There's the shepherd, the flock and the sacristan. Together they drive the media machine with their paymaster, in the back seat brazenly directing the way through the back alleys of Philippine politics.' The 'shepherds' are former journalists turned media publicists. 'Shepherds' take care of reporters covering the election campaign trails - from arranging accommodation to providing food and 'night' entertainment. This can rake in as much as 40,000 pesos monthly (about US$729) for 'shepherding' a presidential election. That's equivalent to how much a broadsheet senior reporter earns in three months. Another story tells of editors pocketing P20,000 to P50,000 a week for running favourable stories of particular candidates. Topnotch journalists receive from errant politicians monthly 'smiling money' ranging from P100,000 to P300,000.
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