READER'S Digest was first published in 1922 in the United States, making it one of the oldest publications in the world. That it has managed to last this long in what is generally considered a cutthroat industry is a testament to its credibility.

In its latest issue, the magazine published the results of its Asian Reader’s Digest Trust Poll which was conducted in its behalf in the Philippines in October 2009 by The Digital Edge, an independent market research firm.

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Liberal Party standard-bearer Noynoy Aquino was the fifth most trusted Filipino. In contrast his chief rivals, Manny Villar and Gibo Teodoro ranked 60th and 65th respectively, higher only than Erap Estrada who was No. 79 in a field of 80.

Two Cebuanos were in the upper bracket: environmental advocate and Ramon Magsaysay awardee Tony Oposa at No. 24 and fashion designer Monique Lhuillier at No. 33.

“These individuals have one thing in common: heart,” the Reader’s Digest noted. “Whether it is about love of service to the people, doing one’s job with utmost dedication, or instilling national pride in the spirit of competition, all ten of the most trusted Filipinos show the kind of passion that inspires and motivates.”

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Two weeks ago, an e-mail was circulated among businessmen and professionals in Cebu regarding a survey that was conducted by The Campaigns & Image Group supposedly commissioned by companies based in the United Kingdom and the United States. The companies were unnamed but they were allegedly doing business in the Philippines.

The survey, which was said to have been conducted in parishes nationwide, showed Teodoro ranking much higher than the single digit rating that he had consistently obtained in the surveys by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Station. The survey results were also generous to Villar.

The Campaigns & Image Group has until then been largely unheard of but a Google search shows that it was established in 1998, holds office at 332-1B V. Rama Avenue in Guadalupe, and employs between 11 and 50 people.

It describes itself in its website as “the first and only marketing issue interception, media relations, PR and business planning company in the Philippines.” The company said its other services include “legislative lobby, community relations, business process outsourcing and government relations.”

The group said its main market is North America from which it derives a total annual sales volume of between US $1 million and US $2.5 million (the Bureau of Internal Revenue must be happy).

The company profile did not say whether it is a corporation, partnership or single proprietorship but named Aniceto B. Canturias as its “Representative/Business Owner.”

Canturias, according to ph.linkedin.com, is a business and marketing writer who “(H)ad served as managing editor of The Freeman, a daily English newspaper in Cebu City.” His specialties are: “financial planning, brand development, marketing strategy formulation, politico-economic issue interception, PR/publicity management, market research and business plan writing.”

Canturias said he “partnered in 1991 with newspaper publishers and editors in the Philippines to form the Campaigns & Image Group and supported the vice presidential bid of then senator Joseph Estrada.” He also (d)id issue interception and PR management for the successful presidential campaign of Mr. Estrada in 1998.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is The Campaigns & Image Group.

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)