Bernadette Sembrano officially replaced Korina Sanchez as one of the three anchors of ABS-CBN’s prime time news program TV Patrol (TVP) August 3. The network has not made a formal announcement on any of their platforms so far though it is noticeable that the latest version of the program’s opening billboard now features Sembrano and not Sanchez.
Sembrano also curiously uploaded a photo of her along with her two other co-anchors Noli de Castro and Ted Failon on Instagram Monday night without adding a caption. At present, Sembrano hosts TVP’s weekend edition with Alvin Elchico. The two are also co-hosts in the medical TV program ‘Salamat Dok.’
Her promotion comes just three days after Sanchez’ husband, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, was officially endorsed by President Benigno Aquino III as his successor ahead of next year’s presidential elections.
Sanchez’ second stint as TVP anchor (the first one being from 2001 to 2004) has been dogged by controversy from the start. Even before she got her old job back last 2010, some already pointed out that her involvement in her husband’s unsuccessful vice presidential campaign might be a source of a potential conflict-of-interest.
And as the succeeding years showed, that’s exactly what happened. The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay, for example, not only accused Sanchez of refusing to mention his name on air but also of comparing him to a “dark, evil little spirit.”
Things came to a head in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda’s devastation of Eastern Visayas in November 2013. Sanchez was widely criticized for suggesting on her radio show that CNN Anderson Cooper is clueless (“Hindi yata niya alam ang sinasabi niya”) when he highlighted the slow government relief efforts for super typhoon Yolanda survivors on his reportage.
Sanchez left her radio show six weeks after the controversy erupted, citing her desire to finish her graduate studies at the Ateneo de Manila University. She cited the same reason for going on leave from her anchoring duties in TV Patrol early this year.
By the way, Sembrano also happens to be married to a politician, Emilio “Orange” Aguinaldo IV. A scion of the famous Aguinaldo clan, he once served as the vice mayor of Kawit, Cavite. His other relatives are still in office, most notably Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. Now, the question is, will Sembrano be accused of using her position to defend her husband’s relatives just like Sanchez?