As expected, the Senate hearing Monday morning yielded nothing of substance regarding the alleged “intervention” of Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go in the beleaguered Philippine Navy frigate deal with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). The allegation was made in a sensational “news report” by Carmela Fonbuena published on Rappler in mid-January. In the report, Fonbuena interpreted the appearance of Go’s name in some documents as evidence that he “intervened” in the deal. However, she provided no proof that decisions made surrounding the purchase of the warships’ combat management systems were influenced in any way by Go’s supposed involvement.
In comparison, the Inquirer report on the same controversy, Palace had special interest in Navy’s selection of weapons system supplier, while also citing the appearance of Go’s name in various documents, merely reported the facts but made no such bald allegations. This report was published on the 15th of January, earlier than the Rappler report authored by Fonbuena. Evidently, between the two publications, Rappler and the Inquirer, it is the latter that gives relative honour to the journalism profession.
Even Opposition attack dog “senator” Antonio Trillanes IV, publicly expressed his belief yesterday that Go “had nothing to do with the contract” and affirmed this by saying…
“I don’t think he has any personal financial interest in this matter,” [Trillanes] said. “Mr. Bong Go is not capable of doing his own thing without any authority from Mr. Duterte because he knows that this guy can kill him.”
Perhaps Trillanes had enough time to evaluate the questionable Rappler version of the story which, while certainly too sensational to resist, was evidently so baseless that it could not pass even Trillanes’s standards as sound reference material. The whole episode pretty much hangs both Rappler and Fonbuena the Rapplerette out to dry. Go spent the rest of his allotted time to speak at the Senate session highlighting the irresponsible behaviour of the “social news network”.
It is interesting to note that Rapplerette Carmela Fonbuena has quite the history of dodgy “news” reporting. Back in 2012 while covering the impeachment “trial” of the late former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, Fonbuena filed a report where she together with another Rappler reporter Magtanggol de la Cruz revealed details — both the account number and its dollar balance — of one of Corona’s accounts held with the Philippine Savings Bank (PS Bank) — a clear violation of Philippine bank secrecy laws.
Today is yet another example of how much Rappler‘s lazy, unethical, and amateurish journalism costs not just Philippine taxpayers but the reputations of ordinary civil servants who do not enjoy the perks of having a big megaphone at their disposal that corporate news media firms like Rappler wield like drunken coeds in a sorority party.
As of this writing, it seems that Rappler will be digging itself in to stand by Fonbuena’s report. In a Facebook post the same Monday evening, Pia Ranada, also a Rapplerette, continues to assert that Go had “intervened” in the deal…
Take-away from frigates Senate hearing:
Major details of Rappler’s and Inquirer’s report were confirmed by various officials, including Bong Go himself.
Note from Lorenzana which had Go’s name in it – CHECK
Letter from Go’s undersecretary inviting Navy officials to meeting in Malacañang – CHECK
Confirmation that the Malacañang meeting actually took place – CHECK
Confirmation that the letter and meeting were about the P16-billion frigates project – CHECK
Confirmation that the letter and meeting were borne out of a complaint by the Korean supplier that the frigates project is being delayed, thus they want Malacañang to do something about it. – CHECK
Definition of intervention: ‘come between so as to prevent or alter a result or course of events’ or ‘occur in time between events.’
Yet Bong Go and Malacañang continue to call this fake news.
If you say so, Ms Ranada. If you say so.
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