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Andanar: NBI to probe 'sabotage' of Philippine News Agency

Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Monday said the Philippine News Agency website was targeted by a cyberattack last Friday. Presidential Photographers Division/Albert Alcain, file

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division will investigate a supposed cyberattack on the website of state-run Philippine News Agency website last week, Palace Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said Monday.

Last Friday, screenshots of the news agency’s old articles with editor’s notes in the headlines went viral on social media, earning the PNA more criticism after a series of blunders earlier this year.

“Nitong Friday na nakita nung sa IP (Internet Protocol) namin na merong isang IP address na pilit pinapasok iyong lumang dashboard. Kasi may lumang website di ba? Iyong lumang dashboard pilit pinapasok nung IP address na ito,” Andanar explained in an interview on radio DZRH.

As of press time, the site is still under maintenance.

"Hindi natin masasabi natin na taga-loob, pero mayroong IP address na ine-imbestigahan ngayon, pinaimbestigahan ni Undersecretary Joel Egco," he said.

When asked whether PNA had security protocols in place against defacements and cyberattacks, Andanar answered in the affirmative.

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"Pero iimbestigahan pa rin namin, kasi meron namang hacker di ba, may mga hacker—"

READNew PNA blunders amid editorial board under Andanar

Negligence or malice?

Andanar believes the latest PNA gaffe was a result of either an editor’s negligence or an intent to humiliate the news agency.

“Number One, baka katangahan na siguro ng editor na... or kung sino ang [nag]-upload noon. Then Number Two: Kung nangyari man iyon noon at na-publish nga, bakit mo ibabalik pa at ipapa-viral? So ibig sabihin meron ka talagang intensyon na pahiyain iyong PNA,” he said.

“Siyempre, under ng PCOO itong PNA, so ang dami nating ginagawang reporma tapos gustong pilit gibain iyong PNA. So, meron talagang gustong gibain ako,” he added.

"Sino ba iyong ibang gustong gibain dito kung hindi ako, eventually the President, hindi ba," the secretary also said.

Officials of the Duterte administration, Andanar included, have often hinted at destabilization plots and attempts to discredit government agencies. Sometimes, these plots are bared without proof.

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In a statement, PCOO Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, assigned to supervise the operations of PNA on Friday, asked the public to “please bear with us,” noting “birth pains are expected as the news agency is transitioning from “the old to the new.”

Last August, Andanar formed an editorial board for the PNA in response to controversies involving the state-run news service.

PNA also drew flak for using an erroneous photo of the DOLE Philippines logo on a story about the Department of Labor and Employment and for posting a commentary from Chinese state-run Xinhua that criticized the ruling of an international tribunal on the maritime dispute in the South China Sea. 

READAndanar forms PNA editorial board after series of blunders

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