Senate inquiry on “fake news” turns into pointless finger-pointing exercise

It’s not clear what Senator Grace Poe as the chairman for the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media wanted to achieve in conducting a hearing on fake news. The hearing did not have any clear objective. Poe just allowed the resource speakers to state their claim and then… nothing. She doesn’t even ask for proof to support the mainly Yellow resource persons’ accusations.

Well, the hearing did have a tendency to paint President Rodrigo Duterte’s supporters as the only source of fake news, which is wrong. We all know the Opposition has their own army of trolls and allies in mainstream media who spread negative propaganda against their enemies. Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Marie T. Badoy was correct in saying that current Vice President Leni Robredo has a habit of spreading false information and giving the wrong perception of the state of the nation not just to Filipinos, but to the members of the international community as well.

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Badoy cited the time Robredo made a video specifically addressed to the United Nations expressing her concerns about the government’s war on drugs. Without checking the facts and getting the correct data from the Philippine National Police, Robredo appealed to the UN for help and claimed that “the body count due to drug-related killings keeps growing.” She added:

We are now looking at some very grim statistics: since July last year, more than 7,000 people have been killed in summary executions.

That was very slack and irresponsible of Robredo. As I said before, Robredo made serious allegations based on hearsay. She has pissed off the Philippine National Police by painting them under a bad light. She didn’t even ask them for clarification about their scheme “palit-ulo”, which is “a commitment of a drug suspect to provide assistance in the arrest of a ‘bigger fish’ in the illegal drug syndicate.”

In a recent speech during the 72nd anniversary of the Liberal Party, Robredo also claimed that “darkness” is shrouding the nation. Just because her party is not in control, doesn’t mean the nation is in darkness. The Philippines may have a long way to go to achieve real progress, but the Liberal Party held the country back even more with their incompetence and negligence. Robredo failed to mention that.

Retired political science professor at the University of the Philippines Clarita Carlos was compelled to rebut Robredo’s negative assessment:

Carlos acknowledged that not all of the reforms under the current administration have been successful but said that the chief executive has only been in office for only one and a half years.

“It will take some time, remember we are still one a half years’ time to this administration. There are many, many other things which we needed to change. Transport for one, there’s a lot to be done there. But let’s not be in a hurry because all these things which are ills of our society have been planted there for decades already”.

It’s high time Robredo is held accountable for the nonsense she keeps spewing. She also contributes to the dumbing down of Philippine society with her idiotic statements.

The second hearing actually turned into a Mocha Uson burning session. While the Assistant Secretary for Presidential Communications Operations Office was not available for the hearing, it did not stop her critics in the hearing to talk about her. That wasn’t right. Uson did not have a chance to defend herself. Her boss, Secretary of PCOO Martin Andanar, was around to answer questions about Uson’s activities, but Andanar was not in a good position to answer for her. The best he could do was to promise to speak to Uson.

There was nothing that the Yellow resource speakers said in the second hearing that they didn’t say during the first hearing, which made the second hearing pointless. It was obvious the Yellows, particularly Senator Bam Aquino, just wanted to emphasise once again that only Duterte supporters are purveyors of “fake news”. He even submitted a list of sites that he thinks is a source of fake news and wants the authorities to investigate who operates them. It seems Aquino is trying to stifle dissent by scaring independent bloggers who criticise him. Who is he to judge what fake news is anyway?

Embattled Rappler CEO Maria Ressa was also present in the Senate hearing as a resource person. Ressa is everywhere these days spewing the same narrative over and over painting Rappler as a victim of Duterte’s war against his critics from mainstream media. Never mind that she violated the Constitution and the Anti-Dummy Law. She needs all the exposure she can get to help her cause to “take back the Internet”. She lamented about the number hate speeches she has been receiving and claims they all come from Duterte’s supporters. She said that the end goal of hate speeches is to silence dissent. That’s odd. GRPost is older than Rappler. We’ve been receiving hate speech from the Yellows since Day One, but that didn’t stop us from expressing our dissent. Only crybabies get affected by trolls.

Not to be outdone, social commentator Tonyo Cruz too gave his two cents. He suggested that the government should have a “policy to ban hate speech, cyberbullying, name-calling, racism, and other discriminatory speech in official government platforms”. He would be the first to be banned because he is known for accusing other people he doesn’t agree with as paid hacks, mercenaries and frequent use of ad hominem arguments. His speech is full of hate against Duterte and his supporters. Even non-Duterte supporters who criticise the Liberal Party are not spared. He calls them Marcos supporters. He does not bother to back his accusations either. In other words, Tonyo is a hypocrite for advocating against hate speech and cyberbullying since he is guilty of doing the same things.

The once anonymous turned “darling of the media” blogger Jover Laurio of Pinoy Ako Blog was also present during the hearing. They were treating her like some kind of “expert” on fake news. Perhaps it’s because she is fond of spreading negative propaganda. She didn’t add anything significant to the hearing. Laurio simply accused Uson of creating divisiveness and hatred. I suppose she thinks she creates “unity” with her posts making fun of Duterte and wishing he and his family die in a plane crash. Just like her fellow yellows, Laurio thinks she has a monopoly on righteousness. Her blog site is biased against Duterte. She doesn’t write anything negative about the BS Aquino government. She even praises the Liberal Party even though a lot of the issues that haunt the Philippines today were due to the previous government’s neglect.

Laurio’s presence did not make any difference at all. Had she brought in Cocoy Dayao – the guy who setup her blog – that would have made a big difference. Dayao refuses to come out of hiding after he was outed as the person who allegedly registered Laurio’s blogsite. But I’m sure Laurio is still in contact with him. Poe could have asked Laurio about him.

Senator Manny Pacquiao promised to summon Dayao, Facebook and Google for the next hearing. It’s not clear if he was talking about Mark Zuckerberg and all the Google executives from Silicon Valley though. That would be interesting. But if they do attend, let’s hope Senator Poe will have a better agenda and a clearer objective. Otherwise, it will be a waste of everyone’s time.

28 Replies to “Senate inquiry on “fake news” turns into pointless finger-pointing exercise”

  1. Since the time Duterte was urged by millions run for president I could sense the tide is changing in the Philippines. Infuriating senate hearing like this make Filipinos realize how politicians and Oligarchs have been manipulating us using their positions and their power, so I don’t mind having their circus televised for Filipinos to witness. Gone are the days of apathy and hopelessness. So, as painful as it may be, I guess our Nation has to go through this process. I call this the Filipino (non-violent) civil war.

    1. the country has gone nowhere since Dueterte took office because he is just another PUPPETT of the Oligarchs, SURPRISED ? You should not be, he is a rich Man getting richer as he does the bidding of the Oligarchs while crooning the ‘MASSA’ into a stupor. All of the previous Presidents have promised a change and NOTHING has changed……Estrada,Arroyo,Aquino and now Dueterte, PUPPETTS of the Oligarchs, one and all !

      1. “crooning the ‘MASSA’ into a stupor.”

        Ironic since under this administration, the Masa have been better able to participate and understand what is going on with government and it is more transparent than ever before. Not like in the past when the Masa was in a “true” stupor watching Kris Aquino and her antics and remaining blind. In this regard the opposition has also been working overtime trying to “expose” the excesses of this administration and trying to rile them up like never before. So in a way, the Masa has never been in less of a stupor than they are today.

        “PUPPETTS of the Oligarchs”

        I recall Duterte went on a rant saying how the NPA shouldn’t be making enemies of this government as they should be fighting the current oligarchs (not paying their taxes, committing abuses and generally making people miserable etc.). Assuming the Masa and the NPA listened to that rant, it would at the very least get them to reconsider their revolutionary views. I can’t imagine how a puppet can put his “amo” on the spot like that.

        1. FACTS:
          All the ‘WISHING’ in the world will NOT change the fact that 30% of the Filipino people, 30 MILLION PEOPLE, live on $2/day. This has been the case since the Marcos Days.
          All the wishing in the world will not change the fact that Filipino small business’s are stifled and can not even get started because of bureaucratic red-tape and the HIGHEST ELECTRICITY RATES IN THE WORLD….Dueterte does NOTHING about it.
          All the wishing in the world will not change the fact that the Oligarchs are ILLEGALLY FRONT-RUNNING THE STOCK MARKET ,on a daily basis, and becoming massively wealthier…..Dueterte does NOTHING about it.

          I could go on and on, BUT I DO NOT LIKE YOU, you are too easily insulted (like all FLIPS) and too stoopid to see that the Man you have all elected is a FRAUD, a PUPPETT of the Oligarchs, and that you have all been duped AGAIN and are too proud to admit it and too stoopid to do something about it.
          Scratch Dueterte’s Ass and Lick Dueterte’s balls all you want…… changes nothing. The facts are the facts and Dueterte is a PUPPET=GIAPETO’s PINNOCHIO and that is all.A PUPPETT of the Oligarchs and the UNited States Dept. of State, nothing more and nothing less.


      2. Looks like LMAO has no eyes nor ears to see and hear all the good things that are happening back in the Philippiones which could have been done by previous administrations but no… they didn’t even do the simplest tasks done.

        Misleading people like you should be avoided and never to be listened to. You can yak or you’ll want (since it’s a democracy, remember and the President himself even encourages all to say whatever you want to say) but we all have the right not to listen to you. Yak all you want my dear…

  2. Another meaningless “SENATE’ ‘BLUE-RIBBON PANEL’ to ‘GET TO THE BOTTOM’ of some issue or other, HUH?

    The ONLY PLACE these meaningless panels ever gets anyone in the country, IS CIRCLING THE TOILET ! As the country gets near the bottom of the sewer heap of hap-less corruption riddled mess’s of a country, NO ONE STANDS UT as someone that can turn the country in a direction that will benefit the ‘MASSA’.

    Dueterte has done NOTHING BUT MURDER PEOPLE WITHOUT DUE PROCESS and has done nothing to combat the SKY HIGH ELECTRICITY RATES , same with the lack of manufacturing jobs in the country : ZIPPO, and Dueterte has done NOTHING to prevent the Oligarchs from front-running the STOCK MARKET on a daily basis.

    The people are going to realize ,and it best be sooner than later, that the Dueterte’s and Arroyo’s & Enrile’s and Aquino’s of the country MUST be eradicated in orer for a change to take place, UNTIL THEN BEND OVER, HERE IT COMES …..AGAIN !

    1. You do realize that the economy has grown, stock market has remained strong and unemployment has decreased in the past few quarters right?

      You trying to mislead us?

      1. LOOK MORON, 30 million people living on $2/day or less…..NO MANUFACTURING SECTOR, THE HIGHEST ELECTRICITY RATES IN THE WORLD.Oligarchs illegally front-running the stock market 24/7. The STOCK MARKET BENEFITS THE WEALTHY ONLY, NUMB-NUTS !!!
        I COULD GO ON ALL DAY, BUT BENIGNO DELETE’s my commenst and I will not waste my time trying to inform people who do not want to see that they have been duped AGAIN !!!

        LICK DUETERTE’s BALL’s AND SCRATCH DUETERTE’s ASS ALL DAY LONG….it changes none of the facts.

    2. LMAO likes to yak and say things that tend to mislead us all. His user name says it all about what he/she comments about – laughable and dismissable as mere nonsense. Fake news maker like you should not be listened to at all.

      He says Duterte murdered people yet could not say exactly how nor produce evidences and rely on fake news sources like Rappler, Inquirer and PAB to feed his so-called knowledge of what’s happening back in the Philippines.

      Oh we’ll let you yak and say things here, don’t worry. We’ll just let others see your comments here as laughable and void of sense.

      You are ike a mad person who cries “wolf” but there is none because there is really “no wolf”! Nobody listens really to someone who spews lies and hearsays again and again without any substantial and unquestionable evidences.

      1. and many of my better factual comments are deleted because your allegedly fearless leader, Benigno, can’t handle them…

  3. It is a waste of time, to investigate Fake News, Bloggers, Internet Trolls, Paid Hacks and other pests in the Cyberspace. Besides, we don’t even know who these people are. The internet blogs can be weaponized, directed against any person, or any political entity.

    Fake News originated from the Aquino Cojuangco political axis. The 1986 EDSA coup d’etat was a Fake News, that disinformed people ; it was called :an EDSA revolution. Fake News became Fake history. Ninoy Aquino, Jr. , became a “hero”. Cory Aquino became a “virtual saint”. The Aquino Cojuangco family, were given honors and accolade for 30 years. Inspite of the fact, that they are thieves , land grabbers and murderers.

    Fake News will continue, no matter what you do. Unless, there is a control on how people think.

  4. Absolute waste of time, want to know the origins of “Fake News”? research carefully on how the western media acted and reported the US elections in 2016, during and after. After the spectacular failure of Hillary Clinton and the corporate liberal media failed in swaying the election to her, they went with the “Fake News” narrative to either attack and silence their critics or defend their right to partisan propaganda, it’s amazing how if one thing happens in the US, it becomes a trend for other countries to follow. Look at Facebook, Twitter, and Google trying to fight “Fake News” with controlling information flow and “Fact Checkers”, there are even hearings and talks in the Government about “Fake News” in the West, look at the UK and Europe using “Fake News” to justify censorship and control of mass media and information. Right now this hearing is being used by Ressa and of course her corporate media defenders and Liberal Senators to attack, reduce the influence, and silence their opposition with some possible stupid Orwellian Law. If there was one thing to counter “Fake News” maybe we should go back to what we were taught about when confronting rumors and gossip, VERIFY IF IT’S TRUE, don’t blindly spread misinformation or being a dumb idiot without critical thinking, if we were serious about “Fake News” Tabloids and Celebrity gossip magazines would be banned and shutdown years ago.

  5. These people should know that ‘fake news’ exists HUNDREDS OF YEARS before Duterte and past administrations never even bother on it due to the Yellow narrative being the prevailing idea, which it started in 1986.

    I think, sometimes, this ‘fake news’ shtick is now like a bogeyman used by the opposition to cover up their failures.

  6. The point of the pointless finger-pointing exercise may have sailed way above the senator’s pointed head. But then this “hearing in aid of liposuction” scenario could be some form of alternative reality that parallels the mystic land of Yahoo…

    Round Heads and Pointed Heads is an epic parable play written by the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht etc. The play’s subtitle is Money Calls to Money and its authors describe it as “a tale of horror.” The play is a satirical anti-Nazi parable about a fictitious country called Yahoo in which the rulers maintain their control by setting the people with round heads against those with pointed heads, thereby substituting racial relations for their antagonistic class relations. (Wiki)

    1. So we are supposed to be impressed that you know who Bertolt Brecht is?or that you might have read one of his plays?
      There is no meaningful parallel, and the Philippines needs to get rid of what it has had since 1965, but lacks the courage to do what needs to be done. Rather than talk about a ridiculous ass play, the FLIPS NEED action in the order of the JACOBINS in the 1890’s and a real ‘REIGN OF TERROR’, to make any change occur in that pathetic ass country.

      1. The LAST thing this country needs is Filipinos inflicting a reign of terror on each other. They already have fun slicing each other up over stupid drunken disagreements: don’t give them any more excuses, or we’ll have a repeat of the Cambodian killing fields.

        1. No, because what invariably happens under such circumstances is that the idiots kill all the smart people. The net result is an entire population with the cognitive skills of retarded 10-year-olds. Visit Cambodia or Rwanda if you’d like to see how reigns-of-terror and mass slaughter work out. The French avoided the same fate mainly because Marat and Robespierre were killed before things got completely out of hand.

          The anti-intellectual climate in the Philippines would ensure a Cambodia-like result if the masses were encouraged to kill those they imagine are “responsible” for their self-inflicted degradation.

        2. The really smart ones would probably KNOW how NOT to get killed first. If natural selection favors the “idiots”, they would just self-destruct. So, that’s not how it likely works. Then again, that’s just my opinion.

        3. @klara: one of the things that drives me mad about Pinoys is that they think their opinions, or what they believe OUGHT to happen, should override what ACTUALLY happens. And they are perennially surprised when reality kicks them in the ass.

          I’m using the word ‘idiots’ as shorthand for those who have grown up with neither moral nor intellectual guidance, and there are a LOT of them in the Philippines. The fact that they’re both untrustworthy and intellectually stunted is the basic reason they’re poor. It’s very easy to put a bolo and a bottle of Tanduay into the hands of such people, and say, go and kill that rich Chinese guy over there; he’s your oppressor. They don’t have the brains to figure out “well, no, he isn’t”, or the moral courage to say “even if he is, murder is wrong”.

          The upshot is that those who are prepared to kill far outnumber those prepared to defend themselves. Once pogroms get started, they take on a life of their own – people start to enjoy killing, and they just can’t stop. This is reality. It is what happens. It is what happened to the Jews, the Armenians, the Cambodian intelligentsia, the Rwandan Tutsis. Unless you can think of an example, no minority targeted for destruction has ever successfully fought back. Your opinion is irrelevant.

          Of course a few smart people can sense the winds of change, and they leave before the excrement hits the impeller. But smart Filipinos have been doing that since forever. It has the same effect on the country as murder: a gradual reduction in average IQ and ability.

          As Benign0 said, the only thing that natural selection cares about is reproduction. And stupid, violent people often have a reproductive advantage.

        4. Well, a population of “stupid, violent people” wouldn’t get very far. Their talents and resources tend to get depleted. You might cite Filipinos as an example, but look at where we are now. We might be headed in that direction without the necessary drastic but calculated measures.

        5. >> A population of “stupid, violent people” wouldn’t get very far.

          Quite so. Have you looked out of your window lately?

          Anyway, my point was merely that killing lots of people usually causes more problems than it solves. This country might be overpopulated with oxygen thieves, but my personal belief is that “thou shalt not kill” is an absolute. If there’s going to be a revolution, it has to be one that doesn’t involve finger-pointing and slaughtering, because it WILL get out of hand. It always does.

        6. Marius: “my personal belief is that thou shalt not kill is an absolute”

          You’re entitled to that belief as I also have mine.
          I try to understand rules and learn how they apply and when they don’t–with a natural understanding that I could not absolutely depend and be unquestioning of those rules all the time.

        7. @marius, yes you’re right. Natural selection is driven more by reproductive than by intellectual prowess of a species.

  7. There is an old and very wise Native American saying: Every time you point a finger in scorn—there are three remaining fingers pointing right back at you.


      AND…its not my country !!! I just live in it !

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