Arts & Entertainment

15 TV News Reporters with Controversial Network Transfers

Even TV reporters are not spared from network-transfer controversies.
IMAGE ABS-CBN, GMA
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TV news anchors and reporters are as much prone to network transfers as showbiz celebrities.

Their reasons for making the move also run in the same vein: on the one hand, career growth and better offer elsewhere; on the other, dissatisfaction with management and conflicts with peers.

There are cases when television news personalities become embroiled in controversies that lead to the big switch.

Or, simply because they're in high-profile jobs—how much higher a profile can it get to have your face on TV every day?—there will always be some noise accompanying big movements like network transfers.

PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) lists 15 FILIPINO TV REPORTERS who decided to leave their home networks and resume their careers in a new environment, which may even be the place they had left once before.

Atom Araullo

Photo by ABS-CBN, GMA.
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Atom Araullo surprised everyone when he announced in ABS-CBN's morning program, Umagang Kay Ganda, that he was leaving the network.

There followed strong buzz that he would be transferring to rival network, GMA-7.

After all, he started his career with the Kapuso network via the magazine show 5 & Up.

In October 2017, Araullo was officially welcomed as the new Kapuso in its primetime newscast 24 Oras.

He is set to join the weekly documentary program i-Witness.

The inside info is that Atom's transfer, in fact, has to do with his desire to go beyond anchor work and on-cam reporting to expand to the making of documentaries. It is said that ABS-CBN would not give him this, but that GMA-7 would.

Mel Tiangco

Photo by TV Patrol / 24 Oras.
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Before Mel Tiangco became a prominent figure as anchor of the Kapuso prime-time news program 24 Oras, she was a Kapamilya anchoring the prime-time newscast TV Patrol.

Known as a prominent fixture of the ABS-CBN news division, she was also the co-host, with Jay Sonza, of the Sunday talk show Mel and Jay, aside from being the face of the Kapamilya network's foundation work.

In 1995, Tiangco was suspended by ABS-CBN for three months without pay, after she appeared in a detergent commercial.

ABS-CBN broadcasters are not allowed to do commercials without prior approval from management.

After Mel's suspension, Jay also resigned from the Kapamilya network. By 1996, both had transferred to GMA-7.

ABS-CBN then filed a case against Tiangco and Sonza over a non-competitive clause in their contracts, which disallowed them from working in a competitive network for one year after leaving the network.

Amidst the legal battle, she went ahead to anchor GMA's flagship newscast Frontpage and, later, 24 Oras.

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In 2011, the Supreme Court dismissed the case of ABS-CBN against Mel and Jay.

Karen Davila

Photo by GMA-7, ABS-CBN.

Karen Davila was a host in GMA-7's top-rating magazine show Extra Extra when she surprised everyone with her decision to transfer to ABS-CBN in 2000.

Her entry point to the Kapamilya network was the documentary program The Correspondents, followed by the late-night news program ABS-CBN Headlines.

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In 2004, she transferred to ABS-CBN's primetime newscast TV Patrol. She also hosted other shows such as Wonder Mom and XXX: Eksklusibong, Explosibong, Exposé.

In 2010, still within the ABS-CBN structure, Karen left TV Patrol and transferred to the late-night newscast Bandila, which she still anchors today.

Davila is the host of the late-night current affairs program My Puhunan, as well as a solo program in ABS-CBN's cable-only news channel ANC titled Headstart, which interviews people currently making news.

Bernadette Sembrano

Photo by ABS-CBN / TV PATROL.
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Bernadette Sembrano was starting as a news reader at IBC-13 when the opportunity to join GMA-7 opened to her.

As a Kapuso, she got big breaks in newscasting: she anchored the primetime-turned-late night newscast Saksi and the public service program Wish Ko Lang!

However, in September 2003, Bernadette found herself in hot water. Her co-anchor Arnold Clavio read a statement from management about an episode of The Probe Team that was supposed to air after Saksi.

The network did not air The Probe Team episode, saying the team had failed to complete documentation to validate its report on Efraim Genuino, then chairman of the cash-rich Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal.

The network’s decision did not sit well with Sembrano, who was also a staff member of The Probe Team and had done the story on Genuino.

She was visibly irked throughout the airing of Saksi, and she walked out at the end of the newscast.

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She was suspended by GMA.

Despite her suspension, Bernadette continued to host Wish Ko Lang! until February 2004.

In March 2004, Sembrano transferred to ABS-CBN, and was made one of the hosts of the defunct morning show Magandang Umaga Pilipinas. She was also given her own public affairs program titled Lukso ng Dugo.

Currently, Sembrano is a news anchor at the Kapamilya primetime newscast TV Patrol, with Ted Failon and Noli de Castro. She also hosts the morning program Salamat, Dok!

Paolo Bediones

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Paolo Bediones started his career as a host of GMA's entertainment programs.

His biggest break as a host came when he did the magazine show Extra Extra, which was later reformatted to become Extra Challenge.

The program, with its new format, boosted GMA's ratings on prime-time and aired from 2003 to 2006.

He also served as the host of the first two seasons of Survivor: Philippines.

In December 2009, he decided to transfer to the newly opened TV5, where he found himself pursuing a new career as newscaster.

Bediones became anchor of TV5's newscast programs Aksyon, Aksyon JournalisMO and Aksyon Tonite.

However, in 2014, Bediones left TV5 amidst controversy surrounding a sex scandal.

In July 2017, he made a showbiz comeback, not as a host but as a producer of his show with CIGNAL Entertainment titled Good Vibes with Paolo.

Cheche Lazaro

Photo by TWITTER / Cheche Lazaro.
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Cheche Lazaro started her career as a reporter in ABS-CBN.

From July 1986 to December 1987, she became the manager of the Kapamilya network's Public Affairs department.

In 1988, the veteran journalist left ABS-CBN to create her own production outfit called Probe Productions.

She produced 5 and Up, i-Witness, Che-Che Lazaro Presents, and The Probe Team, which all aired on GMA-7.

In 2003, the Kapuso network cut its ties with Probe Productions over the story of then-PAGCOR chairman Efraim Genuino.

The network had delayed the airing of the episode for one week and asked that the group show proof of their claims against Genuino.

Cheche took this as censorship, accusing GMA-7 of "succumbing to pressure." For this reason, Probe ended its run on the Kapuso network in November 2003.

Lazaro moved the program to ABC-5 in 2004 and then to ABS-CBN in 2005. The last episode of The Probe Team on ABS-CBN aired in 2010.

Erwin Tulfo

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Erwin Tulfo started his career in broadcasting with PTV-4 from 1987 to 1992.

He transferred to ABS-CBN in 1995 and did reporting for the news programs TV Patrol and Hoy Gising!

He anchored the late-night newscast ABS-CBN Insider and was also part of the public service program Magandang Gabi Bayan.

Then Tulfo left ABS-CBN and transferred to RPN-9. He hosted the two-year-old public service program Bitag, which also aired on IBC-13.

In 2010, Tulfo joined the roster of reporters of TV5 and did several shows, including Aksyon and T3: Sagot Kita, Kapatid, along with brothers Ben and Raffy.

In July 2017, Erwin resigned from TV5.

Prior to his resignation, TV5 was supposed to suspend him for three months owing to a heated argument on social media with fellow TV5 reporter Ed Lingao, who had come to the Kapatid network from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).

Erwin was rumored to be transferring to PTV-4 to anchor a prime-time newscast that was to go head-to-head with ABS-CBN's TV Patrol and GMA-7's 24 Oras.

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He did return to PTV-4 to host its flagship news program PTV News.

Cheryl Cosim

Photo by INSTAGRAM / Cheryl Cosim.

Cheryl Cosim began her career with ABS-CBN in 1996.

She was one of the original hosts of the defunct Kapamilya morning program Alas Singko Y Medya.

Cosim was given her solo show, Salamat, Dok in 2004, and served as an anchor of ABS-CBN's News Advisory.

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However, in 2010, Cosim made the move to TV5.

She was tapped to anchor TV5's prime-time newscast Aksyon, and became the host of her own show titled Alagang Kapatid.

Even with her network transfer, Cosim said that she left the Kapamilya network without burning bridges.

Currently, Cosim hosts TV5's public affairs program Serbisyong Kapatid.

Connie Sison

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Connie Sison started her career in 1997 as a feature reporter in ABS-CBN's UHF channel Studio 23.

After eight months, the network promoted her to cover hard news for TV Patrol.

She anchored the climate-change program La Niña Watch, at the same time that she was in the long-running public service program Hoy Gising!

In 2006, Connie availed herself of the retirement package of ABS-CBN.

While completing the one year non-compete clause stipulated in her contract, Connie was seen as anchor in RPN-9's prime-time newscast Newswatch Aksyon Balita.

Back then, the non-compete clause only prohibited ABS-CBN talents from working for GMA-7.

In 2007, Sison transferred to GMA-7, her home network to this day.

Connie is currently a part of the morning magazine program Unang Hirit and anchors GMA News TV's lunchtime newscast Balitanghali.

Luchi Cruz-Valdez

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Luchi Cruz-Valdez was first hired by the American Broadcasting Company when it set up a Manila bureau for the 1986 snap elections.

When ABS-CBN reopened after the Marcos regime had been toppled, the network's The Probe Team had an opening for a co-host. She was hired by Che-Che Lazaro.

When The Probe Team moved to GMA-7, she remained part of the team for three years.

In December 2001, she accepted the offer of ABS-CBN to be vice president for news production and current affairs.

As a result, GMA-7 filed an injunction against her for breach of contract, which led to her "forced" or "indefinite" vacation.

This vacation lasted for eight months until August 2002, the month her contract with GMA was set to expire.

In 2008, after seven years in ABS-CBN, she resigned from her post as news production and current affairs head.

This was after she was suspended by the network for undisclosed, internal reasons.

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According to news chatter then, she had serious disagreements with the network's bosses in the news department, including Maria Ressa, vice president of news and current affairs of the network (who eventually resigned in 2010), and Charie Villa, then head of ABS-CBN's news gathering team.

Two years after her resignation, Luchi joined TV5 and became its news head.

Currently, Cruz-Valdez is a host of TV5's late-night magazine news program Reaksyon.

Tina Monzon-Palma

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Tina Monzon-Palma was vice president for News and Public Affairs of GMA-7 while serving as anchor for GMA Headline News.

A committed journalist, she was involved in news stories pursued by the network, one of which was the shooting of Maureen Hultman and Robert Chapman by Claudio Teehankee Jr., in a murder case widely publicized in the early '90s.

In an evening newscast in 1991, she announced that Hultman had died when, in fact, she was still in a coma.

She took responsibility for the error and resigned from her post.

After a hiatus of one month, Tina returned to work, this time as chief operating officer of the then newly reopened ABC-5 (now TV5).

In 1997, however, she decided to leave the network. Eight months after her resignation, she accepted the offer of the ABS-CBN Foundation to become part of Bantay Bata 163, spearheaded by Gina Lopez.

Monzon-Palma job in Bantay Bata came with an offer to anchor The World Tonight and take the place of Loren Legarda, who had entered politics.

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The newscast eventually moved to ANC, and Tina was also later given Talkback, her own talk show.

She also headed ABS-CBN's Sagip Kapamilya until 2014.

Pia Hontiveros

Photo by CNN Philippines.

Pia Hontiveros was a reporter of ABS-CBN for seven years, from 1989 to 1996.

She moved to ABS-CBN's cable-only news channel ANC and hosted several of its news programs, including Top Story, Shop Talk, and Strictly Politics.

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In November 2011, Strictly Politics aired its last episode, marking Pia's departure from the Kapamilya network.

Pia transferred to Solar News Channel in 2012 as its chief correspondent.

When Solar News Channel changed its name to CNN Philippines, hontiveros remained the network's chief correspondent. Today, she also anchors its flagship newscast, News Night.

Cherie Mercado

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Cherie Mercado used to be a reporter of ABS-CBN.

She was part of the morning news program Alas Singko Y Medya and served as a field reporter until 2004.

She transferred to ABC-5 in 2004, stayed through its rebranding as TV5, and anchored its noontime newscast Aksyon sa Tanghali.

In 2016, she left TV5 to become the spokesperson of the Department of Transportation (DOTR).

However, in May 2017, she resigned from her DOTR post, saying the demands of her job took her away from her family.

Rumors circulated that she would join Erwin Tulfo at PTV-4.

Instead, Cherie signed up with the News and Rescue Team of UNTV.

Pinky Webb

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Pinky Webb started her journalism career in ABS-CBN.

She hosted Umagang Kay Ganda and XXX: Exklusibong, Explosibong, Exposé.

It was in Umagang Kay Ganda where she met the actor-TV host Edu Manzano. They became a couple, but broke up in 2010.

Pinky also became an anchor for the weekend editions of TV Patrol.

In April 2016, Webb joined CNN Philippines and became the anchor of its first Filipino language broadcast, Balitaan.

Alex Santos

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Alex Santos began his career as a TV reporter in TV Patrol Southern Mindanao from 1993 to 1996.

In 1996, he transferred to Manila to become a news editor for regional affiliates of ANC until 2006.

In the same year, Santos became an anchor of TV Patrol's weekend edition.

He also joined the morning news program Umagang Kay Ganda in 2007 and XXX: Esklusibong, Explosibong, Exposé.

In early 2013, Santos had a scoop about a child who was kidnapped. Unkown to his co-anchors, the child had already been recovered—a fact Santos was aware of. Instead of updating his story, Santos went ahead with the original story, most likely planning to have Part Two of his report for the episode the following day. When Noli De Castro talked about the kidnapping at length on his radio program the next morning, De Castro was embarrassed when a local government official told him on the radio program the case had already been resolved. The blunder is said to be the reason for Santos' leaving ABS-CBN. 

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In 2017, Santos returned to TV newscasting via PTV-4.

This story originally appeared on Pep.phMinor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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