By Patrick Alcedo and Marissa Largo
Philippines Studies professors and students of York University welcomed 2022 Marshall McLuhan Fellow Karmina Constantino on 15 May 2023 in Toronto. Constantino, a veteran Filipina television broadcast journalist and an anchor with the ABS-CBN News Channel known for her hard-hitting questions to politicians, presented her compelling and timely talk: Revisiting the Basics: The Role of the Journalist in Critical Public Discourse and in Seeking Accountability in a Post-truth Era in the Philippines.
Hosted by York’s Philippine Studies Group at the York Centre for Asian Research of York University, Constantino spoke to the group of her unrelenting service to the Filipino people by seeking the truth with journalistic integrity. With examples and statistics from the Marcos and Duterte regimes, she outlined the correlation between censorship of the media, curtailment of democracy, and rise of disinformation in the Philippines. Constantino continues to promote critical public discourse and accountability during the current presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., amid the spread of misinformation, or fake news, through the internet. The journalist recounted her interview with Jose Montemayor Jr., presidential candidate in 2022, who accused her news organization of accepting bribes. With cool conviction, Constantino passionately rebuked the accusation and adamantly rejected Montemayor’s false claims in a segment that has since gone viral on Twitter.
Constantino is known to Filipinos in the Philippines and in the diaspora in Canada. We need not look further than Dateline Philippines, a program with ANC Digital News, to keep abreast with what is happening on the ground in the Philippines. Many have come to admire her balanced reporting, responsible investigation, astute and careful research of matters in focus, and her fine ability in posing difficult questions to her guests to make visible the complexities of issues at hand—and even the humanity behind them—for the public.
The granddaughter of national historian, Renato Constantino, whose two-volume, The Philippines: A Past Revisited, are must-readings for Philippine historiographers and university students in the Philippines, Costantino is a graduate of film in the College of Mass Communication at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Before anchoring Dateline Philippines, she co-hosted Studio 23’s Breakfast program and the program Mornings for the ANC News Channel.
Constantino is last year’s prestigious Marshall McLuhan Fellow and is embarking on her Canadian speaking tour. Established in 1997, the esteemed fellowship is bestowed annually by the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines to a candidate “embodying outstanding qualities in the field of investigative journalism.”
Colin Townson, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Canada to the Philippines said in his praise of Constantino that she is highly deserving of the Marshall McLuhan fellowship for her “unflinching commitment to speak truth to power, admirable consistency in ferreting out the most complicated issues of the day, and a stirring courage to ask the toughest questions.” Other stops on her speaking tour include Ottawa, Montreal, and Vancouver.
This story also appeared in the Philippine Reporter (29 May 2023)