publish. with a somber face.” But that is jumping the gun. Mrs. even “salvaged. The publisher presented several studies of the new logo to Marcos: one was the Philippine Daily Bulletin and the other was the Bulletin Today. and Presidential Decrees. Le�er of Instruction No. among others.” She was held at Camp Crame but was later released due to an illness.” The Bulletin never hid this fact. owned by a long-time Marcos associate. It is interesting to look into how the newspaper was allowed to operate again. Amont those who were detained were Doronila and Abaya. which he also marked “��. Former Bulletin reporter Francisco Tatad. ﬁred or. Rather it was proud of . “He [Judge Gonzalez] foresaw the declaration of martial law. Menzi was given strict instructions not to reinstate her in the Bulletin. Menzi complied with both. but Menzi continued paying their salaries.
The others would mean the Evening Post. military control of the media eased and more civilians were placed in media bodies named. Cesar Zalamea and Jose Campos — were allo�ed 17 percent each although it was likely. His co-members were Business Day publisher Raul Locsin. that they never actually put any money in. “Umiyak pa nga si Quimson dahil parang hindi na majority. whose brother Amante was a Malacañang oﬃcial at that time. They really bring it [the checks] to Malacañang. The checks. where did this come from? The other papers don’t give me anything. and the Times Journal. especially during that time that it considered the Marcos imprimatur as its authority to publish. tells of how Marcos would show oﬀ the Bulletin checks to his associates. In 1974 Menzi was made chairman of the Print Media Council of the Philippines and one of his functions was to grant licenses to all publications around the country. would eventually be deposited at Security Bigornia. According to Lourdes Mendoza. Three cronies — Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco. ‘Ah.” she said. the Daily Express. published by the wife of his executive assistant Juan Tuvera. if accounts by long-time employees are to be believed. . owned by his brother-in-law Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez. Or. Evening Post publisher Kerima Polotan-Tuvera. Parang common knowledge dun sa ones involved. dahil the three big stockholders were those three. It is said that it was during the three-month hiatus that Marcos ironed out his entry into the Bulletin. And those three never a�ended the meetings. those [Cojuangco. former treasurer. in succession. she said.14 • MARIANO it. Bank. Meanwhile. by Marcos himself. owned by former classmate Roberto Benedicto. She adds: When we declare cash dividends. These were the papers that would later be known as the “crony” press for they were all owned by Marcos associates. Marcos became majority stockholder when the newspaper resumed operation. as the Media Media Council (1972) and the Media Advisory Council (1973). “Greg Cendaña would tell him that everytime when the check comes around. Juan Perez and Rosario Olivarez. she said.’” he quotes the former president. Zalamea and Campos] are the names wri�en on the checks but which were given to President Marcos.
Vic Abanilla remembers that during the time the Bulletin was in the freezer called uncertainty.MANILA DAILY BULLETIN • 15 Of course. corporate appointments.. The Bulletin hired Crispulo Icban Jr. or the Inquirer for that ma�er. which was not in circulation for the ﬁrst three months of martial law. the Bulletin was able to derive more income per column centimeter per page without actually having to print additional pages. the Bulletin was only able to declare cash dividends because by that time.000 and he doubts if the Bulletin. the Benedicto paper carried more advertising than the Times ever did during its best years. this practice resulted in a negative side eﬀect. new CPAs. it had become the country’s most proﬁtable newspaper. Hence. was now reckoned in column centimeters. they reasoned out. new doctors. This record. trying to look very much like the New York Times. Rotary (or Jaycee. If one’s press release came out in the Bulletin even once. new lawyers. high-school and college graduates. Quimson ordered that the inside pages. much to Menzi’s constertation. the Bulletin. elementary. that person would forever be loyal to the paper. has not yet been surpassed today even by the Bulletin. which used to be measured in column-inches. It was the Daily Express. Depth. An unscrupulous few would take advantage of the unsuspecting public and resorted to prostituting editorial space. should now have nine. As a footnote. could top that distinction. which used to have only eight columns. advertising agencies began placing orders with the Bul- . One tactic they used was accommodating press releases. So what did the Bulletin do right? Abanilla says that in the ﬁrst few days of their return. One of Icban’s suggestions to make the paper more visually a�ractive was to adopt the full-bodied Bodoni type that is still in use today. Ben Pangilinan also says that the Express posted a a record daily circulation of 650. for a fee. Lion. The editors also wanted to make the Bulletin the people’s newspaper. as a “consultant” but he did the work of a desk man. he says. Toastmaster) meetings. still employed the Cheltenham face for its headlines. What was its turning point? The only answer: Manila Times was out of the way. It began running anuncios on kindergarten. then a desk man at the Times. At this time. The Manila Times did not actually hand down the advertising and circulation title to the Bulletin. More proﬁt at no added cost. To generate more advertising revenue.
fair and accurate reporting o�en meant incurring the ire of politicians. And that started the whole thing. These were held on weekends — Saturday a�ernoons and the entire Sundays — at the newly opened El Grande Resort in BF Homes. 1 all the time and at all costs. “So when the Bulletin was reopened. According to Mariano. they never did leave us. English conversation. he immediately ordered the advertising to undergo mandatory personality development seminars. I intend to remain No. either by then Information Minister Gregorio Cendaña or Da Apo himself. T�� C��� �� B���� N�. to be customer-oriented. for their commissions as well as omissions. good grooming. who started her career with the Bulletin. with Menzi himself checking a�endance. 1. While the Bulletin was commi�ed to the canons of journalism it did not take long for it to realize that responsible. there were reporters and columnists who dared test Marcos’ patience. In a very short time. for some story which his newspaper had printed and Marcos deemed undersirable. True. “Most of our advertisers that had business with the Express said that people there are quite arrogant and made them suﬀer just to publish one or two [classﬁed] ads. Menzi would frequently be called to Malacañang.” And when advertising pours in. And a�er trying us. Consultants like Pryce Waterhouse conducted seminars on time management. Those who did not agree with the order were told they were free to resign. whoever was around. it overtook the Express as the leader.” 8. being No.” he said.16 • MARIANO letin. It got its reward ﬁrst before it had to do the hard work. Or should it be the other way around? Not for the Bulletin. so does circulation. In short. was ﬁred for repeatedly oﬀending the Marcoses. Curious. 1. They said they were taking their business away from the competition. interpersonal skills. The . Menzi would then ventilate at either Rodriguez or Gonzales. He had proclaimed: “Now that I am No. And very few survived. they again tried us and found out that we were more accommodating than the former. businessmen and military oﬃcials close to Marcos. Menzi wanted the advertising staﬀ to be polished. Parañaque. he asked why. 1 Note that Marcos was a strongman who ruled the country through presidential decrees (legal) and military action (o�en extra-legal). Le�y Jimenez-Magsanoc. He was also very sensitive to the press. When Menzi learned of the Express’s faux pas.
halimbawa. No crowd photo but it struck the hearts of many people. “We thought that it was part of circumstances we had to work under. It came out.’” . And Malacañang reacted... Icban explains: “We didn’t print Malacañang press releases verbatim. All copies of that issue were recalled and Magsanoc was out of a job. But the editors were careful not to do any bootlicking. That was what I mean.’ The others would run it word for word. all of them would be out of work. For example. ang ganda-ganda. Menzi’s concern was valid.’ And people noticed that..MANILA DAILY BULLETIN • 17 last straw for her was running a popularity poll in the Panorama that had Benigno Aquino Jr. so while they were lowering the casket down from the truck. So you will not ﬁnd in the Bulletin at that time a story. It looked to me like the Pieta.. So what we do.. mga kamay. ‘Don’t run photos that arouse sympathy. we look for . but soon regre�ed his decision for they were “more audacious than the others. ‘In his desire to upli� the conditions of the Filipino people. Yet. Since we cannot ﬁght it. He didn’t want to lose that becaue of some hotshot columnist. ahead of Marcos. one news release would say. Domini Suarez-Torrevillas. President Marcos inaugurated yesterday. I remember I found a beautiful picture of Doña Aurora [Aquino] cradling the body of Ninoy.’ merong ganoon. a photo of a big crowd. So if they tell you. Menzi had thought it was a good idea to bring them in. “Tapos nung ﬁnal burial na. Pero few people lang. I remember aat that time na. Menzi’s logic was simple: if Marcos got real mad. But you make adjustments so you still are able to do your jobs within the limits of the circumstance of the situation. we cannot go underground. The Bulletin was so liquid that it was able to pay for the construction of its present building in cash and without incurring any debts. ‘President inaugurated yesterday.. Journalists had to sacriﬁce their ideals. we were looking for beautiful photos since we could not run crowd photos.” They made life too diﬃcult for him for their columns constantly irritated the Marcoses. You work within the guidelines.. Arlene Babst. it was the “conservative” Bulletin. It was a very beautiful photo. We would reduce the sentence to. It was within the rules. within the limitations. You live with it. Siguro 30 people. ‘Don’t run a crowd picture of the Ninoy Aquino burial. naka-ganyan lahat. The next instruction was. Ang dami-dami. Then there were the Golden Girls: Niñez Cacho-Olivarez.
A correspondent. You see. snapped the picture. 1983. to ﬁre me. it was wri�en by one of our correspondents.” sabi ni Gen. Two days later. in the morning. that is something very strange. I was the one who selected these photos as the news editor. who was then Chief of Staﬀ. Sabi niya. “Not my kind of work. [Gen. that’s not true. “You know. ﬁled a report that claimed communist terrorists had inﬁltrated Abra province.” When they saw it. Kinrap kong ganyan. that story there on page 1. was the editor in chief himself. I’ll take care of that. It was Rizal Day. Menzi sa Bulletin. (Rodriguez edited trade magazines. Mr. We looked at the negative. the next day. there wre many photos in front of me. There is a face on the ﬂag! And that is when I looked at it.) . And I selected one. It’s real. Rodriguez packed up his things and. though Marcos remained in absolute power. It came out the next day. people began to call up. Still. The biggest casualty. four months a�er his death. or anybody else for that ma�er. Luis Garcia. He was recalled to the Bulletin a�er Menzi’s death in 1984. it turned out. sent people to look at the negative also. meron nga. then chief photographer. Menzi. “No. Oo nga. “Gen. When Gonzales retired to publish the Tribune. it’s there. Recounts Rodriguez: The hay which broke the camel’s back was the story on page 1 saying that terrorists had already inﬁltrated Abra. It’s just a play of shadows. President. Are you willing to ﬁght me?” That is what Marcos told him. baka minajik ng mga photographers..” Rank has its privilege. Rodriguez placed it on Page 1. Rodriguez returned to his old post. went to Marcos and said. and Marcos was raising the ﬂag at Rizal Park. Icban says he can only imagine what could’ve happened to them had Garcia.18 • MARIANO He recalls the time Ninoy appeared. That very day. Gen. Ramos said that is not true. Menzi told him he was being retired.” he says of his forced employment. Oo nga ’no? So we looked at the original.” Uminit ang ulo ni Marcos at that time so he called up. I think. one hour ’yon sa oﬃce. Gen. Sid Chammag. Isidoro Chammag. And it happened months a�er martial law had been li�ed. Menzi. Hindi naman.. Malacañang. on Page 1. Pat Gonzales was listed in the staﬀ box as editor in chief. There are no terrorists. “It’s not true. actually retouched the negative. Fidel] Ramos. So. I ran it. “Well. nobody noticed it.
” .” According to another. There were a couple of strikes worth remembering. Reporters mingled with the drivers. and even executives like Mariano Quimson regularly played basketball with ink-smeared pressmen.MANILA DAILY BULLETIN • 19 One retired employee says that Rodriguez resented the fact that Menzi did not defend him before Marcos and wondered why he had to be ﬁred so hastily. was o�en the object of their ire. Rules were meant for people. Maraming tao ang dumadaan nakikita yung mga placards saying bad things about Mr. And then nuong hindi na nakatiis yung isang tao he asked the question. But that only further infuriated the General. “Always within 24 hours. Gonzales had to take the heat. in compliance with their style rules) Union was founded in 1956 and had always been led by idealistic reporters. in fact. the late Mr. The Bulletin Employes (spelled with one e. Even if there was a strike. They constantly fought for the worker’s rights with management. Abanilla remembers one strike: “Now all the strikers had a placard pero most of the placards you will see na they’re only a�er the neck of one guy. The informants for this paper were one in their reply: the camaraderie. Because Marcos might change his mind. Hindi violente. regardless of position. M. Everyone knew everybody else. Quimson. whose starting pay in 1939 was a mere 75 pesos a month. By the time Rodriguez came in. who was not yet around. nanduoon pa yung taong kinaiinisan nila. saying all bad things against him. not the other way around.” said Vic Abanilla. ‘Sino ba yang Quimson na ’yan? Mabagsik pala ’yan. said another. ano?’ Then one guy answered. Quimson Jr. walang violence. 9. L����-M��������� R�������� Overworked and underpaid.. ever stayed for so long. They were one happy family.’ That guy was seated right in the middle of the strikers and they were holding hands. Quimson. kumakain duon sa strike line. it is a wonder why people like Bigornia. Menzi had ﬁrmed up his decision to let go of his top man. But that did not mean all went perfectly well. among them Tony Zumel and Antonio Nieva. ‘Ako ho ’yon. Menzi’s top executive. and so�en his stand “Menzi was looking for a way to get rid of Rodriguez and that was his chance. but former employees note the swi�ness with which they were resolved. Quimson B. Menzi went to the Bulletin that morning looking for Rodriguez.
company-sponsored inter-department basketball tournament. Workers blocked access to the building. Yet Quimson. In fact. The Big Boss.” . Also that evening. “Never turn away anyone just because he is poor. Then management. When Quimson heard about this. he blew his top. Sweaty. “But we were told that the money would be used for the construction of the new building. decided to do away with commissions. as is normal for executives to be insecure when they come in during transitions. whose father Getulio was a long-time associate of Judge. normally hated for his strictness. upon the recommendation of Roque Laudico.” said Abanilla. they began rolling the presses.” he berated the concessionaire. although later than the usual. Quimson was resolving areas of dispute with the union leaders. Later that evening. the advertising director. never lost touch with the common employee. who was by then assistant display-ads manager. Strikers released balloons. “In the early ’70s I could forget about my P1.20 • MARIANO For a while he was leery of people he suspected to be loyal to Felix Gonzalez. Abanilla remembers how a�er one such pick-up game. which was always the government-prescribed minimum. on him. Mariano did not come to cordial terms with Quimson until a�er he had retired. they were refused admission by James Roberson. So Menzi ordered those who wanted to work to be ﬂown in aboard helicopters.” said Abanilla.000 a month in commissions. He regularly organized pick-up basketball games on the Bulletin parking lot with drivers and press operators. whose ﬁnancial and business genius helped propel the newspaper to its present position. the concessionaire. Abanilla. There continued to be points of irritation to the employees. Quimson told his playmates to have refreshments in the company cafeteria. and his sister Tessie Mariano did not win his favor easily. smelly and the lowest-ranking in the company. Advertising solicitors consoled themselves with the fact that they received 15-percent commission on ads. forever earned their respect. He was also captain of the administration team (“Oﬃce”) that played in the annual. The strike was over. In only one strike during Menzi’s time did things get close to being violent. “We were demoralized.500 salary because I made P5. particularly wages. executives worked the typese�ing machines while the editors prepared the paste-up. but later stopped when they they were jeopardizing the lives of their co-workers and friends. Inside the compound.
When he was retired. Management then awarded everybody the fourth month. considering that when she took over in 1947. ‘Hala! Get ready for a scolding. visas and plane tickets for newsmen who were to cover an international event.” It took the union more than a year to ﬁnd out about this so-called anomaly. We got another month. T�� ‘C�����������’ Susie Aunario was understating when she said librarians were asked to do things other than library work. although the basic salary remains below par. the Bulletin claims to pay employees a 20-month year. broke. Rodriguez.” recalls Mariano. Sure. “But we were always behind in our work. This included ge�ing passports.MANILA DAILY BULLETIN • 21 To make up for the loss.) They would meet with college deans and professors so that a publisher’s activist son would not be expelled for staging a “subversive” rally on campus. worried. there was hardly any ﬁling system to speak of.” she complains. depositing and withdrawing for Ben Rodriguez ever since he became editor. somebody else had to do these transactions for him.) 10. “Ay! We thought all the while you [adressing Mariano] were Mrs. and people would tell us.’ Of course we knew it was for the bonus. “And they would be disappointed . paste them on copy paper and ﬁle them in folders according to subject. (Some of them never came back and put up their own Filipino-American newspapers. library work was tough. In addition. frustrated. created a card-ﬁle system that merely recorded the title of the story and the date of publication. Aunario introduced subject classiﬁcation. who was librarian before her. or with university admissions oﬃcers when an editor’s kid had trouble ge�ing in. And that was because. or hungry newsmen. management made under-the-table bonuses to supervisors up. a mid-year bonus and a Christmas bonus. they would clip the stories. “Everybody received 13th month. people got used to treating the librarians as all-purpose people.” said Abanilla. “People would always come in looking for something to eat. So Mariano introduced the editor’s wife to the bank oﬃcials. the library was more than just a morgue for old stories and photos. And even doing bank transactions for their editors. (Today.” The library was also some sort of a half-way house for tired. since she ﬁrst came in. one by one. “We would be called upstairs. To them. Tessie Mariano had been cashing checks. Dita Roseberg.
who had been vice chairman of the board since 1961 took over. if only delayed. He will also be remembered for his dedication to newspaper publishing. 1984. 27 years and two months a�er he bought the Bulletin from Carson Taylor. he would ﬂy his own plane with as many copies as it could take so that delivery would not be interrupted. an avid polo player. Apolonio Batalla. Until age took the be�er of him and the body was no longer . It was also a popular venue for small birthday parties. or a�er a long telephone conversation with an angry Minister Cendaña or some other Marcos oﬃcial. 27. He would be back on his favorite horse as soon as the broken bone healed. So we had to make sure there was always a sandwich or a cookie somewhere. Ben Rodriguez and Pat Gonzales were among the regulars. in the Bulletin as well as in the private lives of people who worked there. T�� E�� �� �� E�� Menzi died on Sept.” Quite naturally. Emilio Yap. big or small. When Philippine Airlines pilots went on strike. This made them privy to many of the goings-on. He was forever the sportsman. From a happy-go-lucky organization. It was between their oﬃces and the elevator. eﬃcient operation. the Manila Times. They would go there if they needed money to pay the cab driver or for their children’s tuition. They would go there if they needed advice. to a solid second to none. And they remember. They listened. Actually. They would go there and talk with the librarians before meeting with Menzi. whenever someone sent over a cake it went to the library and everybody in the newsroom was called in. No fall was too bad for him. 11. it became a well-oiled. Maybe it was because the library was the nearest place where editors and reporters could go. “We were like a confessional. Menzi will be remembered for transforming the paper from a poor second to its nemesis.22 • MARIANO if there was none. They would go there on the pretext of looking up some back issue but would end up unloading their anxieties.” says Aunario. they were the psychiatrists the pressure-laden newsmen never had.
11. History of the Philippine Press. from Gonzalez to Rodriguez. C��������� The Bulletin in the years 1957 to 1984 saw a transformation from a forge�able newspaper to the newspaper with which to reckon. The History of Journalism in the Philippine Islands. Taylor. It also survived Marcos’ martial rule.MANILA DAILY BULLETIN • 23 willing to take the physical punishment he imposed upon himself. Menzi’s being a Marcos “crony” did not assure him of the top spot as the other crony papers were owned by people with closer ties to Malacañang. 1927. It survived a brutal Japanese occupation before that. now approaching its centennial year. It saw a change of owners. Upon his death. and then to Gonzales. 1992 Annual Report. This newspaper. A��������� ������� Bulletin Publishing Corp. a major chapter in Philippine newspaper publishing came to a close. 1933. Valenzuela. Jesus. is now known as the Manila Bulletin. from Taylor to Menzi. Carson. It survived the rigors of collective baragaining. Of editors. .
24 • MARIANO .
Mariano Department of Communication January 1995 .MANILA DAILY BULLETIN • 25 An oral history of the Manila Daily Bulletin 1957 to 1984 By Gerardo A.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.