Retired broadcaster Jay Sonza recently trended online after posting a supposed fact check on Maria Ressa’s previous profession before becoming a highly regarded journalist and CEO of Rappler.
In his post, he stated that Ressa was never a journalist in the years 1986 to 1996 but rather she was a PA (Personal Assistant) of Cheche Lazaro’s defunct program Probe.
“Maria Ressa was never a journalist or part of the immediate post-edsa (86-96) abs-cbn radio and television News, under TV News Director Larry Ng, TV News Manager Angelo Castro Jr., and Radio News & Public Affairs Director & TV Patrol Executive Producer Jay Sonza,” he stated.
He added, “She was a PA of the defunct Cheche Lazaro’s program.”
Maria Ressa did not let this pass and quickly condemned Sonza’s supposed revelation saying, “Alam niyo, nakakatawa na kayo. Pati ba yan, mali mali. Director and producer ako ng Probe nung time na iyon.”
She also countered the attempt to belittle PAs and shared that she is witness to a former PAs success as she said, “Ano ba kayo – minamata niyo ba ang PA? Ang dating PA ko sa CNN, senior international correspondent na siya.”
Alam niyo, nakakatawa na kayo. Pati ba iyan, mali mali. Director and producer ako ng Probe nung time na iyon. Ano ba kayo – minamata niyo ba ang PA? Ang dating PA ko sa CNN, senior international correspondent na siya. https://t.co/eZNYMJJ2N0
— Maria Ressa (@mariaressa) August 15, 2020
Netizens, journalists, and celebrities also sided with Ressa and slammed Sonza’s insensitive and false claims.
PAs are among the most hardworking and reliable people I know. Nothing wrong and nothing laughable about that:) Carry on Maria! We’re with you
— Kevin Manalo (@kevinmanalo_) August 15, 2020
Production Assistant (PA) and Personal Assistant (PA) are dignified work in the industry. Maka-lang naman kala mo alta. https://t.co/UEjxAI3ez1
— Vance (@vance_larena) August 15, 2020
Their words are shallow and they spew so much hate. Iyan ang kaya nilang ibigay kasi iyan ang meron sila. I bet they can’t tell you any of these in person and when they’re using their real names. Cowards. Enjoy the rest of the day and stay safe.
— Lot Ramirez (@RamirezLot) August 15, 2020
Most successful executive producers, production managers and even business unit heads started from being a production assistant. Hindi kahiya hiyang maging production assistant (PA). It’s a badge of honor.
— Erwin ᜁᜇ᜔ᜏᜒᜈ᜔ (@erwinaurella) August 15, 2020
Si jay sonza tumatandang paurong. Bka kailangan na nyan uminum ng gamot. Kasi alam ko sa mga tunay na journalist taga masid sa kapaligiran lalo na sa gobyerno. Hindi tuta ng admi. Kasama cguro sa payrol🤣🤣🤣
— kailan ka gigising para sa Bayan🇵🇭🌷 (@tessbriggs08) August 15, 2020
This was not the first time Jay Sonza attacked Maria Ressa. It can be recalled that in 2019 when Ressa was facing cases of cyberlibel and tax evasion, Sonza questioned her citizenship. He claimed that both her parents are Indonesians and she uses a US passport. Although Ressa clarified that she has dual citizenship and her parents are not at all Indonesian.
Jay Sonza is a well-known supporter of the Duterte administration, as shown by his constant attacks on those who seemingly criticize the government.