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Irked senators hit 'fake news' on not signing EJK resolution

Senators participate at a hearing looking into the proliferation of fake news led by Sen. Grace Poe (center) on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines — Senators Vicente Sotto III and Manny Pacquiao decried being victims of “fake news” against seven lawmakers who did not sign the resolution denouncing teenage killings.

In their respective opening statements, both senators said they had been offended by news reports that they and five other senators did not sign Senate Resolution 516 denouncing teenage killings.

Sotto recounted that he has been a “favorite victim of cyberbullies in 2012” during debates on the Reproductive Health bill. He was referring to allegations that he copied part of a speech by the late US Sen. Robert Kennedy in one of his speeches.

Sotto denied intentionally copying the speech, but said that "if it upsets the Kennedy family, then I’m sorry."

He said that lawmakers are the “usual victims” of fake news.

Pacquiao, in an impassioned speech, hit news reports that identified the seven senators whose signatures were missing from the legislative document.

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“The issue is how were projected to media,” Pacquiao said, adding that media reports were “misleading.”

“Hindi naman kami pinanganak kahapon para hindi namin malaman ang mga katangahan  na ginagawa sa amin,” Pacquiao added.

Pacquiao even stressed that the these were not attacks on them as individuals but “an attack to the Senate as an institution.”

Senators also vented their ire at the Silent No More PH blog, which criticized the seven who did not sign the resolution. Cocoy Dayao, the man who has been accused of being behind the blog was not at the hearing.

After receiving flak, Sotto, Pacquiao, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, as well as Sens. Richard Gordon, Cynthia Villr, Miguel Zubiri and Gregorio Honasan filed their own resolution “condemning in the strongest sense the extrajudicial killings.”

Other members of the majority bloc — Sens. Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe and Ralph Recto — also signed SR 518, the new resolution.

But Sen. Francis Pangilinan, for his part, sought to clear the air: “Base sa mga pangyayari, at based sa facts at hindi po sa fake news.”

READ: No attempt to exclude 7 senators, says Pangilinan chief of staff

He recounted that on September 20, five days before SR 516 was filed, he told his chief of staff that to find a way to get more senators to sign the resolution that, on that day, has already 16 signatures.

Pangilinan stressed: “Nalillihis po tayo sa usapan ng fake news.” He added that an example of fake news proliferation is police officers admitting to validating Kian Delos Santos’ involvement on drugs through Facebook post.

Pangilinan: Incorrect to say senators refused to sign

The Senate on Thursday tackled the resolutions on the “Proliferation of Fake and/or Misleading News and False Information.”

Both Sotto and Pacquiao lamented that they received online bashing for not signing the SR which they said did not reach their respective officers.

But Pangilinan said: “In fairness to the seven (senators), they can still associate themselves (with the resolution.) It has not been adopted.”

He added: “Media line saying that they refused to sign is not accurate.” He however stressed that he no longer has hold on the outrage that stemmed from the controversial resolution.

“Fake news is lying. If we are to survive as a nation, hindi tama ang magsinungaling. This is the challenge to us…beyond the viral,” Pangilinan said.

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