Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Probe’s Final Episode: The Different Faces of Malacañang

The award-winning program that pioneered investigative journalism on Philippine Television is bidding goodbye for now after almost a quarter of a century in investigating the top issues and personalities in the country. 

Probe is going full circle by celebrating its remarkable run, which began during the presidency of Corazon Aquino, with a two-part series on June 23 and June 30 on ABS-CBN about the ascend to presidency of the late Aquino’s son, President-elect Benigno Aquino III.
Join Cheche Lazaro on "Probe Profiles" this Wednesday (June 23) as she features life in the Malacañang Palace with a series of interviews with presidential offsprings Nini Quezon, Ilocos Norte Governor-elect Imee Marcos, and former Sen. Jun Magsaysay, former presidents Joseph Estrada and Fidel V. Ramos, and even Palace employees and servants who will bare the secrets of Malacañang.

On June 30, Lazaro will zero in on Sen. Noynoy Aquino’s march to presidency beginning with the grueling 2010 election campaign to his inauguration. Get the inside story behind the issues in his candidacy and the transition to his administration straight from his campaign manager and future budget secretary Butch Abad, incoming presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, and the Aquino sisters. 

Under the leadership of its main anchor and chief driving force Lazaro, Probe continuously raised the standard in news and public affairs programming by combining intensive and courageous reports with outstanding storytelling and production values. 

In its 24 years on air, from its days as “Probe” to “The Probe Team,” “The Probe Team Documentaries, to “Probe” again on ABS-CBN and finally “Probe Profiles,” it was never afraid to question the government with pointed features on its officials and projects. It has never backed down from calamities with extensive coverage of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, the 1990 earthquake, and the infamous maritime disasters. 

It has dared to dip into controversial topics like the Maria Theresa Carlson Case, the Fertilizer scam, and the unpaid GSIS benefits of teachers and government employees. It has tackled sensitive topics such as insurgency, poverty, corruption, and police brutality without resorting to sensationalism or pressure from the commercial requirements of mounting a television show. 

It has also unearthed inspiring stories and explosive revelations in its feature stories about the country’s leaders and celebrities.
Probe has also displayed its integrity and independence, never straying from its core values despite changing formats, program titles, and TV networks. Facing a threat of censorship in relation to a story it did on the lifestyle of former PAGCOR chairman Efraim Genuino in 2003, Probe bolted out another network, and eventually returned to the station where it started, ABS-CBN. 

And now, 24 years after being founded by a group of broadcast journalists which included Lazaro and current ABS-CBN Head of News and Current Affairs Maria Ressa, Probe is now a byword for excellent journalism, while Lazaro has become an icon of sorts in Philippine broadcasting, a pillar that symbolizes both professionalism and integrity in media. 

Probe has consistently garnered critical acclaim here and abroad, with over 40 trophies from award-giving bodies including Golden Dove Awards, Star Awards, and the New York Festivals immortalizing the brilliance and hard work of the team behind it. 

It has already changed the face of news and public affairs programming in the Philippines. It has served as training ground to some of the country’s top journalists such as Karen Davila, Bernadette Sembrano, Pinky Webb, Twink Macaraig, David Celdran, Tony Velasquez, and a dozen more working on and off cam in local networks and international media organizations like CNN, Reuters, and Al-Jazeera. 

It has already taught Filipinos how to embrace their freedom by exercising their right to know and their responsibility as citizens to act.
Despite the exit of “Probe Profiles,” Lazaro said Probe Productions Inc. will continue churning up brave and quality projects and might return to television, while she will still be seen as anchor of “Media in Focus” on ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel. 

Lazaro said, for as long as Filipinos look at the nation with probing eyes and minds, the Probe legacy lives on.

Don’t miss the last two episodes of “Probe Profiles,” Wednesdays, after “Bandila” on ABS-CBN. View previous episodes of "Probe Profiles" at www.probetv.com.

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