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Tone deaf and ironic: BAYAN slams ‘Run Sara Run’ motorcade

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) scored the motorcade on Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) Thursday morning urging Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to file her candidacy in next year’s presidential elections.

BAYAN secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said it is “strangely ironic” that the motorcade was held on the 35th anniversary of the 1986 uprising that brought down the 14-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

“While it is their right to hold an event, the timing is tone deaf and seems oblivious to the pandemic and the worsening economic crisis,” Reyes said.

In many ways, the motorcade was inappropriate and tended to insult those who fought against the Marcos dictatorship, Reyes added.

A group calling itself the Alyansa ni Inday Movement (AIM) held a “Run Sara Run” motorcade along EDSA that stopped over at the People Power Monument as various groups and the Quezon City government alternately held commemorative programs.

Some of the group’s placards claimed the Davao City mayor is the “NEW FACE of People Power.”

Reyes said it is strangely ironic that some groups would use the uprising’s anniversary to call for the perpetuation of one family in power that is both “a dictatorship and a dynasty.”

“These are the more pressing matters that need attention, not early campaigning or electioneering,” Reyes said.

Duterte-Carpio, daughter of the incumbent president, has in the past downplayed the uprising’s importance in the country’s history.

“I find it hard to understand why this bloodless revolution has become the standard definition of freedom for our country and this standard is forced down our throats by a certain group of individuals who think they are better than everyone else,” Duterte-Carpio said in a response to Archbishop Socrates Villegas in 2017.

Villegas criticized the Duterte administration as a shame to the spirit of EDSA because of its human rights record.

Duterte-Carpio had also had been repeatedly accused of being pro-Marcos, evidenced by her close friendship with Senator Imee Marcos.

President Duterte himself is believed to be a Marcos supporter.

President Duterte has repeatedly denied that her daughter is a presidential candidate while the mayor herself said she has no plans for the presidency. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Facebook removes fake accounts linked to PNP and AFP

Fake social media accounts meant to mislead Filipinos and supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte are linked to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Facebook revealed.

In an announcement Tuesday, September 22, Facebook Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher said the company removed accounts found to have links with both government agencies.

“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to Philippine military and Philippine police,” Facebook reported.

Gleicher said Facebook’s investigation found two separate networks originating from the Philippines and China that violate the company’s policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

“We removed 155 accounts, 11 Pages, 9 Groups and 6 Instagram accounts for violating our policy against foreign or government interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government entity,” Gleicher said.  

In the Philippines, Facebook removed 57 fake Facebook accounts, 31 Pages and 20 Instagram accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers.

Gleicher explained the people behind the activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts as a central part of their operations to mislead people about who they are and what they are doing.

He said that Facebook found the full scope of the activity after civil society in the country and news organization Rappler brought it to the company’s attention.

In support of the Dutertes

Facebook said that the networks focused on posting content supportive of Duterte and her daughter and Davao City mayor Sara Carpio’s potential run in the 2022 Presidential elections.

(Malacanan photo)

They also posted in Chinese, Filipino and English about global news and current events, including Beijing’s interests in the South China Sea and Hong Kong.

The fake accounts also uploaded criticisms of Rappler, issues relevant to overseas Filipino workers as well as praise and some criticism of China.

The network in the Philippines consisted of several clusters of connected activity that relied on fake accounts to evade enforcement, post content, comment and manage pages, Facebook reported.

The operation appeared to have accelerated between 2019 and 2020, the company said.

“They posted in Filipino and English about local news and events including domestic politics, military activities against terrorism, pending anti-terrorism bill, criticism of communism, youth activists and opposition, the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” Gleicher said.  

The accounts spend around $1,100 for ads on Facebook that are paid for in Philippine peso, he added.

A post by one of the removed fake accounts. (Taken from the Facebook announcement)

How much are the PNP and AFP spending?

Human rights group Karapatan welcomed Facebook’s move it said is “a damning evidence of State-sponsored online attacks, red-tagging and mass deception in the social media platform.”

“We welcome Facebook’s move as urgently-needed action to put a halt on the worsening red-tagging and State-backed disinformation campaigns on the platform and we hope that Facebook can do more,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

Karapatan said it was among the organizations that complained to Facebook and the Commission on Human Rights through a June 9 letter.

The group said that the more pressing question, however, is whether taxpayers’ money was used to fund the fake Facebook accounts.

Karapatan said the substantial amount reported by Facebook is wasted on the Duterte government’s efforts to spread disinformation as well as undermine and vilify dissent.

“We are in the middle of a pandemic and instead, the investigation conducted by Facebook highly suggests that the government is spending our taxes to weaponize social media to spread lies online and to attack its critics — and the actual amount of money they have spent and pocketed can be much, much higher,” Palabay said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

On candidates’ honesty

“Walang isang kandidato diyan na hindi nagsisinungaling, kaya hindi dapat nagiging issue ang honesty ngayon.” (There is no single candidate who does not lie, so honesty should not be an issue now.)–Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, defending her Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) candidates accused of dishonesty and corruption.

(Cartoon by Mark Suva/Kodao)

On Duterte’s capibility for malicious mischief and social disaster

By Prof. Jose Ma. Sison

Duterte may be seriously sick physically and mentally. But he can still walk and give orders to his minions. While still alive, he is capable of doing a lot of malicious mischief and inflicting social disaster on the Filipino people.

For instance, he has created a caretaker committee headed by Inday Sara to rule the country, instead of letting his constitutional successor serve as caretaker, while he is out on one more expensive tour cum medical treatment in Israel.

He and his co-conspirators are still hell-bent on carrying out a discernibly four-stage plot of establishing a fascist dictatorship ala Marcos and imposing it on the people. Duterte himself has on various occasions volubly indicated these four stages:

Stage 1. Proclamation of martial law nationwide as a result of supposed bombing incidents ascribed to the Islamic State and NPA tactical offensives.

Stage 2. Duterte´s “revolutionary government,” which is actually a counter-revolutionary coup against the 1987 Constitution under the pretext of a counter-coup against an imaginary or real US CIA coup in favor of the opposition.

Stage 3. Due to stages 1 and 2 above, effective control of the results of the May 2019 elections to ensure charter change through the needed majority in both houses of Congress.

Stage 4. Charter change to federalism as façade for fascist dictatorship.

Duterte and his co-conspirators are clever and brutal enough to plot and carry out their evil plan. But time and circumstances are against them. Below are some of the major factors against them:

1. The rise and spread of the broad united front and mass movement against the Duterte tyranny, especially its practice of mass murder, corruption and rapid deterioration of the economy,

2, The growing bankruptcy of the reactionary government, the widening budgetary and trade deficits, the mounting tax burden and the soaring prices of basic goods and services, and

3. The effective resistance of the armed revolutionary movement based in the countryside.#

STATEMENT: The NUJP on Duterte siblings’ threats against local broadcaster

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines views with concern the statements of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte against broadcaster Dodong Solis of Radyo ni Juan.

The mayor has resorted to personal attacks in response to commentaries of Solis on the agrarian unrest between farmers and Lapanday Foods Corp.; the recent attack of New People’s Army rebels against the company that unfortunately resulted in the death of a bystander; and on statements she issued, including her husband Manases “Mans” Carpio’s association with Lapanday as lawyer.

Solis’ remarks are part of his work as a broadcaster and an exercise of his Constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of expression.

The mayor has the same right to refute these remarks.

But in a statement, the mayor said:

“Naluoy kos imong asawa, iyaha kinabuhi nagdepende ra intawn sa imong babà, di pud siya kaayo makalayo kay gamay rapud baya imong utok,” Duterte said in a Facebook post. (I pity your wife, your life only depends on your mouth, she can’t leave you because you have a small brain. If I were her, I would leave you.)

“I am fair game but do not touch my husband. Open your mouth again about my husband and I will tell your wife and your entire family about your secrets.”

Her brother and vice mayor Paolo Duterte exercised the same power on Solis, with the former threatening to beat up the broadcaster.

“Asa man imong pangutok? Kinsa ka? Wa ko kaila nimo! Sikat ka o gapasikat?” said the vice mayor in an open letter posted on his Facebook page. (Where’s your brain huh? Who are you anyway? I don’t know you! Are you famous or just trying to be one?)

“Ayaw ko unahi kay ug imo hilabtan akong pamilya di ko mag duha duha ug bukbok nimo.”
(Don’t start with me, because if you do, I won’t think twice to beat you up.)

Resorting to personal attacks and veiled threats is alarming especially coming from an official who has physically attacked and publicly humiliated a court sheriff whom she perceived to have defied her instructions in the demolition of houses of informal settlers.

The mayor is no ordinary person. She wields influence and power not only due to her office but as daughter of the highest official of the country.

As a public official, she is subject to commentaries and criticisms especially from the press and should not respond with personal attacks and threats.