Inquirer Ends Winnie Monsod Column via E-Mail Notice

Newspaper cited 'clear conflict of interest'.
Photo/s: Prof. Winnie Monsod/Facebook

Economist Solita "Winnie" Collas-Monsod said the Philippine Daily Inquirer told her via e-mail notice that her column would be discontinued at the end of June, ending their 20-year relationship.

Monsod said the letter cited the conflict of interest that arose from her being a part of rival online publication Rappler's board, a position she held for four years.

She announced the end of her "Get Real" column in a piece titled "Hold your horses" published on June 18.

"In light of the clear conflict of interest between your position as columnist of the Inquirer and your advocacy for Rappler and membership in its Board, we are serving notice that we shall discontinue your column, ‘Get Real’ effective July 1, 2022," Monsod quoted the letter.

Monsod said she was "intrigued" by the management's decision, saying that when she was invited to write for PDI more than 20 years ago, she was a columnist for another broadsheet, BusinessWorld, but it did not stop PDI's then-publisher Marixi Prieto, and its late editor-in-chief, Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, from asking her to join the newspaper.

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She added that this arrangement lasted for more than 10 years: "Get Real" comes out on Saturdays, while her column on Business World came out on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Monsod also said that her acceptance to be part of the Rappler's board in 2018 was "public knowledge", an invitation that she considers as an "honor" as the online news site "has been under siege by the Duterte administration—just as PDI was under siege by both the Duterte and Estrada administrations."

"I saw Rappler as a comrade in arms to PDI and not a competitor. I assumed PDI management felt the same, since at no time from 2018 to the present did PDI management take issue with my involvement with, or advocacy of, Rappler’s cause," she added.

Monsod said she never wrote a column for Rappler nor has any financial interest in the news outlet, except for one share of stock to qualify for board membership.

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"So Reader, we may ask: Why the sudden volte-face by PDI? And why, after more than 20 years of working together, does PDI not think that I rate a face-to-face discussion or a Zoom chat or a telephone chat, instead of an impersonal email? This is how we handled difficulties before," she added.

PDI's management has yet to issue a statement following Monsod's latest column.

Monsod served as socioeconomic planning secretary from 1986 to 1989, during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino, and taught courses at the University of the Philippines School of Economics, where she is a professor emeritus.

She also pioneered the debate format on Philippine television as she hosted the public affairs show "Debate With Mare and Pare" with former Pangasinan Gov. Oscar Orbos, as well as "Bawal Ang Pasaway Kay Mareng Winnie".


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