Rody virtually admits spreading fake news
GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) - September 21, 2017 - 4:00pm

President Rodrigo Duterte in effect spread fake news in concocting Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ secret bank accounts. Social media are going viral about Duterte’s admission of inventing the number of Trillanes’ account with DBS Singapore. Bashers say the President lost credibility by lying, and call him out for spreading fake news. Only last month Duterte signed the criminalizing of news fakery, with fines of P40,000 to P200,000. Civil rights advocates denounce the law as a breach of free speech. Criticisms peaked yesterday, amid demonstrations marking the 45th anniversary of Marcos’ martial law and against Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.

Trillanes had gone early this week to Singapore’s DBS’ Alexandra branch where Duterte alleges he has a secret deposit of S$193,610 as of Aug. 17. There he was told it had no account in the name of “Antonio Trillanes” with or without the suffix “IV” singly or jointly with anybody. He executed a waiver authorizing DBS to disclose any accounts in his name. He then proceeded to HSBC Raffles Tower branch where Duterte alleges another deposit of S$278,300 as of Aug. 30. There was no such branch, only an ATM. Before that, Trillanes issued a waiver to the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the Ombudsman to look into the 12 international accounts in Asia, Europe, and America that Duterte alleges he has.

In disproving the Singapore accounts, Trillanes called Duterte a liar who can win only by propaganda. He reiterated his challenge for him to sign a similar waiver to disclose his bank accounts. He said Duterte’s son, Davao City vice mayor Paolo Duterte, and son-in-law Manases Carpio, should do the same after linking them to the recent smuggling of 604 kilos of shabu (meth) worth P6.5 billion at the Manila ports.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who filed charges against newly resigned Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon for the narcotics smuggling, praises Trillanes for turning the tables on Duterte. Trillanes’ credibility buoyed up, he says. On the other hand, Duterte lost credibility, notes former dean Tony La Viña of the Ateneo de Manila School of Governance. In faking news about Trillanes, Duterte’s statistics about the drug problem and martial law in Mindanao are now in doubt. Dented as well is Duterte’s credibility as chairman of the ASEAN on its 50th year this 2017, and praises for China despite incursions in the West Philippine Sea. “Unusual, very un-presidential,” Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon said of Duterte’s confession of news faking. Presidential spokesman Ernie Abella is at a loss for words.

The Dutertes do not lack for supporters in the social media. Hot stuff as well are Trillanes’ bungled diplomatic back-channeling that led to China’s occupation of Scarborough Shoal in 2012, and exposés in this columns about his relatives’ no-bidding contract with the dilapidated MRT-3. Trillanes is referred to as “trilliling” for crazy, and “Trillones” for supposed trillion-peso stolen wealth.

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TALKBACK. Readers express through Gotcha their views on various events:

Buddy Cozon, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, on Duterte siding with Faeldon in the 604-kilo shabu smuggling and accusations by Lacson of a P100-million bribery: “‘Sampalin mo (slap him),’ Duterte advises homecoming overseas workers when extorted for gifts by airport Customs. ’Simpatiyahan mo (sympathize with him),’ he does of Faeldon despite the gravity of the case.”

Nancy Formoso, Silay City, on the burial of 14-year-old extrajudicial killing victim: “It was civil disobedience against the incredible Philippine National Police. The PNP wanted the funeral stopped and the body returned for wrong DNA identification, but the parents, neighbors, and friends defied the police and proceeded with the interment.”

Ron Bruer, New Jersey, on the fatal fraternity initiation hazing of 22-year-old college student Horatio Tomas Castillo III: “Senseless.”

Lycurgus Paguntalan, on the fatal electrocution of a motorcycling couple when a dump truck snagged a power line in Quezon City: “News reports say the truck driver will be charged. But what if the truck is of regulation height? It would mean that the power line was below the required height. In QC we  have so many low hanging electricity cables, such that the crew of trucks towing 20- and 40-footer cargo containers need to raise these with wooden poles to pass through. Low hanging cables are an accident waiting to happen, and power companies are accountable.”

Tony Gutierrez, comparing Mamasapano and Marawi: “Mamasapano: authorized by President Aquino; mission: neutralize terrorist Marwan, accomplished; state casualties, 44; MILF, 18; civilians, 7; total, 69; duration: 20 hours. Marawi: authorized by President Duterte; mission: neutralize Hapilon, failed; state casualties, 145; Maute, 46; civilians, 639; total, 830; duration: ongoing since May. Given the government data, what wrongs do people see in the Mamasapano encounter that they cannot see in the Marawi war?”

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The bloody drug war of the Duterte administration, martial law, and the historical disinfecting of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos are the focus of “Pagsambang Bayan the Musicale” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The music-and-dance remake of the iconic anti-Marcos martial law play of the 1970s-80s is based on the liturgy. Directed by multi-award winning Joel Lamangan; libretto by original playwright Bonifacio P. Ilagan; music by a troupe led by Joed Balsamo; additional choreography by Jomelle Era. Pinoy rock musician Cabring Cabrera of Datu’s Tribe and internationally acclaimed tenor Dondi Ong lead a powerhouse cast of 20.

CCP Little Theater: Sept. 22 and 23 Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m., with 3 p.m. matinees. Tickets available at the box office and at TicketWorld, telephone 02 8919999. For inquiries, call CCP Marketing 02 8323706.

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

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