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Republic of thePhilippines

Congress of the Philippines


SENATE
Pasay City

COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA

Date : Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Time : 9:30 a.m.

Venue : Sen. Claro M. Recto Room


2nd Floor, Senate of the Philippines
Financial Center, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City

Agenda : PROLIFERATION OF FAKE AND/OR MISLEADING


NEWS AND FALSE INFORMATION:

P.S. RES. NO. 315 - RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE


SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND
MASS MEDIA AND OTHER APPROPRIATE
COMMITTEE/S TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN AID OF
LEGISLATION, ON THE MASSIVE PROLIFERATION OF
FAKE, ERRONEOUS, DISTORTED, FABRICATED
AND/OR MISLEADING NEWS AND FALSE
INFORMATION BY SOME GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS,
WITH THE END IN VIEW OF ENSURING THAT THE
PUBLIC WILL NOT BE DECEIVED AND THAT
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WILL NOT ABUSE THE
PLATFORM ACCORDED TO THEM BY SPREADING
PROPAGANDA AND LIES (by Senator Trillanes)

P.S. RES. NO. 271 - RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE


APPROPRIATE SENATE COMMITTEE TO CONDUCT AN
INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE
PROLIFERATION OF MISINFORMATION AND FAKE
NEWS SITES IN SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS,
PARTICULARLY ON FACEBOOK (by Senator
Pangilinan)

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Committee on Public Information and Mass Media
October 4, 2017 (Wednesday)
Page 2

P.S. RES. NO. 259 - RESOLUTION URGING THE


SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION
AND MASS MEDIA, AND OTHER APPROPRIATE
COMMITTEE/S TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN
AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE MASSIVE
PROLIFERATION OF FALSE, ERRONEOUS,
DISTORTED, FABRICATED AND OR MISLEADING
NEWS AND INFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA AS
WELL AS ON THE SO CALLED SOCIAL MEDIA
TROLLS IN ORDER TO COME UP WITH REMEDIAL
LEGISLATION TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC FROM
MANIPULATION THROUGH THE SPREAD OF
FALSE, ERRONEOUS, DISTORTED, FABRICATED
AND/OR MISLEADING NEWS AND
INFORMATION, WITH THE END IN VIEW OF
COMING UP WITH A VIABLE SYSTEM TO HOLD
THE AUTHORS, DISTRIBUTORS AND/OR
PURVEYORS OF THE SAME RESPONSIBLE AND
ACCOUNTABLE UNDER THE LAW FOR THE
CONTENTS THEY GENERATE AND/OR
DISSEMINATE (by Senator Trillanes)

SENATE BILL NO. 1492 - AN ACT PENALIZING


THE MALICIOUS DISTRIBUTION OF FALSE NEWS
AND OTHER RELATED VIOLATIONS (by Senator
Villanueva)

MANIFESTATION OF SENATORS SOTTO,


PACQUIAO, VILLAR, GORDON, PANGILINAN,
ZUBIRI, HONTIVEROS AND ANGARA ON THE
ARTICLE “#SILENTNOMOREPH”

ATTENDANCE

SENATORS:

HON. GRACE POE - Chairperson


HON. RICHARD J. GORDON - Member
HON. JOEL VILLANUEVA - Member
HON. RISA HONTIVEROS - Member
HON. FRANCIS “KIKO” PANGILINAN - Member
HON. EMMANUEL “MANNY” D. PACQUIAO - Guest Senator
HON. MARIA LOURDES NANCY S. BINAY - Guest Senator
HON. CYNTHIA A. VILLAR - Guest Senator

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Committee on Public Information and Mass Media
October 4, 2017 (Wednesday)
Page 3

HON. JUAN MIGUEL “MIGZ” F. ZUBIRI - Guest Senator


HON. PAOLO BENIGNO “BAM” AQUINO IV - Guest Senator
HON. ANTONIO “SONNY” F. TRILLANES IV - Guest Senator
HON. VICENTE C. SOTTO III - Ex Officio Member
HON. FRANKLIN M. DRILON - Ex Officio Member

GUESTS/RESOURCE PERSONS:

Hon. Joel Egco - Undersecretary, Presidential


Communications Operations
Office (PCOO)
Ms. Ana Maria Paz-Banaag - Assistant Secretary, PCOO
Ms. Mocha Uson - Assistant Secretary, PCOO
Ms. Rose Beatrix Cruz-Angeles - Social Media Strategist, PCOO
Atty. Edwin Lacierda - Former Presidential Spokesperson /
DDI Strategic Communications
Atty. Abigail Valte - Former Assistant Presidential
Spokesperson; Chief Operations
Officer, DDI
Strategic Communications
Mr. Manuel Luis “Manolo” Quezon - Former Undersecretary, Presidential
Communications Development and
Strategic Planning Office
Atty. Chad Muscoso - Legal Consultant, Department
of Information and Communications
Technology (DICT)
Mr. Manuel Eduarte - Chief, Cybercrime Division, National
Bureau of Investigations (NBI)
Mr. Victor Lorenzo - Head, Digital Forensic Laboratory, NBI
Atty. Antonio La Viña - Dean, College of Law
Ateneo de Manila University
Atty. Florin Hilbay - Professor, UP College of Law
Atty. Gilbert Santos - National Privacy Commission (NPC)
Atty. Rudolph Jularbal - Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng
Pilipinas (KBP)
Ms. Chi Almario-Gonzalez - Head, Futures Standards
and Practices, ABS-CBN
Mr. Jaymark Tordecilla - GMA News Online
Mr. Leon G. Flores III - Executive Director, Aksyong
Kabayanihan para sa Organisadong
Pagbabago (ANGKOP)
Mr. Rey Joseph Nieto - Blogger, Thinking Pinoy
Mr. Abelardo S. Ulanday - Editor-in-Chief, Inquirer.net
Ms. Ellen T. Tordesillas - President, VERA Files
Mr. Roby Alampay - Editor-in-Chief, Interaksyon/TV5

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Committee on Public Information and Mass Media
October 4, 2017 (Wednesday)
Page 4

Atty. Eugenio “Toto” Villareal - Law and Media Ethics Professor,


Ateneo Law School and former
MTRCB Chairman
Mr. Franco Mabanta - Chief Executive Officer, Social
Media Strategist/Digital Influencer
Dr. Ethel Pineda - Digital Influencer
Ms. Alessandra Marcos - Digital Influencer
Mr. Mark Lopez - Blogger
Mr. Mike Acebedo Lopez - Blogger

SENATE SECRETARIAT:

Atty. Antonette B. Cordero - Committee Secretary


Atty. Nineveh B. Lao - Committee Secretary
Ms. Cristina D.C. Astrero - Committee Stenographer
Ms. Christine M. Nery - Committee Stenographer
Ms. Araceli D. Masicap - Committee Stenographer
Ms. Ma. Emperatriz L. Novero - Committee Stenographer
Ms. Cecilia T. Sotto - Committee Stenographer
Ms. Jocelyn A. Dela Cruz - Committee Stenographer
Ms. Norma G. Dizon - Committee Stenographer
Ms. Bathaluman H. Gonzales - Committee Stenographer
Ms. Maribel P. Mendoza - Committee Stenographer
Ms. Sherill M. Villadiego - Committee Stenographer
Ms. Jeanne M. Baisa - Committee Stenographer
Ms. Rosemarie J. Ortiz - Committee Stenographer
Ms. Jeniffer F. De Silva - Committee Support Staff

(For complete list, please see attached Attendance Sheet.)

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COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
CDAstrero I-1 October 04, 2017 9:32 a.m. 1

AT 9:32 A.M., HON. GRACE POE, CHAIRPERSON OF


THE COMMITTEE, CALLED THE HEARING ORDER.

THE CHAIRPERSON. This hearing of the Committee on Public

Information is now called to order.

Let me greet you first good morning.

Thank you for being here on time.

I am sure that many of us begin the day the same way and end

it by checking our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. We

check our Facebook, texts, notifications before we check on our loved

ones. And at night, instead of sharing stories over dinner, we share

jokes on the family Viber group. If these have become our daily

routine, then most likely we’ve been waking up to and going to bed

with news, some fake, mostly, real, I think.

Someone once said that if it’s fake, it isn’t news, it’s propaganda,

misrepresentation, misinformation or to put it more bluntly, outright

lies. So I think, that, first, we should differentiate news from opinion.

The term “news” is defined as a report of recent events, opinion. On

the other hand, it’s a view or judgment formed about something that is

not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

Currently, the term “fake news” as used by the public means a

wide array of things, from false reports to propaganda and to true

reports that have been spun out of proportion. This nation is churning

out fake news in an industrial scale that it seems that while

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CDAstrero I-1 October 04, 2017 9:32 a.m. 2

manufacturing is down, fake news factories are booming; and that

while agriculture output is low, that of troll farms is high.

Fake news has become so pervasive through the use of bots and

trolls and these fake accounts are able to sway public opinion, shape

civic discourse, affect social interaction and influence government. It

is not only in politics that fake news is blurring the truth and deepening

the divide. It has encroached in other fields as well. Fake news is the

e-version of the “budol-budol” which many of our people unable to

distinguish fact from fiction fall victims too. It is not even farfetched

that in the future, fake news can trigger wars.

Alam ninyo mga kababayan, the Internet is important to us but it

has also its weaknesses which fake news has exploited. First,

broadband should have made us broad-minded. But thanks to fake

news, it has kept many of us imprisoned in our own narrow political

beliefs. Hindi nga ba Internet is deemed to be an instrument for

liberation, technology. But now it is being used somehow to enslave

people to a certain dogma. Kaya nga ang sabi nila, fake news is in the

eye of the beholder. Who determines it through its colored lenses?

Dilaw, pula, asul. Iyan, mga kababayan ko, ang resulta ng ating color-

coded politics. Imbes alamin kung magaling ang isang ideya, ang

unang tanong kaagad ay kung saang kampo galing iyan.

Second, while the Internet also promotes connectivity, it has

sadly been used to erect firewalls within and among us that prevent

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dialogue dahil maraming natatakot baka ma-bully. And when

conversation does not happen, the forging of consensus so essential to

our democracy is affected.

Kaya nga, third, hindi lang usaping legal or political ang

pagsusuri ng fake news phenomenon. Dapat din pag-aralan ang

sociological impact nito. Has fake news doomed civilized debate

turning it into shouting matches, dividing families and friends? Has

fake news created a cynical citizenry, distrustful of authority and even

our very institutions? Has it embroiled us in a permanent state of

cyber war? We also have to ask that while it is the role of each

individual to vet sources and check facts, what is the role of the

government in addressing the lack of news literacy? Should news

literacy be required by schools?

In Taiwan, school kids are now being taught media literacy in an

effort to help them identify news from hoaxes. Bagamat madali

tayong magalit sa fake news, hindi madaling solusyunan ito. There are

free speech considerations. Media opposition to the government is not

new. In fact, media is nicknamed the fourth estate or the fourth

branch of government because it is expected to perform the role of a

watchdog. It is expected to provide a check against the abuses of the

other branches of the state. A blogger should also not be penalized for

his views. But just how far can journalists or ordinary individuals go in

speaking against the government? Paano mo ituturo ang online dos

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CDAstrero I-1 October 04, 2017 9:32 a.m. 4

and don’ts sa mahigit isang daang milyong tao? First, how far before

free speech can be called libel?

Today, under Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention

Act, libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code is

committed through a computer system or any other similar means

which may be devised in the future is considered a cybercrime offense.

The Penal Code, “Libel is committed when a person makes

against another, a public and malicious imputation of a crime or a vice

or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition status or

circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a

natural or juridical person or to blacken the memory of one who is

dead.”

In several cases, the Supreme Court held that for libel to hold

water in the case of public officials or public figures, the higher

standard of actual malice must be satisfied to attain conviction. Actual

malice or malice, in fact, is committed when the offender makes the

defamatory statement that the knowledge that it is false or with

reckless disregard of whatever it is false or not. Improving actual

malice, the burden of proof lies with the offended party. Second, when

people in authority habitually employ alternative facts that it fuels the

fake news phenomenon, can they be held liable?

The phenomenon of junk news and its dissemination over social

media platforms have transformed, some say, destroyed political

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debates. It is important to ask these questions because unlawful

means of publication and unlawful utterances are already penalized by

Article 154 of the Penal Code. Under our law, “Any person, who

printed, published, or caused to be published as news any false news

which may endanger public order or cause damage to the interest or

credit of the state shall be punished. The same applies for any person

who by the same means or by words, utterances or speeches shall

encourage disobedience to the law or to the constituted authorities or

praise, justify or extol any act punished by law.”

Alam niyo po noong pumasok ako sa pulitika, ang sabi ko,

minoisturize (moisturize) ko na iyong balat ko ng Teflon para hindi

tumalab sa akin ang mga puna. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, “The politician

who complains against criticism is like a ship captain who complains

about the sea.” In short, par for the course.

Noong nagsimula ang online bashing lalo na noong nakaraang

halalan, ang sabi ko sa sarili ko, the price of incumbency is eternal

bashing. Pero lately … /cda

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CMNERY II-1 October 4, 2017 9:42 a.m. 1

THE CHAIRPERSON. ... Pero lately, napapansin ko, kailangan

ng may push back sa mga maling balita kasi apektado na rin ang ating

demokrasya. If unchecked, fake news cultivates a culture of lying. If

purveyors are allowed to get away with their lies, they embolden

government officials to also lie in order to escape accountability, crash

dissent and commit illegal acts with impunity.

If fake news is not challenged, it will create lynch mobs out of

certain people turning them into an army of character assassins who

can be unleased with just one meme to destroy an idea, a person or an

institution. At mayroong panganib din na ang maling online behavior

ay siyang maging asta natin sa totoong buhay. Kung hahayaan natin

iyan, baka lumaki ang mga bata ngayon na intolerant sa pananaw ng

iba at madaling maniwala sa haka-haka.

We need to expose them to a kind of conversation that educates

and enlightens, that relies on the truth and not the kind that

disrespects facts. We need to teach them that they can disagree

without being disagreeable. That when arguing, they should focus on

substance and never on slurs.

In this hearing, we will try to address these issues and more. If

we want to regulate news, are we technologically capable of doing

that? Will legislation possibly create a chilling effect on all of us? In

the same manner that we are considering punishing individual

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CMNERY II-1 October 4, 2017 9:42 a.m. 2

purveyors of fake news, shouldn’t we also hold public officials who

release wrong and misleading information accountable?

Perhaps our resource persons, Dean Tony La Viña or Professor

Florin Hilbay can explain briefly the implications of these statements to

us, laymen. I will give also my colleagues, of course, the chance to

ask the questions.

This hearing was called also because of a certain resolution that

was filed and upon the request of my colleagues. I would like to

acknowledge and thank the presence of our Majority Leader, Senator

Tito Sotto, who is here with us, Senator Manny Pacquiao and Senator

Kiko Pangilinan.

And then before I introduce our resource persons, Senator Tito

Sotto has an opening statement as well as Senator Pacquiao.

SEN. SOTTO. Thank you, Madam Chair.

And thank you for calling this public hearing. I know that I was

able to somewhat trigger the Committee to do this since I took on the

floor because of a—I don’t know what to call it. But anyway, part of

technology. And so allow me very briefly, Madam Chair, technology

which has become an integral part of our society and in fact our

everyday living, it’s part of everything we do now including learning,

teaching, part of work, simple and complex things, communicate. It

actually simplifies in so many ways. There are countless ways on how

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technology positively affects us. However, it also provides a rich

environment for criminal activity.

Now, in the United States, cybercrime or computer crime is one

of the top concerns. Cybercrimes were first reported and became

evident in the 1970s and it continues to grow and evolve over time.

Despite the greater awareness and advance countermeasures,

cybercrimes continue to climb. Every day smarter criminals find

creative and innovative ways to perpetrate cybercrimes.

In the Philippines, according to an article from the Department of

Justice by Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy, it was only in 2000 when

the “I Love You” virus was unleashed globally that placed the country

on the global cyber map which led to the passage of the first Anti-

Cybercrime Law, that is the E-Commerce Act of 2000, although the

first law that comprehensively dealt really with cybercrimes is Republic

Act 10175, otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Now, according to the Philippine National Police, Madam Chair,

Anti-Cybercrime Group, the unit of the PNP, in 2015 said that the Top

5 cybercrime complaints received were: one, online scams; two, online

libel; three, online threats; four, identity theft; and fifth, photo and

video voyeurism. However, for the year 2016, topping the most

common complaints are: one, online libel; two, online scams; three,

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identity theft; four, online threats; and still in the fifth spot is photo

and video voyeurism.

Now, recently, cyber criminals are proliferating fake and/or

misleading news and false information as well as publishing articles

that imputed malicious accusations against public officials. Of course,

we feel that the intent is to cause damage or destroy a government

institution like the Senate which are treated as the version of truth for

some and influence public opinion on the person or institution, the

subject of the article.

Now, what makes the situation worse is the fact that these

criminals are hiding behind or through false names and/or fake

websites. Sabi nga nila, “Mga duwag.” Because in the past, those who

went against the Marcoses were not afraid to show off their faces.

They were on the streets. Harapang lumalaban. Ngayon, malalakas

ang loob nitong iba dahil titirahin ang gobyerno, nagtatago sa likod ng

mga computer.

Madam Chair, we, the government officials, are at the center of

this issue. We are the usual victims of these fake news and online

libels. I hope that in this hearing, we could uncover those behind the

fake names and/or fake websites and determine where to draw the line

between freedom of speech and indecency or criminality and find

solutions to this problem through legislation.

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Perhaps, Madam Chair, the incident is a blessing in disguise on

the so-called resolution that excluded seven senators. I find it as a

blessing in disguise because on my part I’ve been bashed a number of

times. I was the favorite victim of cyber bullies since 2012 on the

issue of the RH Bill. So I take it in stride. It’s all right, if you don’t like

me, you don’t like my face, you don’t like what I stand for, you don’t

believe in the statements that I’m saying, that’s fine with me. Okay

lang kahit anong pintas ang sabihin mo. But once you start hitting me

and calling me names and charging me with crimes that I did not

commit, my first option is to hunt you down.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you, Senator Sotto.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao and then Senator Kiko will have their

opening statement.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Alam ba ninyo kung ano ang nakapukaw sa aking galit noong

nakaraang linggo? Iyong mga news report na nagsabing only seven

out of 23 senators did not sign the resolution calling to stop the killings

of minors. Dahil sa PS Resolution 516, isa ako sa pitong senador na

binatikos sa social media dahil hindi kami nakapirma sa nasabing

resolution. Pinapalabas na suportado namin ang extrajudicial killings

at pagpatay sa mga inosente. Hindi po ito tama na sabihing hindi

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pumirma ang taong hindi naman nabigyan ng pagkakataon na

pumirma. Ni anino nga ng resolution hindi ko nakita. Ayon sa press

release mula kay Atty. Herminio Bagro III, Chief of Staff ng opisina ni

Senator Kiko Pangilinan, nagpadala sila ng kopya ng resolution sa

official e-mail nila Senators Richard Gordon ... /cmn

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SEN. PACQUIAO. … Senators Richard Gordon, Gringo Honasan,

Cynthia Villar, Miguel Zubiri at Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III.

Paano po ako makakapirma sa isang resolution na hindi ko natanggap,

nabasa o napag-aralan? Hindi ito nagkataon lang. Ito ay sinadya.

Kaming dalawa ni Senate President Koko Pimentel ay hindi kasama sa

listahan ng mga pinadalhan. Hindi ito nagkataon lang, ito ay sinadya.

Si Senator de Lima na nakakulong ay nakapirma, hindi ito nagkataon

lang, ito ay sinadya.

Madam Chair, pinipigilan ko lang iyong galit ko. Hindi naman

ako ipinanganak kahapon o hindi kami ipinanganak kahapon para hindi

namin malalaman ang mga katangahan na ginagawa nila sa amin.

Hindi na bago sa akin ang binabatikos o minamaliit sa social media.

Nasanay na ako niyan. Inaatake ang aking pagkatao at nadadamay

pati rin ang aking pamilya. Pero hindi dahil nasanay na ako, hindi

puwede ko nang palampasin ito.

If news is considered as the rough draft of history, I don’t want

to be written in this manner and be remembered as someone who

supports the killing of the innocents because that is not true.

Uulitin ko po. Kinokondena ko ang mga pagpatay sa mga

inosente lalung-lalo na ang mga batang walang kamuwang-muwang.

Ako man ay lubos na nanghihinayang sa mga buhay na nasasayang.

Hindi dahil hindi nagawang pumirma sa resolusyon na ito ay

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nangangahulugan pabor na kami sa mga pangyayaring karahasan sa

lansangan.

The issue is how we will project it on media. The claim that we

refuse to sign is totally unfair and misleading the news reports that

came out were deceptive and malicious. Ito ay sinadya upang kami ay

siraan at sirain. Maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw iyan. This is not

merely an attack to an individual to the so-called “7 Deadly Sens,” but

an attack to the Senate as an institution. We do not want to be

remembered as senators who refused to put an end to the senseless

killings.

Sa mga bloggers katulad ng mga nasa likod ng Facebook page

na #silentnomore, I respect the people’s freedom and expression.

Malaya tayo. Malaya po tayong magpahayag ng ating opinion, pabor

man o hindi, sa administration. Ngunit huwag nating kalimutan ang

ating responsibilidad na magsabi ng totoo na may respeto. Even our

rights have limitations. Our right to express our opinions does not give

us the right to maliciously attack other people. To the news reports of

mainstream media who committed an international error in their

report, it is your responsibility to correct your misleading and

deceptive reports.

Ang fake news ay parang lason na dahan-dahang sumisira sa

ating mga kaisipan, sa ating lipunan at sa ating bansa. Karapatan po

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natin na malaman ang katotohanan. Umaasa ako na sa pamamagitan

nitong committee hearing malaman natin ang punot dulo ng isyung ito

at mahinto itong paglaganap ng lason na nakakasira ng kaisipan ng

mga taong walang kaalam-alam sa katotohanan.

Madam Chair, before anything else, mamaya na lang ako mag-

move for request to Cocoy—if he is not here, I will move to invite here

in the Senate to attend the hearing.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Pacquiao, I think you were

referring to a certain Cocoy Dayao. We would like you to know that we

sent him an invitation but for some reason he is not present here

today. Again, that might affirm our suspicion all along that there are

certain people hiding behind the curtain of anonymity.

But before we continue on that, Senator Kiko Pangilinan has a

brief opening statement as well.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

And to our distinguished colleagues in the Senate and our

resource persons, magandang umaga po sa kanilang lahat.

Nabanggit din lang po iyong Senate Resolution 516 at iyong

pagruruta nito, nais nating bigyang diin na base sa mga pangyayari at

based on the facts at hindi ho sa fake news, ito ho ang naganap.

Iyong resolution po was filed September 25, Monday. Noong

Miyerkules, September 20, or five days before the filing, labing-anim

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na senador na po ang pumirma sa resolusyon. Ang instruction ko sa

ating chief-of-staff ay hanapan pa ng paraan para makakuha pa ng

dagdag na mga pirma. At base sa instruction na ito, on 12:22 p.m. of

Thursday, September 21, the following day, my office sent a copy of

the resolution to the publicly available as well as official emails of other

senators— Senators Gordon, Honasan, Villar, Zubiri and the Majority

Leader. In the email on September 21, four days before we filed it,

we had informed our colleagues that 16 senators had already signed

the resolution and that we requested that if they were willing to

sponsor it. Senator Gordon’s office acknowledge receipt of the email

on September 21 at 4:41 p.m. So, that was Thursday—Friday,

Saturday, Sunday. Monday at 5:30 p.m., September 25, we filed the

resolution. So, on the following day, September 26, at 3:35 p.m.,

during the session, the Senate resolution was read on the floor.

Binasa ho ito stating the title and the names of the 16 co-authors.

At ni-refer po ng ating Senate President sa committee nina Senators

Lacson at Hontiveros. So, base ho dito, kung nais po naming ilihim sa

mga kapwa nating senador dapat siguro hindi na ho namin pinadalhan

ng email at dapat ho siguro ay basta na lang pinayl (file).

So, sana po, base diyan sa paliwanag na iyan ay maliwanagan

ang ilan nating mga kasamahan at ang media na wala hong attempt

na ito ay ilihim sa mga kapwa nating senador at kung mayroon mang

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hindi magandang naging reporting ay wala na sa atin iyan at alam po

naman natin kung gaano katindi ang fake news, ang paninira, kaliwa’t

kanan, sa social media.

At dahil nga riyan, tayo po ang isa sa mga nag-author ng

resolusyon para ho imbestigahan ang fake news—matagal na po. I

think three or four months ago. And we are thankful that we are now

hearing this morning. Pero nalilihis ho tayo doon sa usapin ng fake

news, balikan lang po natin very briefly ang fake news. Pag-usapan po

natin.

Balikan po natin yung kaso ni Kian. Last August, sabi po ni Sr.

Supt. Chito Bersaluna, under oath, and he verified that Kian delos

Santos as a drug pusher, na-verify na nila through social media. Hindi

po ba? Sabi nakita na daw sa balita sa social media na may

connection daw si Kian sa drugs. And I quote, “We based some

information na lumalabas sa social media. Iyong lang po basis namin,

sir, after na noong incident, sir.” The backlash after this statement was

profound. Filipinos took to social media to express their outrage

towards the use of online platforms to justify or be the basis for such

operations. Netizens took to defending the memory of Kian against an

onslaught of Internet “trolls bent on politicizing the tragedy.

Cautionary art cards became viral”, and events organized online

translated into mass protests offline. Iyong ganitong pag-apaw ng

20
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
ADMasicap III-1 October 4, 2017 9:52 a.m. 6

sentimiyento, pakikiramay ng mga tao mula sa malayo, this is what

social media and the Internet affords us. There are many more

instances in our recent history, ladies and gentlemen, that show the

positive aspect as well as the flaws of social media. Positive because it

allows easy access to information that was not readily available …

/admasicap

21
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
MELNOVERO IV-1 October 4, 2017 10:02 a.m. 1

SEN. PANGILINAN. … that was not readily available before.

Positive because it allows for a space where people are able to express

their thoughts on issues. Positive because it bridges gaps to allow

conversation between fellowmen, between the politician and the people

they are serving. Such dialogue is important for a robust democracy.

Democracy demands descent, equally as important though, democracy

demands that we treat truth as an imperative. And when truth

becomes subverted, whether through money or coercion or the desire

for power, so too to the flaws in the design reveal themselves. Opinion

mutates into propaganda; stories turn into lies.

Today, as is evident not only here but around the globe, interest

groups have found ways to exploit the system ensuring that they are

narrative, their truth is the one that engages more people. Even some

public officials have taken to social media to peddle falsehoods. Who

guards what comes out of the Internet? Unlike the fourth state, the

traditional media, the Internet does not provide for editorial checks

and balances that can take those who spread misinformation into

account.

Fake news is divisive. It feeds our prejudices, our pain, our

anger and fear and the feeling that we have somehow been wronged.

It polarizes society. It divides democracy into camps when it should

22
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
MELNOVERO IV-1 October 4, 2017 10:02 a.m. 2

unite as one nation conducting discourse with goodwill. Fake news is

lying, and lying is wrong.

If we are to survive as a nation, then we must remember such

simple truths. Hindi tama ang magsinungaling and the lying must

stop. This is the challenge to us. This is beyond what is viral, ladies

and gentlemen. This is the bigger picture we need to look into and we

welcome this public hearing on the proliferation of fake or misleading

news and false information.

Salamat.

SEN. SOTTO. Madam Chair.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Madam Chair.

SEN. SOTTO. Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Sotto.

SEN. SOTTO. With the explanation of Senator Pangilinan, is he

saying that—because definitely, we did not receive the email. If we

received an email, I cannot sign an email. Were the other 16 senators

sent email also to sign? So therefore, what he’s saying is that the

news is incorrect. The news that we refused to sign is incorrect.

Perhaps we were not able to sign, they did not make us sign or for

whatever reason, but it is not correct that we refused.

SEN. PANGILINAN. That is correct. Yes, I will—

23
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
MELNOVERO IV-1 October 4, 2017 10:02 a.m. 3

SEN. SOTTO. I would want to hear that from Senator

Pangilinan. As long as he says that, then let’s forget about it and let’s

go to the content of the fake news.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Perhaps, Senator Pangilinan, I know this

is beyond our Public Information hearing but, just to clarify it as a

context at the beginning—

SEN. PANGILINAN. Yes, that is correct. I—

THE CHAIRPERSON. So you agree that the news is incorrect.

They weren’t aware of it that’s why they—

SEN. PANGILINAN. No. It is incorrect to say that they

refused to sign.

SEN. SOTTO. [Off-mike] Okay.

SEN. PANGILINAN. And that’s why I said, “Hindi ko na ho

hawak iyong ganoong klaseng ano …” because we sent it on the email

and in the email we said, “If they wish to avail of the—or sponsor it,

then we can send the resolution to them.” But that doesn’t mean they

refused. I will confirm that. The media line saying that they refused

to sign is not accurate.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you for the clarification, Senator

Kiko. So, just to be clear, sinabi ni Senator Kiko na hindi tama ang

lumabas na balita na iyong pito ay ayaw pumirma.

SEN. PANGILINAN. In fact, if I may just add, because—

24
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
MELNOVERO IV-1 October 4, 2017 10:02 a.m. 4

THE CHAIRPERSON. Gusto nilang pumirma siguro, ‘di saka

nila—

SEN. PANGILINAN. Immediately, ma’am, if I may add, I was

asked by some members of the media through Facebook, and I said,

“In fairness to the seven, they can still—actually, it has not been

adopted and, therefore, they can still associate themselves and co-

author the measure,” which is the practice in the Senate.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Madam Chair, I just want to clarify—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Manny.

SEN. PACQUIAO. I just want to clarify na hindi ako

nakatanggap ng email, pati si Koko, dalawa lang kami na hindi

nakatanggap ng email about diyan sa resolution na iyan at mali iyong

sinasabi na in-email sa amin, hindi namin natanggap at—natanggap

namin, mali po iyong lumalabas na—just clarification lang dahil

damage has been done, kahit na sabihin na pwede namang ihabol,

tapos na, lumabas na iyong—nasira na kami.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you for the manifestation, Senator

Manny. I think Senator Cynthia would like to—I would like to

acknowledge the presence of Senator Cynthia.

SEN. VILLAR. Ms. Chairman, I want to make a manifestation

also that I was not able to receive any email from Senator Pangilinan.

25
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
MELNOVERO IV-1 October 4, 2017 10:02 a.m. 5

I’ve asked all my staff, everyone, if they received an email. There’s no

email. So we were not informed. We were not asked to sign and we

did not refuse to sign.

Thank you, Ms. Chairman.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you for stating that for the record.

I’d like to acknowledge the presence of Senator Nancy Binay.

So now, we shall begin and our other senators present here

today have other hearings to attend so we shall begin, actually, in

order of arrival. Senator Sotto will ask his questions first. We have 10

minutes each and then after which we have another round if we have

enough time. But I would also like to hear—actually, in this room,

binubuo tayo ng napakaraming mga—well, sabihin na nating

influencers, between our Facebook pages alone, the senators, and then

the ones that we have here, we have millions following us. So I hope

that this will remain productive and also civil. We would like to begin

with Senator Sotto with his questions.

SEN. SOTTO. Thank you, Madam Chair.

I wanted to start with the National Bureau of Investigation but I

know that we have already received a progress report so I will not

make the progress report public. We will probably ask them for data

later on or data on cybercrimes filed and libel filed or other crimes filed

in the cybercrime division. We have the head of the Digital Forensic of

26
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
MELNOVERO IV-1 October 4, 2017 10:02 a.m. 6

the NBI and the chief of the—we have the chief of the Cybercrime

Division of the NBI, Dr. Eduarte, and also—

Yes, before we start, Madam Chair, before I start with my first

issue and question, may we ask that all the resource persons take the

oath or be administered the oath?

THE CHAIRPERSON. So, ComSec, please administer the oath.

Magsitayo po iyong ating mga resource persons at itaas ang kanang

kamay.

THE COMMITTEE SECRETARY. Do you swear to tell the truth

and nothing but the truth in this proceedings?

Thank you.

Madam Chair, for the record, all the resource persons have

affirmed their oath.

SEN. SOTTO. Thank you.

Madam Chair, as I said, I wanted to really start with the NBI but

I will forego and perhaps later on in my second round—if I’m given a

chance, I will—just for data purposes and for the Committee. But let

me start with Mr. Rey Joseph Nieto because I have received a report

from him and the report I received is entitled, “Here’s the guy you’re

looking for.” “Senator Sotto, here’s the guy you’re looking for,” sabi

niya.

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COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
MELNOVERO IV-1 October 4, 2017 10:02 a.m. 7

Rey Nieto or RJ Nieto is the person behind the “Thinking Pinoy”

and he does not hide behind any other name. Is this correct, Mr. RJ

Nieto?

MR. NIETO. Well, Mr. Senator, I was actually anonymous until I

came out in January 2017, although the Liberal Party has known my

real identity since as early as February 2016. So half anonymous, half

not. But I decided to remain anonymous because I don’t like fame.

Yeah. But if somebody is gonna sue me, they could easily find out who

I am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Actually, you know, I follow your blog

and you show your face there.

MR. NIETO. Opo.

THE CHAIRPERSON. And even if you go by a certain name,

alam naman kung sino ka.

MR. NIETO. Opo.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So that means alam natin iyon.

Senator Sotto.

SEN. SOTTO. I have been browsing through this report that I

have received and you apparently have uncovered … /meln

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COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
ctsotto V-1 October 4, 2017 10:12 a.m. 1

SEN. SOTTO. … apparently, you have uncovered many other

websites. Do you call it a website or a blog or—

MR. NIETO. No. Actually, sir, ang problema po natin

karamihan po yung mga Facebook pages na mga anonymous na

nagkakalat ng fake news. Kaya lang po yung mga Facebook pages na

iyon, mayroon po silang mga naka-tie-up na websites. So sa akin,

iyong Facebook page ko po na ThinkingPinoy may naka-tie-up na

website na ThinkingPinoy.net. So iyon pong SilentNoMorePhilippines

na Facebook page, may naka-tie-up doon na SilentNoMorePH.com.

Ngayon po, iyon pong doon sa binasa ninyo na article na,

“Senator Sotto, here’s the guy you are looking for,” I discovered po

yung mga websites ng Silent No More, ng Madam Claudia and a lot of

other websites share a similar characteristic na all those websites

served advertisements from a single account. Tapos po I was able to

find out who the account holder is. So iyon po yung si Mr. Edward

Angelo Dayao na dati pong member ng Presidential Communications

Operations Office under President Aquino. So iyon po.

SEN. SOTTO. He is the person behind Silent No More. How

were you able to go about this? Because nakikita ko sa report mo,

you do a simple. Whois Lookup.

MR. NIETO. Who is po iyan.

SEN. SOTTO. Ah, who is lookup, magkakahiwalay ito.

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COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
ctsotto V-1 October 4, 2017 10:12 a.m. 2

MR. NIETO. Who is po, opo.

SEN. SOTTO. Which basically shows the contact information of

a website’s registrant, administrator and tech contacts.

MR. NIETO. Opo. Kasi po ganito. Una pong lumitaw yung

issue na iyan noong hinahanap namin kung sino si Pinoy Ako blog.

Kasi po matagal na kaming nila-libel niyan, noong kaibigan ko rin na

blogger na si Sass Rogando Sasot. Tapos po si Sass, noong tsinek

(check)—ginamit po yung Who is na utility, iyon po yung online utility

para i-check kung sino yung registrants, sino yung administrator, yung

mga contact details po noong taong behind the website. Ngayon po

noong tsinek (check) po ni Sass Sasot iyan, lumitaw po yung pangalan

ni Cocoy Dayao--Edward Angelo Dayao, his phone number, his

address. All those information ay freely niya nabinigay doon sa

domain registrar, doon po sa kung saan siya bumili noong domain

name. Kaya lang po noong nabisto, hinide (hide) na niya. Kaya

lang po too late na.

So given that lead po, hinanap namin kung may connection si

Cocoy Dayao doon sa Silent No More at iyan na nga po yung limitaw

doon po sa naging blog post ko po na pinublish (publish) po several

days ago.

SEN. SOTTO. All right.

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COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
ctsotto V-1 October 4, 2017 10:12 a.m. 3

Can you walk us through how do you do this? And I am sure I

would want the NBI to monitor.

MR. NIETO. Opo. Okay.

Step 1 po, ang una ko pong gagawin diyan kukunin ko po yung

Google AdSense publisher ID.

SEN. SOTTO. Google AdSense.

MR. NIETO. Google AdSense publisher ID. Iyon pong Google

AdSense iyon po yung facility ng Google na nag-a-allow po na kumita

yung mga web owners by serving advertisements in their websites.

SEN. SOTTO. So kumikita itong mga ito?

MR. NIETO. Opo. Kasi nasa website po—

SEN. SOTTO. Katulad nitong SilentNoMore.com na ito?

MR. NIETO. Lahat po, sir. Ang pinaka-common po na paraan

para kumita sa mga websites ay Google AdSense. So ang tsinek

(check) ko po diyan yung publisher ID noong Silent No More PH.

Tapos nakita ko nga po na yung publisher ID starts with 8 something.

It shows a unique publisher ID. Tapos po ang ginawa ko, sir, after

that, tsinek (check) ko yung mga ibang websites na gumagamit ng

same Google AdSense publisher ID at lumitaw nga po na kamukha

iyan ng publisher ID yung sa ProPinoy.net at saka po yung sa

MadamClaudiaAko.com. All right.

SEN. SOTTO. Siya rin iyan, yung Mr. Dayao?

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COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
ctsotto V-1 October 4, 2017 10:12 a.m. 4

MR. NIETO. Iyon pong ProPinoy.net, tsinek (check) ko po kung

sino yung—Kasi po ganito po iyan. Pag nalaman ko na pareho yung

ads nila, ibig sabihin, iisa lang yung—yung kumikita sa SilentNoMore at

kumikita sa ProPinoy.net, iisang entity lang. It may be a person or a

group of persons. Ngayon po, binakground (background) check ko

naman kung sino po ang may-ari ng ProPinoy.net. And I found out po

na dalawa po yung tao. Una, si Mr. Edward Angelo Dayao or ang

nickname ay Cocoy na dating tao ng Aquino era, PCOO.

SEN. SOTTO. Cocoy Dayao.

MR. NIETO. At saka po yung pangalawa ay co-founder at saka

po deputy editor, si Ms. Niña Terol Zialcita na dati pong political

communications head ni Senator Kiko Pangilinan, dati rin pong political

communications din ni Senator Bam Aquino—Sorry po, kinakabahan

ako.

SEN. SOTTO. Hindi. You just—

MR. NIETO. Nag-head din po siya ng elections po ng senatorial

campaign ni Senator Bam Aquino noong 2013. Siya rin po ang nag-

hold ng—nag-new media head rin po ng 2010 senatorial campaign ng

LP. Siya rin po ang nag-editor ng Tayo Magazine ng Tayo Foundation,

isa pong award-giving body na finound (found) rin ni Senator Bam

Aquino.

Sandali lang po, one minute, kinakabahan ako.

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COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
ctsotto V-1 October 4, 2017 10:12 a.m. 5

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay lang. Maraming salamat.

Kasi anyway, mentioning their affiliation does not necessarily

implicate their principal.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. I mean, just to put things in perspective.

MR. NIETO. Hindi po, medyo starstruck po kasi, kasi puro

senador.

Pero seriously po—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Binobola mo pa kami, hindi ka nai-

starstruck.

MR. NIETO. Hindi, totoo. [Laughter]

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay, go ahead.

MR. NIETO. Pero ano po, ma’am--So basically po napatunayan

ko doon, so far diyan po sa unang article na iyan ay si Cocoy Dayao,

siya yung web administrator noong mga websites. He does not

necessarily create the content. And besides, with the sheer number of

websites that is under his name or is owned/controlled—or controlled

by him, I think po na mayroon pa po siyang team behind him creating

the content.

SEN. SOTTO. So he is an administrator.

MR. NIETO. Pero may control po siya sa lahat ng mga

websites.

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COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
ctsotto V-1 October 4, 2017 10:12 a.m. 6

SEN. SOTTO. So you said he doesn’t necessarily create the

content, ganoon, of all these?

MR. NIETO. Hindi po necessarily--

SEN. SOTTO. How many websites does he operate?

MR. NIETO. Mahigit biente po.

SEN. SOTTO. Twenty plus.

MR. NIETO. Opo. Mahigit 20 po pero po iyong mga nagkakalat—

SEN. SOTTO. Can you submit to us the list of all these

websites?

MR. NIETO. I am willing po to provide information if you are

going to give me blanket immunity. Kasi po I don’t want to be held

liable for the information that may be disclosed.

SEN. SOTTO. I don’t think you are committing any crime by

giving us a list, but we can consider that later on perhaps.

MR. NIETO. Well, I can give you a list of the information that is

freely available online, pero po I accidentally—

SEN. SOTTO. Na hindi lang namin alam hanapin at yung

mga katulad mo ang nakakahanap.

MR. NIETO. Actually alam pong hanapin ng mainstream media

pero nagpapanggap sila na hindi nila nababasa iyon. Kasi po, sir,

iyan pong—kasi po ang style ng Thinking Pinoy, when I write articles, I

write them in a way na pupuwedeng gayahin noong nagbabasa kung

34
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
ctsotto V-1 October 4, 2017 10:12 a.m. 7

papaano ko dinerive (derive) yung information. So ngayon, if

mainstream media has a grudge against Thinking Pinoy, it’s okay.

Okay lang sa akin. Pero kung ahas po kasi iyan, tinuklaw na sila. Pero

po for five days na, walang nagpa-publish kahit isang outlet.

So iyon pong problema kasi ng fake news, totoo na madami

pong mga website na nanloloko ng tao. Pero po kailangan din po ng

mainstream media yung mga nakaupo ngayon dito ng kaunting

introspection. Kasi po sometimes the people resort to--you know, they

would rather believe fake news than real news kasi po minsan yung

real news, sobrang sabog, sobrang unbelievable din at sobrang

slanted.

Kasi po, for example po, ito pong Vera Files—excuse me po,

Ma’am Tordesillas—a few months ago, iyon pong si Mr. Aznar, isang

photojournalist sa Marawi, nag-post po ng video na soldiers in action.

Ako po, as regular citizen, nagtaka ako. Sabi ko, “Bakit ka nagpo-post

ng ganyan?” Kasi parang halos real time yung pagkaka-post mo,

baka ma-endanger yung mga soldiers. Ngayon po marami akong

followers online, mga halos 700,000 po, tapos siyempre yung mga

followers ko nabasa iyon, tapos nagalit sila kay Aznar. “Oo nga,

Aznar, bakit ganyan, ganyan?” Tapos po after that, kinondemn

(condemn) po ako ng National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

Tapos po after that, naglabas daw pa po ng fact-check yung Vera Files

35
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
ctsotto V-1 October 4, 2017 10:12 a.m. 8

about it. Ang basis po daw nila ay yung metadata noong mga pictures

or whatever na nagso-show kung kalian kinuha yung mga pictures.

Kaya lang po ang hindi ginawa noong Vera Files ay i-check iyong iba

pang mga files ni Aznar. Basically po ang napakita ko noong nagsulat

ako ng rebuttal sa Vera Files ay faulty yung mga time stamp doon sa

mga files ni Aznar. So basically po baseless po—pointless po yung

ginawa nilang fact- check. However, wala po akong narinig na reply or

anything of that sort from Vera Files.

So what I am saying is this … cts

36
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
JADela Cruz VI-1 October 4, 2017 10:22 a.m. 1

MR. NIETO. … So what I am saying is this. Hindi ko po alam

kung ano iyong kahihinatnan noong Senate investigation na ito. Pero

ang gusto ko lang pong ipaglaban sana i-legislate natin iyong right to

reply. Hindi po necessarily sa print, radio and sa TV kasi po mayroon

pong space constraints iyan at iyon din po ang dahilan kung bakit hindi

pumasa iyong FOI dati. Pero po at least doon sa social media at saka

iyong mga websites noong mga news agencies. Now, for example,

kung i-libel po uli ako ng Rappler.com, mayroon po akong space para

mag-reply.

Sorry po, rant na ito pero totoo kasi. Noon pong January, in-

accuse kami ng Rappler.com na tumatanggap kami ng pera kay

Secretary Martin Andanar at ang source lang ng Rappler po ay isang

anonymous source. Tapos po ang sabi ako at saka si Sass binibigyan

ng pera. Ngayon po tinanong ko iyong Rappler, “Bakit hindi ninyo ako

in-interview?” Ang sabi nila sa akin hindi naman daw kasi kami

importante doon sa istorya pero kami iyong ni-libel. So ang point po

dito sana i-legislate ninyo iyong right of reply. Iyon lang po ang

hinihingi ko kasi pag nag-legislate tayo against fake news, baka

maging prior constraint so maging unconstitutional. Pero at least po

right of reply lang ang ipinaglalaban ko.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Alam mo, tama--Senator Sotto, mabilis

lang ano? Pero tama iyong sinabi mo iyong sa right of reply na ngayon

37
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
JADela Cruz VI-1 October 4, 2017 10:22 a.m. 2

may online tayo, hindi limited iyong space. So maaari ngang

ikonsidera.

Senator Sotto, thank you.

SEN. SOTTO. Yes. All right. You mentioned a Niña Terol. Is this

the same Niña Terol who is connected with McCann Erickson?

THE CHAIRPERSON. I would like to acknowledge the presence

of the Minority Leader, Senator Drilon, and, of course, Senator Bam

Aquino and Senator Zubiri.

Thank you.

SEN. SOTTO. Is this the same Niña Terol of McCann Erickson?

MR. NIETO. Yes, yes. The same Niña Terol that was under

Senator Bam Aquino from, I think, 2012 to 2014.

SEN. SOTTO. And then who is this Sass na sinasabi mo?

MR. NIETO. Sass Rogando Sasot is—

SEN. SOTTO. He is also an administrator?

MR. NIETO. No. Sass Rogando Sasot is another blogger who is a

close friend of mine. We were together on a lot of things.

SEN. SOTTO. Okay. Do you think that the Google AdSense ID

or account, do you know its ownership of a website or is it possible

that the owner of the website be different from the owner or the one

who owns the Google AdSense ID?

MR. NIETO. That is possible po. Kaya lang po—

38
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
JADela Cruz VI-1 October 4, 2017 10:22 a.m. 3

SEN. SOTTO. That is possible. But what is the common thing?

MR. NIETO. I can answer that po in an executive session if you

will grant me immunity kasi I don’t want to break laws.

SEN. SOTTO. We will consider that later on after, perhaps the

rest of the hearing is done.

MR. NIETO. Opo.

SEN. SOTTO. We will consider your request.

MR. NIETO. Pero disclaimer lang po, sir. Hindi ko po sinasabi na

complacent si Niña Terol doon sa issue. All I am saying is siya po iyong

commonality.

SEN. SOTTO. The name just rang a bell when you mentioned

her. Oo.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Madam Chairperson, with the permission of

Senator Sotto. I just want to clarify.

SEN. SOTTO. Madam Chair.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Madam Chair, just a quick clarification

because he wants to go into an executive session. Why is that?

THE CHAIRPERSON. I think he wants to go on executive

session before he divulges certain individuals that are connected with

certain websites or blogs.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Why does it have to be in executive

session, ma’am? May we be clarified?

39
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION AND MASS MEDIA
JADela Cruz VI-1 October 4, 2017 10:22 a.m. 4

THE CHAIRPERSON. Well, I think he is just being cautious and

we cannot blame the individual for being cautious. But I think we have

a lawyer here to explain.

SEN. AQUINO. Mr. Chairman, I don’t think he is being cautious

at all Mr. Chairman. After all, he has been stating individuals who had

worked here already, he mentioned my name already. So nasaan po

iyong caution doon? Baka magandang ikwento na lang ho niya lahat

ngayon. Magkalabasan na, Mr. Chairman.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Hindi. Alam mo, there is a way— Okay.

SEN. SOTTO. Wait. Madam Chair, he merely said some of the

questions he would like to answer—give to my questions, he would

rather give it in executive session. He is not asking for it and I am not

moving for it. So let’s take it easy, relax lang kayo. Huwag kayong

masyadong hot.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Hindi. Alam mo, unang-una—

SEN. SOTTO. Wala naman humihingi ng executive session.

Hindi pa ako tapos.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Sotto, perhaps para lang hindi

masyadong kaibahan si Mr. Nieto, itong mga pangalan naman na ito ay

base sa iyong pagsasaliksik diumano. Hindi mo pa naman sinasabi na

sila talaga iyon, hindi ba? Kaya nga tayo may pagdinig para

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JADela Cruz VI-1 October 4, 2017 10:22 a.m. 5

maberipika. So hindi iyan libel, hindi iyan paninira. Kasi, dapat nga

magbukas tayo dito at sabihin natin. So—

SEN. SOTTO. Para matuto tayo kung papaanong nabubuksan

ito at nakikita natin kung sino ang mga nasa likod nitong mga blog na

ito sapagkat nagtatago nga. Eto maganda because nakakita natin

ngayon ito. Of course the progress report of the NBI is another thing

and I will not insist that we divulge it now. But itong mga

impormasyon na nakukuha natin, palagay ko malaki ang maitutulong

sa Committee. At tayo mismo at inyong mga staff would be able to

follow the style or the system that he is following so that we may be

able to find out more.

To continue with Mr. Nieto, do you have a duly recognized

organization?

MR. NIETO. Wala.

SEN. SOTTO. Like iyong National Union of Journalists, mayroon

ba iyong ano o KBP, iyong mga bloggers?

MR. NIETO. Wala po. Kasi po, sir, ano lang iyon Facebook

account ko lang iyon na nagblog ako tapos nag-viral na lang bigla. So

wala pong kaplano-plano iyan .

SEN. SOTTO. Okay. So again, for the record, para mas

malinaw dahil maraming impormasyon kang naibigay kanina.

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JADela Cruz VI-1 October 4, 2017 10:22 a.m. 6

How did you confirm that Mr. Dayao or Cocoy Dayao or

whatever is his first name is the editor-in-chief and chairman of

ProPinoy.Net.

MR. NIETO. Editor-in-Chief and Chairman of ProPinoy. Kasi po

marami pong mga news article na nagke-claim na ganoon. Tapos

bukod po doon iyong sarili po niyang link and account, iyon po iyong

isang social network po na pang-professionals na sinasabi na iyon po

iyong, ganon siya, editor-in-chief and co-founder ng ProPinoy.Net.

SEN. SOTTO. And he is operating also more than 20 other

websites?

MR. NIETO. The evidence suggests po na yes, he is operating

around that many websites.

SEN. SOTTO. All right. Thank you.

Madam Chair, I will continue later. Perhaps you can go to the

other resource persons or they would continue with Mr. Nieto. I will do

my second round later.

THE CHAIRPERSON. But Senator Sotto, of course, you called

for this hearing—also one of the ones that call for this hearing. We’ll

give you more time if you need.

The next would be Senator--Senator Migz Zubiri is requesting

that he delivers a statement. Perhaps you can ask Senator Pacquiao

because he is next.

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SEN. ZUBIRI. Okay lang if that is already Senator Pacquiao. I’ll

just give an opening statement.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Sige. Sime, Madam Chair.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Thank you. It is not a prepared statement. It is

just from the heart. I would like to just say that I was not told about

this resolution being circulated by the Senators. I know Senator Kiko

Pangilinan approached my desk, I clearly remember that but I was

about to give a privilege speech about Atio Castillo on his death. And I

said, “Let’s talk after” and he never came back. We saw each other in

the lounge, he never mentioned about the resolution. So I’d like to put

it on record that if it was in front of me, as I have mentioned in my

statement in the Senate, I would have signed it. Because all my official

positions in the Senate, whether inside the Senate halls or even in the

lounge, is we are against EJKs. As a matter of fact, I led another

resolution signed by all members of the majority condemning all forms

of EJKs. Not just with minors, not just with children, Your Honor,

Madam Chair. I would like to put that on record and it is quite foul that

whoever this fellow is in “Silent No More” would accuse the seven of us

because after that I spoke to Senator Pacquiao and Senator Villar and

they were so upset that they were not approached and we were not

told. Usually our staff, usually our COS—chiefs of staff—would discuss

it among themselves if there is an important minority-majority, all-

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member resolution. This time, we were not told. So, I don’t want to

impute any malice on the members of the Senate who pushed of that.

But what intrigues me, Madam Chairman, is how it was published, how

it was treated after to the media, to the online sites. And, therefore, I

would like to condemn that in strongest terms and hopefully after the

end of this meeting, we can come up with a conclusion on who’s at

fault and what we could do about it.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Madam Chairperson.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Just very quickly because—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Pacquiao, would you allow

Senator Pangilinan a few minutes?

SEN. PACQUIAO. Sige, Madam Chair.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Very, very briefly, Madam Chairperson.

Senator Zubiri himself said that I approached him. So if I had

wanted to hide it from him or not have him signed it, why would I have

approached him. I think we should be able to distinguish between the

impact that it had because of social media and what we were doing

prior to it … /jadc

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CDAstrero I-2 October 04, 2017 10:32 a.m. 1

SEN. PANGILINAN. … prior to it coming out of social media. I

approached him, yes, I affirm, I will confirm that he said, “I am just

going to deliver a privilege speech and, therefore, we can talk about it

later” and, therefore, I said, “Yes, okay.” But if my intention was to

hide it from him, why would I have approached him in the first place?

I did not go back to him, that is correct and because I had to leave—

but my instructions to my staff was that those who have not signed,

let us go to their offices and seek their support if they are interested to

or if they wish to associate themselves from the resolution. I just

wanted that clarified, Madam Chairperson.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Pacquiao, your questions.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Wala dito iyong tao na gusto kong tanungin sa harapan. But

before that, Madam Chair, I move that we’re going to invite Cocoy

Dayao in the next hearing.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Manny, we did invite him but

there’s no response from him. It’s so ironic that his blog is Silent No

More when he is so silent now.

[Laughter]

We will probably issue a subpoena if we have another hearing.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you, Madam Chair.

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CDAstrero I-2 October 04, 2017 10:32 a.m. 2

Sa PCOO, napakalaki ng role ng PCOO para sa labanan ng fake

news. Gusto kong malaman kung ano’ng aksyon ang gagawin ninyo

rito dito sa mga fake news na lumalabas. Paano ninyo ipahihinto ito at

paano natin mahuli iyong mga gumagawa nito?

MR. EGCO. Good morning, Madam Chair. Good morning, Your

Honors.

If I may, I’d like to read the brief statement that I prepared for

this Committee hearing. But first, I’d like to relay the apologies of our

secretary, Martin Andanar, for not being able to attend because of a

prior engagement.

SEN. PANGILINAN. All right.

MR. EGCO. Madam Chair, Your Honors, concerns about fake

news, false news or false information are not something new. In fact,

Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code of 1930 and Presidential Decree

No. 90 of 1973 both penalize false information and the publication or,

otherwise, propagation or proliferation of which.

With the advent of technology, bare information spreads like

wildfire in a matter of seconds. The problem on fake news has reached

alarming proportions and on a global scale. It is not something that is

endemic or unique to us in the Philippines. The phenomenon has

grown directly proportionate to advancements in information

technology. Even the most powerful and holiest people on earth are

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not spared from this new age scourge. Now, the question is, how do

we deal with it? Should we just shrug the problem off like ordinary

“tsismis” or rumors that we should allow to pass for being nothing of

value? To ignore them when our names are maligned to the point of

dishonor and when our reputation is besmirched beyond repair? Or

should we fight it by criminalizing such acts as spreading fake news?

If we so decide to deal with the problem head on, the next question

that comes to mind is in what way? To arrive at the most intelligent

answers to these questions, the first and the most important thing to

do is to find a legal definition for fake news.

Some may even argue that what could appear as fake news to

some may not be fake news to others. Ergo, the need to clearly define

fake news, determine its parameters before we could even talk of

penalizing those who would create and/or spread them. There should

be clearly established and identifiable elements in spotting fake news.

For starters, we can argue that fake news is “the unscrupulous and

malicious propagation of information that aims to deliberately mislead

or misinform a targeted audience or tend to cause panic, division,

chaos, violence and hate among the general public when the source or

author commits reckless disregard of the truth or even factual details

about a particular issue of interest.” But defining fake news, spotting

them or penalizing those acts are easier said than done considering our

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democratic environment. Thus, the need for a carefully studied, well-

thought of and generally accepted measure to discourage people from

committing what would eventually be considered an unlawful act. For

instance, if we are to construe false or erroneous or even mistaken

news stories—ito po iyong mga kuryente—as unlawfully fake. To

include biased opinions or substandard professional views, then we are

facing an even greater problem.

We must remember that in Article III, Section 4 of the

Constitution, our tendencies to exaggerate or project one-sided opinion

or even lie at times, our protected rights in the form of free speech and

expression and the charter forbids, passage of any law that will abridge

these freedoms.

Another point, in fact, is the difficulty in identifying the

publishers of websites or webpages that are involved in propagating

fake news. In fact, anybody who is computer literate in all age groups

may be capable of altering data and information or even use that are

legitimately published by recognized news organizations. Who will

identify them or go after them? And once they are identified, isn’t it

very easy to shut down the site and create a new one instead?

The sadder part is that we cannot stop people from sharing fake

news even after they had been determined to be fake. Therefore,

public education is a must.

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We may, for the sake of argument, agree to impose a ban on

fake news. But then again, we have to find a highly credible and

competent body to do the job. Should we in the executive do it?

Considering the ramifications of such, we would readily reject the

thought for we are not in the business of regulating the flow of ideas

unless we are explicitly allowed to do so under the circumstances.

That, we strongly doubt. So should there be a need to put up such a

body, it should be well- represented by all stakeholders, probably,

commission on freedom of sorts. Because problem on fake news has

an enormous impact on all of us, the solution requires a multisectoral

and multidisciplinary approach with public education on eradication of

fake news as the centerpiece of the engagement. We may adopt ideas

such as engaging various social media platform operators and the like.

But social media literacy could provide a key to solving it. We have to

adopt and embark on such a program if only to educate the public on

the more productive uses of social media and the consequences of

using these platforms in carrying out a sinister plan.

Your Honors, along with this statement, we are submitting our

position paper on these pending measures.

Thank you very much.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you.

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Tama ka doon. Hindi natin mai-stop iyong mga tao na

maglaganap ng mga fake news pero puwede nating ipasarado iyong

website nila. But mayroon na bang na-prosecute sa mga bloggers o

website na nag-o-operate—naglalabas ng mga fake news? Mayroon na

ba tayong mga na-prosecute, Your Honor?

SEN. DRILON. Can I reply to that? Can I reply to that, Madam

Chair?

SEN. SOTTO. Yes, Senator Drilon.

SEN. DRILON. Yes. I had one blogger convicted of libel because

of malicious, false allegation which besmirched my honor. I had him

convicted of libel. He is on appeal.

SEN. SOTTO. All right.

SEN. DRILON. So there is a remedy available for this fake

news because the libel laws are there. If we feel that this is a fake

news and it maligns us, avail of the libel—the law. Because any form of

constraint on free speech can be a slippery slope. That is what we

should remember. Hindi po bakit hindi natin hulihin ito. Hindi po

pupuwede. This is a democratic system. This is a life that we have to

live with. And so if, you know—

SEN. SOTTO. Perhaps, what Senator Pacquiao means is that

hulihin pagkatapos … /cda

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CMNERY II-2 October 4, 2017 10:42 a.m. 1

SEN. SOTTO. ... hulihin pagkatapos faylan (file) ng kaso at na-

convict.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you.

SEN. DRILON. Okay. I just wanted to reply that I have

availed—

SEN. SOTTO. Perhaps, the answer can be given also by NBI.

In answer to Senator Pacquiao’s question, how many cybercrime

cases have you had and how many have been filed?

MR. EDUARTE. Yes, good morning, Your Honors.

For 2016, we filed, in all, 48 cases but there is no distinction as

to whether this is cyber libel. This is for the general violation of

cybercrime.

SEN. SOTTO. All types of cybercrimes.

MR. EDUARTE. Yes, Your Honor.

For January to September 30 of this year, we already filed 99

cases, Your Honor.

SEN. SOTTO. Ninety-nine cases. Okay. But how many

complaints have you had? In 2016, how many complaints of

cybercrimes?

MR. EDUARTE. For 2016, we received, Your Honor, 2,279. We

terminated 160 cases.

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SEN. SOTTO. Libo. Okay. Two thousand two hundred

seventy-nine. And then in 2017?

MR. EDUARTE. For 2017, we received 1,515 cases, Your

Honor.

SEN. SOTTO. All right. Thank you.

Senator Pacquiao. Yes.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

A follow-up question ...

MR. EGCO. Thank you, Your Honor.

I think the problem is this. “Fake news” as a term is being

used—generic eh. So iyon po iyong problema natin ngayon. We can

even accuse anyone of us here, each other, of committing fake news

because we have no clear or legal definition of fake news so far. So

that’s why the argument on EJK is taking very long time because

sinasabi nila wala namang EJK because—Parang ganito po iyon, naging

media jargon siya, sinabi lahat pagka nasaktan, nagalit, fake news

iyan. I may be even accused of spreading fake news myself or anyone

of us here in the absence of that legal definition of what fake news is.

And once we have identified what fake news is by determining its

elements like malice siguro, publication, ano ba pa iyan?—iyong

reckless disregard of the truth. Ang problema po kasi dito, pag

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CMNERY II-2 October 4, 2017 10:42 a.m. 3

sinadya kasi iyong news, kinuha ko iyong news na totoo, alam kong

totoo, tapos para sirain si Senator Pacquaio, iniba-iba ko iyong laman

niya at saka ko ipinublish (publish). So that will classify as fake news.

But iyong simpleng tsismis po, I think mga deniable ano eh, especially

stories that the following day nag-i-issue ng erratum ang ating mga

dyaryo, for instance. So ang hirap pong i-determine. So we really

have to first define the legal parameters of what fake news is, Your

Honor.

Thank you.

MS. BANAAG. Mr. Chair.

SEN. SOTTO. Senator Pacquiao has the floor.

SEN. HONTIVEROS. Yes, Mr. Chair.

I just wanted to make a quick follow-up to the point raised by

the Usec.

With the permission of Senator Manny, of course, Mr. Chair.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Just one minute.

SEN. SOTTO. The Chair recognizes Senator Hontiveros.

SEN. HONTIVEROS. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

And I will take less than one minute. Hindi pa ako magtatanong

ng mga tanong ko sa ngayon. Gusto ko lang pong klaruhin na actually

may ideya na ang gobyerno kung ano ang fake news, hindi pa man ito

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nasa batas. Kasi ang gobyerno natin ang nag-host ng roundtable

discussion on countering fake news and communicating the right

information kung saan si Sec Andanar mismo ay umupo bilang chair ng

ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information. So hindi pupuwedeng

sabihin, Mr. Chair, na wala pa tayong ideya. Alam na po ng gobyerno

kung ano ang fake news in essence.

Salamat, Mr. Chair.

At salamat, Senator Manny.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SEN. SOTTO. Go ahead, Senator Pacquiao.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Can you explain it ...

Please explain.

MS. BANAAG. Mr. Chairman, Madam Senator, I think what the

undersecretary was saying here is that for the body or for the Senate

to define what fake news really is in order for us to move on with other

matters. And we acknowledge, ma’am, that, yes, the secretary,

Secretary Andanar, chaired the AMRI last September 9 for the ASEAN

Ministers Responsible for Information. And we were there during that

forum and it was just a forum but it was not a forum to define fake

news for it to become a law that would be penalized by our

government.

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SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you.

SEN. SOTTO. All right. Senator Pacquiao.

By the way, we would like to acknowledge the presence of Sen.

Joel Villanueva and Senator Hontiveros.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. EGCO. Mr. Chairman, if I may add something to—

SEN. PACQUIAO. Okay. Go ahead, go ahead.

MR. EGCO. For Senator Hontiveros, yes, we were there during

the roundtable discussion. And that discussion, for your information,

Your Honor, was a gathering of media personalities from ASEAN and

Japan. So they gathered there to tell their own stories about Facebook

and to tell the body to formulate a regional approach in combating fake

news. So one of the most important decision where they arrived at,

iyon pong binanggit ko kanina, iyong media literacy. So it was

suggested there by the representatives that we should go down to the

grassroots level all around the country. Yes. And it’s all part of our

position paper, ma’am.

Thank you.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you.

Tama naman iyong sabi ni Risa Hontiveros na malalaman din

natin kung ano iyong fake news like recently iyong wife ko lumabas na

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CMNERY II-2 October 4, 2017 10:42 a.m. 6

patay na daw. Tapos, ang daming nagtawagan sa cellphone ko,

“Anong nangyari, anong nangyari?” Dito sa Pilipinas, sa Amerika,

maraming—puno ng tawag dahil lumabas sa news na iyong asawa ko

raw ay namatay na. So ang ano natin doon is gusto kong malaman

kung may data na ba tayo na how many website bloggers o pages

spreading these fake news.

MS. BANAAG. Yes, Senator Pacquiao.

Sir, we don’t have the data on that because perhaps it’s not

within our mandate or jurisdiction to monitor websites that are bogus

or legal.

And, sir, may I take this opportunity, ma’am, chair, senators and

members of this Committee, may I take this opportunity to give three

points on the stand of PCOO on the fake news. First is to have a

definition of what fake news is. And second, we formally suggest that

a massive media and information literacy campaign would be

implemented throughout the country with whatever ways this body

would like it to be implemented. But we are doing it on our end. On

the side of the Presidential Communications Office, we are reaching out

to local government units, local communicators, private and public, in

order to campaign on self-regulation on how to self-regulate

themselves insofar as the hyper digital and social media is nowadays.

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And, of course, we’d like also to take note on the position of

Senator Pangilinan on possible amendment on the Cybercrime Act.

Perhaps, to look into the Cybercrime Act which may not limit the

persons who first published the fake story but it would extend to those

who would maliciously share the fake news.

That’s all, Your Honor.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Manny, perhaps, you can also

ask the NBI Cybercrime Group. They are the ones that are supposed

to monitor also these things. PCOO is more on public information and

dissemination of hopefully accurate information.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Yes. To NBI, kung mino-monitor ba nila

itong mga fake news, anong aksyon ang ginawa ninyo para dito sa

mga fake news, mga bloggers na website na palaging naglalabas ng

mga hindi totoong balita. Anong aksyon niyo rito na paano niyo

minomonitor ang mga fake news na ito?

MR. EDUARTE. Yes, Your Honor.

Actually, when it comes to social media platforms spreading fake

news, wala hong government agency ... /cmn

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ADMasicap III-2 October 4, 2017 10:52 a.m. 1

MR. EDUARTE. … government agency that monitors the same

but we are acting on complaints referred to our office. Meaning, we

are only acting on cases referred to us. But for me or for our

office, the fake news, if it will result to libel and other cases, it

will be actionable by the office, otherwise, we cannot act on it.

Thank you.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you.

Madam Chair, ang mga katanungan ko doon sa—iyong

nagpataas ng buhok ko sa likod, nagpaputi ng buhok ko, si Cocoy

Dayao—

MS. USON. Madam Chair, may I have the floor, please?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Asec Mocha.

MS. USON. Yes. Ma’am, first of all, I would like to thank your

office for inviting me today this Senate hearing as a resource person

dahil po biktima rin po ako ng fake news. Hindi pa po ako na-appoint

bilang opisyal ng gobyerno, naglabas na po itong ABS-CBN na ako

daw ay na-appoint bilang Customs consultant. At dahil po doon ako ay

na-bash online. At ito rin pong anonymous Facebook page na Madam

Claudia na diumano ay hawak din nitong Cocoy Dayao ay nagpalabas

po ng pekeng tseke na ibinayad daw po sa akin ni BBM na hindi naman

po totoo dahil ang nakalagay pong pangalan doon ay Margo Uson at

hindi ko po kumpletong pangalan iyon.

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At isa pa po, kadalasan pong nagpapakalat din ng fake news ay

ating ilang mainstream media. Katulad po diyan ng GMA na rin. Noong

sinamahan ko si Pangulong Duterte doon, sinabi po ng GMA na ako

daw ay nag-selfie sa loob ng Grand Mosque sa Marawi na naka-boots.

Hindi naman po ako nag-selfie doon. At dahil po doon, na-bash po ako

ng ating mga kababayan at humingi naman po ako ng paumanhin sa

ating mga kapatid na Muslim. Ngunit iyon po ang mga halimbawa ng

mga fake news. Kaya po nandito po ako para suportahan po itong

hearing na ito dahil ako po ay biktima ng fake news.

Thank you, Your Honor.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. Asec Mocha, salamat sa iyong

manifestation. At least alam mo ang nararamdaman ng isang

nabibiktima, hindi ba? So, napapahalagahan natin dito ang

importansiya nito. At alam ko naba-bash dito ang mainstream news.

Ang mainstream news ay mayroon ding function, kayo siguro iyong—

kung fourth estate sila, kayo iyong fifth na nagbabantay sa kanila.

Checks and balances, walang perpekto dito. May nag-text din sa akin

na sinabi ko daw kanina na “Fake news is in the eye of the beholder.”

That is not exactly what I meant. Fake news is fake news. What I’m

trying to say is this. It’s in the eye of the beholder because sometimes

we choose to believe certain things without vetting it. That’s why we

look at it with colored lenses. Ang nangyayari dito, tinitingnan natin,

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kung pula ang ating pananaw o dilaw ang ating pananaw, hindi natin

iniisip na kung sasabihin natin, “Saan galing ang news na iyan?”

Imbes na, “Tama ba ang news na iyan?”

So, it doesn’t matter if, let’s say, a yellow— well, I won’t call it—

an LP supporter will post something if it is factual. Let’s learn from it.

Or if somebody that is a supporter of the President and the

administration for as long as it is factual. The problem is if we see

through colored lenses and we leave it at that. So, that is a

correction. I did not say that it is right because it is something that

we believe in. We need to vet it.

And for the mainstream media, it is also your chance now to

answer what our bloggers are saying. Hindi natin minamaliit ang

trabaho ninyo kaya lang iyong focus kasi ngayon ay dito nga sa fake

news natin ngayon na nakikita sa Internet.

So, go ahead, ma’am. Do you have any more to add?

MS. USON. Yes, Madam Chair. And also po, maganda na na-

expose po ni RJ a.k.a. “Thinking Pinoy” iyon diumanong tao sa likod

nitong napakaraming anonymous na anti-Duterte FB pages na

nagpapakalat ng fake news na nabiktima po ang seven senators na

sinabihang “seven deadly sens”, na wala naman pong katotohanan na

sila ay inalok na pumirma. Kaya po nandito ako para suportahan

iyan, alamin po iyong mga nagpapakalat talaga ng fake news at dapat

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po ay magkaroon ng accountability. May mukha po dapat itong mga

bloggers na ito sa Facebook po.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Tama. Doon sa sinabi mo, hindi lahat

sumasang-ayon sa sinasabi mo. Ako minsan, hindi rin sumasang-ayon

sa sinasabi mo, pero at least nandiyan ang mukha mo, nandiyan ang

pangalan mo. Ganoon din sa ibang mga kasama natin dito, si Franco,

si Mr. Nieto, nandito rin si Mr. Quezon, si Abbey, nandito rin si Mr.

Lacierda, nilalabas ninyo ang mukha ninyo. Hindi katulad nitong isang

hinahabol natin na ang lakas-lakas ng loob magsalita, hindi naman

nagpapakita dito. So, we need accountability because the mainstream

media have to answer to their bosses. They have an internal

ombudsman group. They can get fired from their jobs if they don’t

do their research properly whereas the bloggers, of course, this is the

new media now. You are accountable to yourselves.

Of course, Asec Mocha, you are now part of the government, so

the responsibility on your shoulders is even more.

MS. USON. Yes, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So, because like I notice, Atty. Angeles

here is a digital influencer of the PCOO. What exactly does a digital

influencer mean? Does it mean that you will influence based on what

the administration wants or based on what the truth is?

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MS. ANGELES. Good morning, Senator Poe. Good morning,

Senators.

The term “digital influencer”—you might need a short history.

The term “digital influencer” actually comes from the social media

phenomenon. During the last elections, several groups of what they

call social media influencers were contracted to assist in the last

elections. These groups, they hire several people with several social

media accounts. The most glaring example of this would be Twitter.

So, on Twitter, you have several people with accounts that have

followers sometimes in the hundreds of thousands. So, if they all

Twitter at the same time, use a particular hashtag, you can cause a

trend, and that trend will show up at the side panel of your Twitter

page and you will see that so many people have been responding or

have been tweeting about a particular event, a particular person or a

particular subject matter. During elections, this becomes vital. These

social media influencers are hired by some candidates or people

handling candidates and they cause a trend and these trends are

considered influential, possibly in changing the minds of certain people

particularly during election time. So, that will be more difficult on

Facebook but there are still their counterpart groups.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So, ma’am, my question is, what is your

job description now in PCOO?

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MS. ANGELES. Actually, what we do is we assist Asec Mocha

among other things in dealing with her social media account and in—

THE CHAIRPERSON. What is the goal? What are you trying to

do? What are you trying to influence people with?

MS. ANGELES. The goal really is to make sure—well, it’s not

really—actually, my real title is social media strategist. I would like to

correct this one. However, the term “social media influencer”, well,

that isn’t me, that would be Asec Mocha.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So, if you are a strategist, what is the

goal of PCOO?

MS. ANGELES. The goal of PCOO is to give out government

information. So, things like the passing of certain laws which are

necessary for us to disseminate. For example, today, the release of

the postponement of barangay elections.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Those are important.

MS. ANGELES. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Now, of course, sometimes— and you

are very opinionated, all of you there that’s why you are in that office

and you also have a lot of following. But we should sometimes also

distinguish between political information and also an actual

government policy. So, these things, maybe, within your group— I

trust that Secretary Martin is also policing, sometimes iyong pabugso-

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bugso ng damdamin, lumalabas doon sa ating ano and we need to

just check. Iyon lamang and you have your reputation also to protect

to remain objective. So, that’s very important.

MS. ANGELES. Yes. There is no question about that. But we

also have to acknowledge that the times are changing. For example,

government information needs to be put out there and the best people

sometimes to put them out there are social media people with lots of

followings. If Asec Mocha puts out a bit of information, you know that

about five million people are going to see that.

THE CHAIRPERSON. And that’s why there is more

responsibility resting on you.

MS. ANGELES. Yes, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Because you have five million people and

even more with the multiplier effect of these people na magkukwento

sa iba. So, talagang tinitingala ka ng mga taong ito. Maganda rin

sigurong pagkakataon na ipagbuklod-buklod … /admasicap

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THE CHAIRPERSON. … ipagbuklod-buklod imbes na

paghiwalay-hiwalay. Pero naiintindihan ko kasi lahat kayo, first year

pa lang ninyo sa office, tinitira na kayo. So defensive mode. But

remember, our mandate is to be loyal to the common good, to the

people.

Okay. Senator Manny, I’m sorry to have interrupted your time.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Madam Chair, ipagpaliban ko na muna iyong

pagtatanong ko dahil iyong mga tanong ko doon kay Cocoy Dayao—

SEN. SOTTO. [Off-mike] Tanong o suntok?

SEN. PACQUIAO. Huh?

SEN. SOTTO. [Off-mike] Tanong o suntok?

SEN. PACQUIAO. Hindi. Kasama na iyon. Suntok at saka

tanong. [Laughter]

THE CHAIRPERSON. Hindi. Alam naman nating mapagtimpi si

Senator Pacquiao. So ang susunod na nasa listahan natin—

SEN. BINAY. Madam Chair, with the permission from Senator

Kiko Pangilinan, before we move, kasi nabanggit ni Ms. Angeles, I

don’t know, are you an Asec, JO, consultant? So what’s your item?

MS. ANGELES. I think it would be akin to consultant to

contracted service.

SEN. BINAY. You mentioned kasi parang digital influencers

were hired during the previous elections. So among the influencers

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present here, sino sa inyo ang mga na-hire during the previous

elections?

MS. ANGELES. Ma’am, if I may. For the most part, when the

digital influencers were being hired, part of the agreement is

confidentiality so I’m not sure if anybody would be willing to admit to

this even—ako, I can say, I wasn’t. So I’m not sure if anybody else

who is here, though I understand that the contractual obligation would

be in part confidentiality.

SEN. BINAY. Can we hear from the other influencers?

MR. MABANTA. Hi, I’m Franco. Are you asking during the

election season? Hundred thousand percent no, I was not paid.

MR. NIETO. No, ma’am, I was not hired by anyone or accepted

money from anyone during the elections and I think a better person to

ask would be the one behind “Nasaan ang Pangulo?” because they

were indeed hired for black propaganda, according to my sources.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So who are the ones behind “Nasaan ang

Pangulo?”

MR. NIETO. Well, from the information that I got, it’s also in

my website, you may want to invite Ms. Joyce Ramirez because she

allegedly was the person who commandeered the entire campaign

with—it was basically—

THE CHAIRPERSON. This is during the Mamasapano incident?

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MR. NIETO. Yes, yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. “Nasaan ang Pangulo?” was

trending because they were wondering what the President at that time

was doing.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So “Nasaan ang Pangulo?” who hired her?

MR. NIETO. Allegedly, it was then, well, Mar Roxas.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Wait a minute. Did we hear this right?

MR. NIETO. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Who hired the influencer to do the

trending on Ms. Joyce?

MR. NIETO. Joyce Ramirez is not exactly an influencer. She’s

more like a PR lady who handles, who has control over influencers,

who has contracts with influencers.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. So she claims that Senator—no,

I’m sorry, Secretary Roxas hired her to trend “Nasaan ang Pangulo?”

which is actually against President Aquino at that time?

MR. NIETO. Let me clarify it, ma’am.

The “Nasaan ang Pangulo?” campaign, based on the information

that I got, is a campaign that is intended to pin down all the blame

over the Mamasapano incident on President Aquino apparently so that

if Mar runs for the presidency, he can be shielded from the bad PR. So

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basically back then, because the Mamasapano involves a DILG and Mar

was under DILG, it will be PNoy and Mar who will get the, you know,

the flak for it. So the “Nasaan ang Pangulo?” apparently was intended

to focus all the bad PR on PNoy and insulate Mar.

THE CHAIRPERSON. This is a very controversial and strong

allegation against the former Secretary. I hope that there’s actual

proof to this, that her services were contracted for this, and are there

witnesses—

MR. LACIERDA. Madam Chair.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Who is this?

Secretary Lacierda.

MR. LACIERDA. It’s a very offensive statement made by Mr.

Nieto here. An allegation that has no basis. We were on the day that

the caskets were flown into Fort Villamor. We were all there. Mr.

Nieto spoke of a very irresponsible statement and its very malicious,

all on the basis of allegation. You cannot speak in this floor, before

honorable senators, an allegation which has no basis. That particular

statement is malicious and I’d like to correct him of that vigorously

because there’s no such thing. If you recall during the campaign,

Mamasapano was an issue against Mar Roxas. And if he thinks that

“Nasaan ang Pangulo?” was used as a basis to distance Mar Roxas

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from the President, was not true. The fact is we were all there.

President Aquino chose not to be on that—in Fort Villamor on that day

because he wanted the family members to spend time with the—

amongst themselves.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Secretary Lacierda, actually when we

looked at the statement alone or the act “Nasaan ang Pangulo?” which

is a Twitter hashtag, that’s not fake news. That’s a question. It just

so happens it trended and, of course, it’s malicious if somebody

provoked it and promoted it, financially also supported it.

So would you have proof?

MR. NIETO. Yes, ma’am. Actually, I wrote about this in—one

second, ma’am. I would also like to make it clear that this is—we are

a bit digressing, but the point in this entire topic is that if there is

someone to ask, you might wanna ask her. So I wrote this in February

2017 and this Ms. Joyce Ramirez gave away a Microsoft Word

document to other political camps while she was pitching her services

and it includes the “Nasaan ang Pangulo?” project. And the Microsoft

Word document that she was giving out has her name on the metadata

field for author. Yeah, that’s the end—

SEN. SOTTO. Then, therefore, Madam Chair, the person behind

the “Nasaan ang Pangulo?” is Ms. Joyce Ramirez?

MR. NIETO. Well, the evidence suggests so.

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SEN. SOTTO. The evidence proves that. So who is she?

MR. NIETO. Well, I don’t know.

MR. LACIERDA. Madam Chair, he is accusing based on—on

basis of six degrees of separation. That is not evidence. As a lawyer, I

can speak. Atty. Florin Hilbay here is a lawyer. Those are not

considered as evidence.

THE CHAIRPERSON. You know, I agree, Secretary Lacierda.

At this point, this is still hearsay. But Mr. Nieto saying that

perhaps Joyce can come here and testify, what he is—actually he is

leading it towards that because he said that the document has Joyce’

imprint on it.

MR. NIETO. And the second point here is I think the most

important person to ask here is Mr. Cocoy Dayao, but obviously he

didn’t wanna go here today. The second one is Ms. Joyce Ramirez and

the third one would be Mr. Pete Silva.

Mr. Pete Silva, in January 2017, allegedly circulated a list of

instructions that is intended to shield Vice President Leny Robredo from

flak arising from her US trip in the middle of Typhoon Nina. So this

basically is the center of the LenyLeaks issue that went viral in January

2017. It’s just an email and, you know, it could have been hearsay

but it was Commission on Filipinos Overseas Chief Imelda Nicolas, the

sister of Loida Nicolas-Lewis who shared it. And Mr. Pete Silva

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basically appears to be someone who is directly connected to the Office

of the Vice President and who issues specific instructions on how Leni

supporters will react because the email that he circulated shows that

“from the Office of the Vice President.” Something like this, “We’re

gonna have a problem. When Leni comes back home, she’s gonna be

attacked so this is what we’re gonna do. Attack Bongbong Marcos and

say Zandro is stupid, that he did not graduate from Oxford.” You

know, stuff like that, a very black propaganda.

So the point here is we might want to—because when the news—

sorry, I’m a bit digressing. But when the news organizations reported

about it—and I think the intention really ignored that Pete Silva angle.

So if we want to have a better idea on how the propaganda machine

works, you might wanna invite him too.

So these three people. First is Cocoy Dayao, second is Mr. Pete

Silva of the LeniLeaks controversy because Cocoy might know Pete.

And then No. 3 is Ms. Joyce Ramirez. But Ms. Joyce Ramirez is just an

optional. So Pete and Cocoy are more important than Joyce.

SEN. SOTTO. Madam Chair, may we ask Mr. Nieto to submit to

your Committee documents that he has or that he has acquired or in

his possession to prove these allegations … /meln

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SEN. SOTTO. … to prove these allegations or the reason, not

prove but why he is making these allegations? These documents

about coming from “Nasaan ang Pangulo” and all that stuff. You

would have it in your computers or your hard drive or wherever, or you

have downloaded it, please submit all of it to the Committee.

MR. NIETO. Okay, sir.

SEN. SOTTO. Kasi ngayon ang maganda, Madam Chair, is

siguro alam na ng publiko ngayon na makakapagtago ka sa umpisa.

Pero there is a way pala of tracing you. Mate-trace ka.

MR. NIETO. Opo.

SEN. SOTTO. Kahit na mag-bump sila, dahil itong kay Cocoy

Dayao may mga bump, ano?

MR. NIETO. Opo. Medyo careless po sila. Sorry po, Mr. Senator.

SEN. SOTTO. Yes, go ahead.

MR. NIETO. Medyo careless po. Kasi po si Mr. Cocoy Dayao

claims to be web security consultant of the PCOO, Aquino-era PCOO.

Tapos kaya lang po kasi, no matter how careful you are, kung nag-

iiwan ko na nga mga breadcrumbs, and for people like me who enjoy

looking for breadcrumbs, madadale ka. So ganoon po ang nangyari

kay Mr. Cocoy at saka kay Mr. Pete Silva. So ano po, hihingi lang po

kami ng ilang araw, five days daw po, sabi po ni Atty. Ahmed(?), yung

counsel ko po, para i-prepare po yung mga documents.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. I think marami nang na-raise

tungkol kay Cocoy Dayao. Obviously he is central to this hearing, but

perhaps we can also move on to other questions that would—

SEN. BINAY. Madam Chair, hindi pa ho sumasagot yung other

influencers if they got paid during the previous elections.

MS. PINEDA. Senator, no, I was not paid by anyone.

SEN. BINAY. Mayroon pa ba? No.

Siguro before we move to another point, alam niyo, right we are

in the middle of discussing TRAIN. Government is trying to raise funds

and apparently parang there is an industry that is not being captured

by the BIR which is itong industry ng influencers, parang you are

knowledgeable about it. More or less, magkano ba yung going rate if

you are paying an influencer or you are hiring somebody to pay

influencers?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Wala naman gusto kasing aamin na

nakikipag-usap at nagbabayad sa influencer. Yung ads na lang.

SEN. BINAY. But Madam Chair, hindi ba imbes na taasan natin

ang excise tax, bakit hindi na lang natin habulin itong mga influencers

na ito.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Kung mahahabol natin, talagang dapat,

hindi ba? At kung pagmamahal sa bayan, baka naman hindi lang 30

percent ang ibigay nila, 60 percent of their income.

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SEN. BINAY. Because apparently this is already an

underground economy na hindi ko alam if it’s a billion industry already.

Siguro si Ms. Angeles can shed light to us.

MS. ANGELES. Ma’am, I am not sure about the extent or the

ano. What I know is that in order to do my job, I have to talk to some

of them, at least to understand what’s going on, for instance, when

you spot trend, etcetera, if the strength is manufactured or not.

Before I continue, may I clarify?

The position of Asec Mocha’s office not to handle her accounts

but simply to feed to her priority government information that she can

put out in her blog. Now as to the—actually, madam, I find that an

excellent suggestion to tax social media influencers because it is

unreported, largely unreported. It would be nice if we see people

registering their companies and in that way, we also spot which

trends—it is easier to spot which trends are manufactured; which

trends are assisted. But at the same time, I think they operate in the

same way that public relations people operate. Some of them are

connected with public relations firms and are hired directly by them.

So I guess if we are going to investigate this, that’s where we can

begin.

MS. BANAAG. Also, Madam Chair, if I may? If I may add,

Madam Chair?

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In addition to Atty. Trixie’s assertions, may we add also that if

the Senate could look into social media platforms in order to be able to

regulate them and be able to look into how we could not only make

influencers answer to, because definitely they would perhaps not

because, of course, that would not be beneficial to them. And if

government could look into and regulate social media platforms

because it is not only with—it’s not only about figures, it’s about

algorithms, it’s about business community also.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Technology really plays an important

part. But I would like to give a chance also to the mainstream media

to answer. I think they are unfairly being criticized also for certain

things and we wouldn’t have reached this far also without the support

of mainstream media in giving out the reports. And as I said, they are

accountable to their immediate boss, to their network, to the ratings

even which can play a good and a bad part in their decision to present

the news.

Perhaps, Ms. Ellen Tordesillas, because you are mentioned earlier

by RJ and then later on let’s ask Mr. Roby Alampay also.

MS. TORDESILLAS. Yes, many of us was mentioned by Mr.

Nieto. Just brief kasi ayaw kong malayo yung discussion.

Because VERA Files, we are a group of journalists that undertake

in-depth reporting. And one of our projects is we do fact check. We

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track false claims and misleading statement of public officials and

figures and debunks them with factual evidence. We are accredited—

we are the only accredited group here in the Philippines by the

International Fact Checking Network at Poynter. It’s a global alliance

of fact checkers committed to advance accountability journalism.

Now, yung ano kasi, yung minention (mention) niya yung isang

fact, pinak (fact)-check namin siya kasi sinabi niya noong June 16 na si

Jess Aznar is a photo journalist, kilala iyan ng mga journalist natin

dito. Posted a live video of military operations in Marawi City while he

was imbedded with government troops. It’s a very serious accusation

and because of what he said--in fact, the reactions to that—there was

a report that the military was intending to sanction Jess Aznar for that.

So mayroon kaming—I don’t want to go to the technicalities of

how we do it because marami kaming—we really have a process on

how to fact check. But sa fact checking namin, ang lumabas—ang

question kasi is was the video posted by Aznar on May 25 live? Ang

ano namin, “No, it was not live; it was recorded.” Kumuha pa kami

ng opinion, personal opinion—at sinabi pa sa Poynter, it is recorded so

it’s not live. Tapos ang lumabas na-- ito, hindi na endanger ni Jess

Aznar yung troops because umalis sila—noong pinose (pose) yung

kanyang video noong nakaalis na sila, kasama siya ng troops na umalis

so wala siyang na endanger na troops. So iyon ang point doon.

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Ngayon, ang ano ko lang kasi, nakikinig ako sa mga discussion.

Ako kasi uncomfortable ako sa phrase na “fake news.” Kasi oxymoron

iyon. Kasi one of the attributes of news is accuracy, truthfulness. So

pag sinabi mong fake news, ano iyan? I mean, paanong maging fake

ang totoo, hindi ba? Parang hindi tama yung word na “fake news.”

Kasi ang fake news are actually lies masquerading as truth. Ang

tingin ko sa sitwasyon kasi dito sa bansa ay may sapat naman tayong

batas para madisiplina kung may pagkukulang man o may

pagkakamali ang media. Na-mention na ninyo kanina lahat.

Ang nakikita kong problema ay ang mga opisyal ng pamahalaan

na siyang nagsasabog ng kasinungalingan. A number of government

officials, politicians and other public figures tend to play fast and loose

with the facts, in the process misleading the public. These lies spread

easily owing to the big following and wide reach of these public figures,

including a social media.

Social media, yung Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are just

platforms. Na-mention na ito kanina—I think na-touch ito kanina ng

Chairman, they are vehicles for communications, whether they are

constructive or obstructive, it depends on us on how we use it. Now

nakikita ko sa bill … cts

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MS. TORDESILLAS. … Now, ang nakikita ko sa bill ng SB 1492,

iyong kay Senator Villanueva, “An Act Penalizing the Malicious

Distribution of False News and Other Related Violations,” iyong

platform ang sinisisi at maparusahan. Parang hindi yata tama.

Accountability should be on the sources of falsehood. Ang mahirap ng

dito minsan sa mga reporters, kapag nagbigay ng sinungaling na

pahayag iyong isang opisyal, siyempre iko-quote namin iyan as

accurately as we can. Magagamit pa ngayon ang reporter sa pagkalat

ng kasinungalingan at ng fake news, hindi ba? Now, what is deplorable

in officials spreading falsehood is that they are doing this in taxpayers’

money. If there has to be a new legislation on fake news, the onus

should be on government officials who are the sources of falsehood

who use government resources to spread them. And this should cover

the personal blogs of officials because—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Ma’am, which? Like who, please cite.

MS. TORDESILLAS. I will cite to you the—Iyon na lang kay

President Duterte, iyong bank accounts ni Trillanes. Ayun, inamin niya

later on na fake pala iyong ginawa niya but it was reported, hindi ba?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Sino po “niya”?

MS. TORDESILLAS. Ang Presidente.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. Pero ginamit ng--?

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MS. TORDESILLAS. Siyempre, pag magsasabi kasi ng

sinungaling iyong Presidente, kasi kami sa Vera Files we track false

claims. Ang dami niyan, everyday. Every week at least ang makakaya

namin siguro mga three or four na mga false claims ng mga public

officials at saka, not necessarily—basta public officials and

personalities. So, pag sinabi kasi ng isang official iyan, pag ikaw

reporter ang ano mo talaga is you quote as accurately as you can,

hindi ba? Ang problema nga ay kung lies pala iyong binigay sa iyo ng

official, ‘di you quote the lie accurately and then you make a news

report out of it ay lie pala iyon, hindi ba? So, ‘di kasama ka. Ang

mangyayari ngayon it’s a challenge to reporters.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So, ma’am, when the President uttered

that and then later on it wasn’t verified properly, did they make a

correction in that site?

MS. TORDESILLAS. Kaya niya inamin na figment daw of his

imagination iyon, noong nabuko na siya, hindi ba? So isipin mo,

nagkalat ka ng kasinungalingan. Tapos, ayon ginamit mo pa iyong

reporter sa pagkalat mo. Iyan ang problema ng reporter. Kasi, we are

supposed to write to report truthfully, iyong accuracy. And isa kasing

element ng news is that it has to be accurate.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Pero, ma’am, you know what? You

already reported accurately what the President’s uttered at that time.

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MS. TORDESILLAS. But your report was a lie.

THE CHAIRPERSON. But what you reported—but you didn’t

commit that lie. So later on you can do further research to substantiate

or to disprove.

MS. TORDESILLAS. Oo.

THE CHAIRPERSON. No, but I know what you mean, ma’am,

your predicament. And especially the PCOO will have to report live or

to report word for word what is uttered by the President because they

are under the Office of the President.

MS. TORDESILLAS. So iyon ang point ko.

THE CHAIRPERSON. But should they make the correction

also?

MS. TORDESILLAS. Iyon ang point ko is that ang problema ng

legislation should—the burden should be on the source of falsehood

because there is no—We should not be spreading lies in the first place.

SEN. SOTTO. Madam Chair, Ms. Tordesillas, Ellen, hindi naman

ikaw ang nag-lie. You have a source. You quote the source, hindi ba?

MS. TORDESILLAS. Kahit na. Ginamit ako.

SEN. SOTTO. So whether lie or hindi iyong sinabi, that’s a

different story. Ikaw, hindi ka nag-lie, hindi ba? All right.

MS. TORDESILLAS. No. Pero—

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SEN. SOTTO. So many times our revered Senator Miriam

Defensor-Santiago has done that not only twice but thrice and when

you confront her with something else, she said, “I lied.”

THE CHAIRPERSON. No. But I understand—

SEN. SOTTO. Ganoon lang iyon. Hindi iyon ang problema. The

problem is—

THE CHAIRPERSON. I understand your frustration, ma’am.

You have to report these things as they come and a lot of people are

not necessarily forthright. Okay. But, of course, it doesn’t really—

SEN. VILLANUEVA. Madam Chair, my name was mentioned.

May I just make a –

THE CHAIRPERSON. Your name was mentioned?

SEN. VILLANUEVA. Yes. May I just—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes. Please go ahead, and then GMA-7, I

think your name was also mentioned. Wala bang ABS dito?

VOICE. Si Chie Almario.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. ABS and then TV-5. Go ahead.

SEN. VILLANUEVA. Thank you, Madam Chair.

My name was mentioned, and I just wanted to point out iyong

Senate Bill No. 1492, as mentioned a while ago, na kapag kinowt

(quote) nila ang isang public official, they become liable. Of course,

not. There is nowhere in the bill, Madam Chair, that states pagka mali

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iyong kinowt (quote) nila, they are liable. Ang masama alam nilang

peke iyong news, ire-report nila nang irereport at pagkatapos

dadagdagan pa nila ito. Magko-cause pa ng panic, magko-cause pa ng

pagkakawatak-watak. Just to quickly mention part of the bill that we

wanted to espouse, Madam Chair. And I’d like to hear also kasi kanina

I was listening attentively to PCOO about their interest on defining

what fake news is. Iyong fake news pwede nating i-leave sa courts

kung ano ang gusto nilang i-define. But still if you want to define it,

let’s do it.

But in Senate Bill 1492, we’d like to come up with elements of

what fake news is. And right here, Madam Chair, we figured out four

elements. One is iyong operative word dito, “malicious intent.”

Malicious intent to offer, to publish, distribute, circulate. So iyong

pagpapakalat ng false news or information, tumutulong sa publication,

distribution, circulation.

Pangalawa--and all these elements must be present. Ito iyong

pinu-push po natin. Just for the information of the body, ito po ay

nailathala sa dyaryo, television, radyo maging sa online media.

Pangatlo, ang impormasyon po ay nagko-cause ng panic,

pagkakawatak-watak, kaguluhan, galit, nagpapakalat ng propaganda

na layong siraan ang reputasyon ng isang indibidwal o grupo,

organisasyon.

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At pang-apat, iyong huling elemento, Madam Chair. Iyong may

alam siya--not necessarily full knowledge but mayroon siyang alam na

iyong kanyang ginagawa at pinapakalat na balita ay mali. Alam niyang

mali. Alam niyang hindi inalok para pirmahan noong pitong senador.

Alam niya iyon.

So, Madam Chair, and kanina, nabanggit na rin ng ating Minority

Leader iyong issue ng libel and I just want to point this out, Madam

Chair. While there are some perhaps overlaps on libel and fake news,

gusto nating ipakita, sa libel--habang sa libelo pinaparusahan iyong

pagpapakalat ng malisyosong statement na nag-aakusa sa isang

indibidwal na talagang nakakasira ng reputasyon o pagkatao nito, ang

fake news sa panukala pong ito na ating isinusulong dito, ang

pinaparusahan po ay ang malisyosong pagpapakalat, paggawa athe

paglathala ng maling balita. Mali, na maaaring magdulot ng kaguluhan,

pagkakawatak-watak at panic. Madam Chair, sa libelo po kahit na

totoo iyong isang impormasyon ninyo, kung mapatunayan na walang

mabuting motibo, kahit totoo pa ito, walang mabuting motibo para

ipakalat, maaari po kayong makasuhan. Kanina nga binanggit ng

Minority Leader natin, may na-convict na sa ganitong pagkakataon.

Dito sa fake news na sinusulong po natin sa panukalang ito, ang

katotohanan po ay itinuturing na absolute defense. So kung ito ay

katotohanan kahit na nakakasira pa ng reputasyon, etcetera, pwede

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niyang maging depensa dito sa fake news. Hindi siya magpo-fall under

libel. I just want to put that on record, Madam Chair.

Thank you.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you for the information.

SEN. HONTIVEROS. Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Risa, very quick manifestation

because we have–Next, I think, is Senator Pangilinan.

SEN. HONTIVEROS. Yes, Madam Chair, very briefly. Salamat

po.

Just pursuant po sa tanong ng Chair kay Ms. Tordesillas kanina

later, in fact, I’ll be raising questions about fake news that has

reportedly emanated from the Philippine News Agency itself and also

from PCOO. Just to pursue the question that the Madam Chair was

asking earlier.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. Thank you. And I am glad that you

have that information but I would like to give even just for two

minutes the members of the mainstream media here. Kasi tinira rin

kayo, GMA, ABS. Panahon pa ni FPJ noon, kami na mismo ang

nagsasabi na iyong ABS ay ganito or iyong GMA ay ganyan. So

pagkakataon na ninyo.

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MR. TORDECILLA. Yes, ma’am. Jay Mark Tordecilla po from

GMA News online.

Ia-address ko lang po iyong sinabi ni Asec Mocha Uson kanina

tungkol sa pagpapalaganap raw ng fake news ng GMA. Actually ni-

report po namin noong September 12, nauna po sa online na criniticize

(criticize) po siya ni Zia Alonto Adiong…/jadc

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CDAstrero I-3 October 04, 2017 11:32 a.m. 1

MR. TORDECILLA. … Zia Alonto Adiong ng Lanao del Sur, 1st

District assemblyman ng ARMM, iyong kritisismo ng pagse-selfie niya

umano, nanggaling doon sa assemblyman. So we were reporting the

criticism of her supposed selfie. After—

THE CHAIRPERSON. So it’s not her actual selfie but the

criticism of somebody?

MR. TORDECILLA. Yes, ma’am.

SEN. SOTTO. Did you get her side?

MR. TORDECILLA. We tried to get her side.

MS. USON. Excuse me, sorry. Hindi niyo po kinuha iyong side

ko at iyong ipinakita ninyo sa telebisyon, maling-mali po iyon. Mali po

iyong ipinakita ninyong video habang sinasabi ninyong nagse-selfie ako

at hindi hindi ninyo kinowt (quote) na “diumano.”

THE CHAIRPERSON. Did you verify it if it’s an accurate

assertion, a criticism?

MR. TORDECILLA. Yes. We had the quote from the

assemblyman and then there are photos also of—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Who provided you with the photos?

MR. TORDECILLA. The photos were from her blog.

THE CHAIRPERSON. From where?

MR. TORDECILLA. From her blog.

MS. USON. Madam Chair, hindi po photos iyon, video iyon.

MR. TORDECILLA. Okay.

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MS. USON. Hindi ko po alam kung ano iyong sinasabi ninyong

sources diyan. Hindi po kayo accurate.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So the video was of her in the mosque?

MR. TORDECILLA. Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Taking a video of herself?

MR. TORDECILLA. Ma’am, again, the story was not about her

video but about the comment on her video by the assemblyman.

MS. USON. Pero, Madam Chair, hindi po iyon ang ibinalita nila.

They assumed na I was taking a selfie at ipinakita niyo pa na nagse-

selfie ako na parang ipinalalabas na sa mosque. Maganda po ipapakita

natin iyong video at mapapahiya po kayo sa sinasabi ninyo.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So ang sinasabi mo, Asec Mocha, nandoon

ka, you were documenting what the situation in the mosque?

MS. USON. I was documenting the President po. Kasi tuwing

pumupunta po siya ng Marawi, vini-video ko po at ang sinasabi nila,

picture ko daw na nagse-selfie. Hindi po ako nag-selfie doon. Hindi po

ako bastos na gagawin iyon doon.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So papaano mo vini-video? With your

phone, were you like this? Ito? Ganyan?

MS. USON. No, Senator Bam, you weren’t there. Ako po ay—

SEN. AQUINO. No. I saw it, hindi ba? Nakataas iyong kamay

mo, nandoon iyong mukha mo.

MS. USON. Hindi po, hindi po. May kumukuha po ng video.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. It doesn’t matter because as a reporter, if

you’re documenting it, the purpose of your documentation is to show

what’s happening. That’s your job.

MS. USON. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. I’m not saying it’s—It can be interpreted

kasi that way. Others can be malicious by saying you were taking a

selfie when, in fact, you were documenting the visit of the President.

MS. USON. Yes po and I was not holding the video camera.

Mayroon pong kumukuha sa akin. Humingi po ako ng favor, Senator.

SEN. AQUINO. Mr. Chairman, just on that point lang.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. Go ahead.

SEN. AQUINO. Hinihingi mo sa GMA News Online na hingin

iyong side mo. Sa dinami-daming mga blog mo tungkol sa amin dito,

may isang beses ba na humingi ka ng side namin?

SEN. SOTTO. Hindi, ako ang nagsabi noon. Ako nagtanong sa

GMA News Online …

SEN. AQUINO. Kaya nga. So Asec Mocha—

SEN. SOTTO. Because ang mga journalists, pag mayroong isang

balita na makakasama sa isang tao, dapat kukunin mo iyong kabilang

side.

SEN. AQUINO. That’s right.

SEN. SOTTO. Pag hindi mo kinuha iyong kabilang side, ang

totoo niyan, hindi ka dapat ano.

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SEN. AQUINO. That’s right. I agree.

SEN. SOTTO. Itong sinasabi ninyo, iba naman iyan, blog iyan.

SEN. AQUINO. No, no, I agree.

Asec Mocha, sabi mo kay Mr. Tordecilla, “Hiningi mo ba iyong

side ko?” And sabi niya, you tried. At sabi mo, hindi.

MS. USON. Senator, hindi ko po siya tinanong kung hiningi niya

iyong side ko. Ang sinabi po—Si Senator Sotto po ang nagtanong.

And also po, ang pinag—

SEN. AQUINO. So sa tingin mo ba, dapat hiningi niya iyong

side mo?

MS. USON. Natural po, journalists sila; trabaho po nila iyon--

kunin iyong both sides.

SEN. AQUINO. In your case, never ka humingi ng side ng lahat

ng mga nilagyan mong blog dito. In fact, just the other day, may blog

ka sa minority. May isang beses ka bang humingi ng side namin?

MS. USON. Senator, with all due respect, hindi po ako journalist.

SEN. AQUINO. Yes or no? May isang beses ba na humingi ka ng

side namin?

MS. USON. Blogger po ako, hindi po ako journalist.

SEN. AQUINO. Madam Chairman, can you instruct the resource

person to answer yes or no, please?

So may isang beses ba na hiningi mo iyong side namin sa mga

times na binatikos mo kami, may inilabas kang mga pekeng balita?

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MS. USON. Ano po iyong pekeng balita na iyon, Senator Bam

Aquino?

SEN. AQUINO. Maglalabas ho kami mamaya.

MS. USON. Okay.

SEN. AQUINO. But can I ask lang, Asec Mocha, humingi ka ba

ng side namin, ni isang beses, all those times na you blogged about

us? Yes or no, ma’am?

MS. USON. Senator Bam Aquino, ang ginagawa ko po ay

blogging at hindi po ako journalist.

SEN. AQUINO. Yes, I know. Ang tanong ko is yes or no.

THE CHAIRPERSON. I think maybe the answer is no. But then

your reason is because—

SEN. AQUINO. Wait. I’m sorry, Chairman. I want to hear it

from Asec Mocha herself. Yes or no?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay, go ahead.

SEN. AQUINO. May isang beses ba na hiningi mo iyong side

namin?

THE CHAIRPERSON. You can say yes, no or that you refuse to

answer but you have to justify why.

MS. USON. I refuse to answer that question.

SEN. AQUINO. Because on the grounds of?

MS. USON. I have the right to refuse that question.

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SEN. AQUINO. No, you don’t have the right to refuse. You

have the right to self-incrimination.

MS. USON. Okay po. I have the right to—

SEN. AQUINO. So ibig sabihin noon, kung mapaperwisyo ka,

puwede kang hindi sumagot.

MS. USON. I have the right—ano po?—I have the right agianst

self-discrimi—self-incrimination. Pasensiya na.

SEN. AQUINO. Anong krimen ang tinutukoy mo, Asec Mocha?

Self-incrimination presupposes may krimen na ipinapataw sa iyo. Ano

iyong krimen na iyon?

MS. USON. Senator Bam, I refuse to answer that question at

lumalayo po tayo doon sa usapin ng fake news po ng GMA 7 na ginawa

sa akin.

SEN. AQUINO. I’m asking a simple question, Mr. Chairman.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Bam, I think it’s been made

clear.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Madam Chair, I don’t think we should embarrass

our resource persons here whoever they are, whether they are from

the other side of the political camp or not.

SEN. AQUINO. No. Mr. Chairman, let me just finish my point.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Migz, I think—

SEN. ZUBIRI. I believe—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. Order. Senator Migz.

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SEN. ZUBIRI. Yes.

Each and every senator should address the Chair rather than—

including her, Secretary Asec Mocha, should address the Chair so that

we have order here so that we don’t embarrass each other. This is not

a—

THE CHAIRPERSON. I agree. Okay.

So, Senator Bam, address me and then I will ask her.

SEN. AQUINO. Madam Chairperson, if I may finish. The

resolution filed by our colleagues, which is their right to file, talks

about grievances. Pero palagay ko, hindi puwedeng pag-usapan ang

grievance lang ng iilan. Because in our manifestation, we talked about

fake news in general. We talked about wanting to push a law. Senator

Villanueva has been good enough to file a bill on fake news. So

palagay ko, Madam Chairperson, lahat ng ito ay puwedeng pag-usapan

sa hearing na ito. Hindi lang naman iyong iisang resolusyon.

Now, my question is, and it’s a very simple question, sa mga

panahon na nag-blog si Asec Mocha tungkol sa minority, tungkol sa

opposition, tungkol sa aming lahat dito, it’s a very simple question, yes

or no lang po, hiningan ba niya kami ng side in the same way na iyon

iyong hinihingi niya mula sa GMA News Online? So fairness ang

hinihingi mo, Asec Mocha. You’re asking that these agencies be fair to

you.

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So ang sinasabi ko lang, hinihingi mo iyong fairness, puwede

bang bigyan mo rin kami ng fairness? So ang tanong ko po, Madam

Chairperson, which you may ask her and which I insist that she

answers, humingi ba siya ng side ng mga opposition? Humingi ba siya

ng side ng minority?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Asec Mocha, ganito lang, kaunting payo

ukol dito, hindi naman incriminating iyan kahit sagutin mo kasi it

doesn’t imply a crime.

MS. USON. Opo, ma’am.

SEN. AQUINO. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. It might be—others can probably say that

it’s incompetence or negligence or opinionated blogging…

MS. USON. Okay po.

THE CHAIRPERSON. …but you can answer it.

MS. USON. Madam Chair, I would like to apologize for my

reaction kanina. Dapat po pala kayo lagi ang ina-address. First time

ko po kasing maka-attend ng Senate hearing at medyo malungkot po

ako dahil wala dito si Senator Trillanes. [Laughter]

Unang-una po, sir, karapatan po ng blogger iyon sa kanyang

opinion, Madam Chair, kung gusto niyang hingin iyong side ng isang

tao. Opinion-based po ang blogging. Unlike po sa mainstream media,

mayroon silang obligasyon bago nila i-report iyong fake news na

ginawa nila.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. So Usec Egco, do you employ the

services of Asec Mocha as a blogger for PCOO?

MR. EGCO. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Number one, I am not her employer. And like her, like all of us

here, we serve at the pleasure of the President.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. So who defines your official duties

and functions?

MR. EGCO. Her official duties and functions?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes, all of you. Sabi more, you’re not her

employer but you must know or she must be answerable to you.

You’re the usec. So blogger ba siya? Kasi kung ganoon—

MR. EGCO. All right. She is assistant secretary for social media.

Okay, ma’am.

To answer you, I was a journalist for more than two decades. All

right. So I’m now with government. That’s where the problem lies. I

was talking about earlier today that iyong blogging, especially now na

nandito kami sa government, problema namin dito, have we lost our

right under Article III, Section 4 of the Constitution, the right to speak,

to express our opinions?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes, you have. If you speak officially on

a government side, you have unless you clarify that it’s your personal

opinion but you should not use the government portal.

MS. USON. Yes.

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MR. EGCO. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Now, I just want to make it clear. So

GMA, hindi niyo daw nabigyan si Ms. Mocha ng pagkakataon na

sumagot. Pero ito rin, iyong sinabi ni Mr. Nieto dito—kaya nga natin,

hindi ba—

MR. EGCO. Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Kaya nga ito legislation, iyong right of

reply. Mukhang ngayon, baka nakikita natin iyong pangangailangan

nito para pag may nasiraan o may gustong sumagot, dapat bigyan ng

pagkakataon.

So ganito na lang kasi ayokong nag-iimbento … /cda

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CMNERY II-3 October 4, 2017 11:42 a.m. 1

THE CHAIRPERSON. ... ayokong nag-iimbento ka ng sagot

dahil mukhang hindi mo alam iyong clear definition ng mga trabaho

ninyo. Bago pa lang kayo—I’d say bago, one year and a half. Submit

ninyo sa akin iyong job description ng bawat sa inyo. Sabihin kay

Secretary Martin para alam kasi that’s my Committee, Public Info, and

you’re a government agency. Your liabilities are different than a

common blogger or a private individual.

So now, Roby and then ABS—

SEN. HONTIVEROS. Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Sinu-sino ang nagsalita?

SEN. HONTIVEROS. Madam Chair, just very briefly dahil

nabanggit niyo rin si Sec. Andanar and to the point we are discussing

now. Noong August 12 po sa Philippine Star, sinabi ni Sec. Andanar,

bloggers have to follow journalists’ code of ethics. So straight from

the horse’s mouth, Madam Chair.

Salamat po.

THE CHAIRPERSON. O sige. I-submit ninyo uli iyan with your

signatures as employees of the PCOO.

MS. BANAAG. One minute, Chairman.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes, Asec Banaag.

MS. BANAAG. One minute, Chairperson.

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Yes, ma’am. That is the opinion of Secretary Andanar but it is

not yet a policy and, of course, it is not a policy of PCOO, ma’am. That

is his opinion, yes, Honorable Senators.

THE CHAIRPERSON. But isn’t he the secretary, the overall

secretary for PCOO?

MS. BANAAG. Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So when he uttered it, that is his opinion

but he has not directed it to be a policy yet.

MS. BANAAG. In writing, not yet in writing, ma’am. And it is

not yet—

THE CHAIRPERSON. But don’t you agree that that’s actually

quite important?

MS. BANAAG. It is. It is very important, ma’am. We do

agree.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So you personally, you agree that you

should have that, right?

MS. BANAAG. Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So let’s make it a policy soon.

MS. BANAAG. Yes, ma’am.

SEN. SOTTO. So that this guy Cocoy Dayao should get our side

first before he say we refused to sign. Hindi ba?

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MS. BANAAG. And, of course, ma’am, if I may comment on

Asec Mocha’s status in our office, as reiterated a while ago, Asec

Mocha’s blog is personal to her. When Senator Trillanes filed a case

against Asec Mocha, it was not the PCOO. And she will always be

liable to whatever contents her post would have.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So you’re saying that she can be held

accountable for her personal views?

MS. BANAAG. Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So now you have to probably make a

clear distinction kasi nga you carry the term “Asec”.

MS. BANAAG. Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Pero iyon ba iyon nasa PCOO blog? Nasa

PCOO site ba iyon?

MS. BANAAG. No, ma’am. It is not in the PCOO blog. She

has—

THE CHAIRPERSON. But did you carry it?

MS. BANAAG. Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Did you carry it?

MS. BANAAG. No, ma’am. It’s a personal blog by Asec

Mocha...

THE CHAIRPERSON. But were you linked in that?

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MS. BANAAG. No, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. No. Okay. I just want to clarify.

SEN. BINAY. Madam Chair, siguro for clarification na lang.

Since we’re all government officials, we are bound by R.A. 6713

and under Section 4, nakasulat doon na we cannot use the excuse of

doing things in her capacity as a private individual. So parang

malinaw na malinaw na, at this point in time, Asec Uson, hindi mo na

puwedeng ihiwalay iyong pagiging blogger mo sa pagiging Asec mo. I

guess, hindi ba, para malinaw na talaga baka it’s high time for you to

decide kung gusto mong maging blogger o kung gusto mong maging

Asec.

Thank you, Ms. Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. Let us proceed now with the—

MS. USON. Thank you.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Do you want to respond?

MS. USON. Yes, Madam Chair.

Iyong pagba-blogging ko po, I think I’m just exercising my right

to freedom of expression, freedom of speech, at lahat naman po tayo

ay may kalayaang ipahayag ang ating mga sarili. And also, gusto ko

lamang pong linawin na si Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles ay hindi po—she

doesn’t handle my social media accounts kasi po ito iyong kumakalat

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ngayon sa Twitter. So wala pong kinalaman si Atty. Trixie Cruz-

Angeles sa aking social media account.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Siguro din dahil napaka-epektibo ni Asec

Mocha at alam ko umpisa pa lang, noon naman, you’re very

transparent, you’ve been a supporter of the President. Perhaps, she

will also be more effective as—I don’t know—like a PDP Laban blogger

or somebody like—because it’s political. I mean, whether we admit it

or not, it will be viewed as something political unless you just report

straight policy without comments. Okay. So this is a thin line that we

really need to thread carefully and be very cautious.

Roby, baka you have something to add to this?

MR. ALAMPAY. Maraming salamat po.

Maiksi lang naman.

I don’t have a prepared statement. Honestly, my agenda here

was really just to listen because katulad po ng sinabi ni Usec Egco and

sinususugan ko iyong karamihan ng sinabi niya, it’s very hard to

define. And I agree with that premise that it starts with that we don’t

really know—maybe we know, we have ideas but one thing that I think

is obvious at this point, in this hearing is that nobody really agrees on

one definition.

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I’d also like to start off on what you said, Madam Chair, that in

giving us this time to speak, that mainstream media has been unfairly

criticized as well. I just want to start on that premise, and I think I

speak for all my colleagues.

No, it’s not unfair. You know, pinasok namin itong industriyang

ito, araw-araw, oras-oras and now with social media, minute by

minute, we know we are fair game. So with everybody who has

criticisms on any of us—today, I think I speak for everyone. That’s fair

game, tanggap namin iyan. I mean, we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t

accept that as part of reality. Nonetheless, in that spirit, I do say that

we try our best. We’re not perfect. We have lapses. We have

apologized many times. I speak for myself. I’ve apologized on social

media many times, in public pag talagang mali kami at nagkulang and

so on.

But moving on to the issue at hand which is trying to legislate

against fake news, again, I would take off on what Usec Egco said that

it’s hard without any definition. Our highest concern, of course, is free

expression and press freedom. The imperfections and the problems

arising from our imperfect practice and the imperfections and the

trouble and the harassment that can arise from this new technology

and how it has empowered all of us and created this new platform in

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this new world that a lot of us don’t understand, we understand where

it is coming from, where people say—you know, we need to control

this. We need a way to have some control over this, and I agree. Not

all expression is free. There has to be accountability and discipline and

liabilities.

That said, we do believe that, at this point, it is safer to err on

the presumption that there is more than enough laws and regulations

right now. I have not heard any concern, frankly, raised in the past

couple of hours. I’m not a lawyer but I would think that everything

that has been raised even on a conceptual level, we can start pursuing

on a conceptual level. The question, for example, of what’s a digital

influencer. Even I, we’re in media, we would like to know the magic. I

mean, some of them are doing much better than us in terms of

reaching media. We’d like to know the magic as well. But I turned to

the lawyers beside me and I asked, I mean, “Is there a law on

regulating the lobby industry?” for example. And you would think that

there are avenues to start pursuing all of these questions logically and

dispassionately and so on.

When it comes to libel and cyberbullying and so on, I think,

again, it is there. The bottom line I think is the interest for everyone.

And the one thing that everybody actually agrees on in the past two

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hours is that we want our free expression, we want our platforms. I

think we will all disagree once we start talking about and start going

down the slippery slope of what irresponsibility triggers a new law or

what irresponsibility or malpractice should trigger a new policy. That’s

where we start on—I think we should start with where we agree. And

we agree that press freedom and free expression for everyone

regardless of how you call yourself, a blogger, influencer, even

officials—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Mr. Alampay, your position is very much

noted and appreciated. I think that I need to clarify that we are here

actually because we respect freedom of expression but we know and

you’ve also stated that there are limits also and we have a

responsibility to bear. So that’s noted.

I would like to hear also from ABS. I would like to hear from

the former chair of MTRCB on self-regulation. But very short, I’ll give

you like three minutes each because we also have our bloggers that I

want to hear from and especially from our legal resource persons. So

three minutes each.

MR. ALAMPAY. Ma’am, thirty seconds lang just to finish my—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay.

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MR. ALAMPAY. Again, I started with concurring with Usec

Egco ... /cmn

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MR. ALAMPAY. … Usec Egco and I will end with concurring with

him also. The one program or campaign that I will unequivocally

support and I do believe that is the ultimate solution is finding a way

to institutionalize information literacy, not just news literacy but

information literacy starting as early as grade school. As soon as

children are handed a cellphone or have access to television or have

access to a computer and the Internet, children should immediately be

part of a program to—

THE CHAIRPERSON. You can start with your network as your

station public service. With a new law and franchising, you can put

something like, ito ang mga dapat ninyong gawin, pag may narinig

kayong balita, tanungin ninyo iyong magulang ninyo, i-check ninyo

iyong dyaryo, o iyong ganoon. I mean, you can do that also. We can

start but definitely, this is something that we need to explore on an

institutional basis.

MR. ALAMPAY. Madam Chair, just on one thing you said

kanina. You said, “Ito na tayo ngayon.” Ang isang nakakabahala is

ngayon ang instinct ng bawat tao ay tuwing may makikita sa

Facebook, immediately, tinatanong, “Anong agenda nito? Saan

nanggagaling ito?” Sa akin po, maganda iyon. Hindi po nakakabahala

iyon. Ang sa akin, lahat tayo dapat ganoon. Mula bata haggang

matanda, lahat tayo, that is information literacy.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes. But we should not stop from there.

MR. ALAMPAY. Yes, exactly. We should start with a

questioning—

THE CHAIRPERSON. No. But, see, people ask that and then

they stop. But sometimes there are good points that are raised by

your opponent. Never mind. I don’t wanna give due credit anymore

later on.

Ms. Gonzalez.

MS. GONZALEZ. Yes. Chi Almario Gonzales from ABS-CBN.

I’d like first to echo what Ellen Tordesillas said, iyong “fake

news” term. I think it is not the right term because news means

accuracy, so probably the right term should be “misinformation.”

Because professional journalists and professional news organizations

are—you know, our job is to produce news and that is to be accurate.

But, of course, it doesn’t mean that we don’t make mistakes. That’s

why when we make mistakes, we have these self-regulatory

mechanisms that we go to. So, for ABS-CBN, for the broadcast

industry, we have KBP. And we have our network ombudsman and

also our news ethics unit. So, if we make mistakes, people—like Mr.

Alampay said, we welcome criticisms.

THE CHAIRPERSON. I know you have ombudsman.

MS. GONZALEZ. Yes.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. Hindi ba, in TV5 and also in ABS.

MS. GONZALEZ. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. But Ms. Uson, you were saying, na-fake

news ka ng ABS?

MS. USON. Yes po, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Anong ginawa sa iyo?

MS. USON. Hindi pa po ako opisyal, sinabi po ng ABS-CBN, isa

sa mga reporter nila na ako daw po ay in-appoint na consultant ng

Bureau of Customs. At dahil po doon, na-bash po ako online.

Inungkat na iyong pagkatao ko at iyon po, Madam, BOC consultant

daw ako.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Pero nabigyan ka ng pagkakataon

namanna mag-answer, na sumagot.

MS. USON. Hindi rin po, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Hindi?

MS. USON. Hindi po, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Ma’am, are you familiar with this?

MS. GONZALEZ. I am not personally familiar with it but kanina

nagtanong ako and I think—first, this is what I want to say about fake

news kasi for traditional media, those who are aggrieved, they can

avail of the mechanisms that we have. Now, I am not saying—I can’t

really say kung na-interview si Ms. Mocha Uson kasi I haven’t talked to

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the reporter but what could have been done is easily complain or call

us, actually even by call or by email and we would launch an

investigation on that. And if we make a mistake, we will always

correct it through, however, format that we do—that we have. And I

think particularly for this lang, doon sa initial questioning ko, ma’am, I

think the reporter quoted Commissioner Faeldon, he was the one who

said that Ms. Mocha Uson was going to be appointed. And then, yes, it

was wrong and then, I think you gave aq statement in your Facebook

account and we published that it was a wrong information and we

corrected it with that statement. So, that’s how we handled that

situation.

THE CHAIRPERSON. All right. It’s good to know that you

correct yourselves, hindi ba, and you don’t leave it at that.

MS. GONZALEZ. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Now, before I ask for the—MTRCB first

and then Senator Pangilinan na. Pasensiya na po.

Nakikiramay din pala kami sa inyo, Chair Toto.

MR. VILLAREAL. Thank you po, Madam Chair, and good

morning to all the members of the Committee.

From where I am, former colleagues in government, well, looking

most especially at Senate Bill 1492, I think, Madam Chair, my

recommendation there would be to integrate really a system of self-

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regulation where there would be empowerment measures given to

those who are engaged both in the handling and dissemination of

information. As a law professor, I agree with Senator Drilon, what he

mentioned, we already have definitions as to what false information

is. I believe that it is not healthy or productive to find a definition of

fake news but what to do with information. That would be what you

call in criminal law as the gravamen of the offense. And with this, my

recommendation is for the bill to include not only—to not only include

malicious distribution but distribution itself because another aspect is

that, do we have one who has a blog, one who has any outlet via

social media. Do they have any vetting system as to whenever they

receive information. For instance, you make a conclusion, you make a

judgment with respect to actuations of a government official, or let us

say, the life of a person, then sometimes there is a degree of

competence. Who are your sources, if you will say this person is sick

of a certain disease, did you consult the New England Journal of

Medicine, for instance, because everybody has the right as well as duty

to honor and bear witness to the truth. Ang basic po dito ay how to

handle the truth.

So, I agree, Madam Chair, that there should be a vetting system

and then as a matter of addressing any question as to equal

protection of the laws, the norms for journalists should equally apply

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to those who handle, circulate information because after all, those in

social media, they call themselves media. I have other things to say

but I would just follow the norm indicated by Madam Chairperson to

just speak on the matter of self-regulation and having a vetting

system at this time.

THE CHAIRPERSON. And thank you for being a proponent of

self-regulation.

MR. VILLAREAL. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. This is very important. But as you said,

we should correct ourselves but there should be a vetting process

before we post information on our blogs.

Okay. So, thank you, Chair Toto.

I would like now to continue. Before we ask Professor Hilbay and

also Dean Laviña and then Mr. Mabanta and Mr. Nieto, we will have

Senator Pangilinan.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Thank you. Thank you, Madam

Chairperson.

I think Dean Tony and Prof Florin might be able to answer some

of the questions that I will be raising in terms of legal expertise on the

matter of laws that we are possibly going to craft on addressing these

matters.

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The data that we have is that 97 percent of Pinoys, Filipinos on

the net are actually on Facebook. And only 3 percent are not on

Facebook. So, that is number one.

Number two, the data that we also have is that Facebook

actually is the biggest carrier of fake news. And they earn from it

because of the shares, the number of—So, I just wanted that clarified.

I guess, Dean Tony, please answer so that we place it on record.

MR. LA VIÑA. Yes. In fact, when I am asked later on, that’s

where the regulation should be and globally that is what is happening.

You do not go after the blogger, you do not go after the individual, the

traditional news outlets already have ways of going after them but it is

the disseminators that are earning a lot of money here. And I am not

really caring about whether it is true or not and gets hurt or not, it’s

just a business proposition for them that you can do. So, the global

tendency is actually to do that. Some harder than others … /admasicap

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MR. LA VIÑA. … Some harder than others. China, you know,

very hard. Germany, movement towards very strong financial

measures, sanctions, for those things.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Could you say the Germany experience?

MR. LA VIÑA. Well, they haven’t pass the law. They just had

the elections but their proposal actually is where there is criminal

content, Facebook, Twitter and all, they have to remove it within 24

hours. For not criminal content but fake news that can be annulled(?),

they have to do it in like two or three days.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Okay. How is that not—

MR. LA VIÑA. So it doesn’t disseminate.

SEN. PANGILINAN. How is that not violative of the right to

free speech and expression?

MR. LA VIÑA. Well, I don’t think that’s violative of the right to

free speech because you’re not—the person who is speaking can still

speak. But what you’re stopping is the means of propagating it. In

traditional media, they also do that. Right? They also stop fake news

through verification.

SEN. PANGILINAN. And editorial—

MR. LA VIÑA. Yeah. They do that all the time. When they

hear news and they verify and they say it’s wrong, you know, it’s not—

this news is not right, then they would right away not do that already.

So they actually do that already in practice. But, you know, in the

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past, Facebook used to say, “We don’t care about content, we’re not a

news organization. We’re not—” And they’re not. That’s also true, I

think. But even if they are not a news organization, you can actually

regulate them to get that to happen. But you have to make it in terms

that they understood—that they understand and the term is actually,

the way is actually through sanctions or economic sanctions.

SEN. PANGILINAN. For example, nabanggit mo po kanina na

kapag mayroong criminal …

MR. LA VIÑA. Content.

SEN. PANGILINAN. … content.

MR. LA VIÑA. May criminal libel or …

SEN. PANGILINAN. Criminal libel.

MR. LA VIÑA. … or sex abuse, that type of thing.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Yes. Si Zuckerberg is probably one of the

wealthiest people in the world. I mean, hindi ba, one of the richest. In

other words, they are earning a lot from Facebook and ads at marami

rin silang kinikita kahit fake news pa. So halimbawa, may criminal

content, Congress can therefore come up with a law saying, “Within 24

hours of that criminal content uploaded, Facebook must bring it out.”

MR. LA VIÑA. Yes.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Otherwise, they will face—Baka nga 24

hours is masyadong mahaba.

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MR. LA VIÑA. And by the way, I want to put a third ano

because a lot of the fake news is also happening in blog groups that

are created. So Reddit has done a very good job of eliminating hate

language. They just dismantle groups using analysis. When you curse

people, when you hate … you just—and so again, it’s not anyone. I

can say anything I want. I can put anything I want. My freedom of

speech is not affected. But the infrastructure for spreading hate is

dismantled. That’s my point. We have to be really smart.

The same thing I think with online media services. I have to say

that when I write an article and, honestly, I struggle to be really

nonpartisan and subjective and you know that as much as possible

because I feel that’s my role. But when I post it in, you know, like

Rappler or InterAksyon or wherever I post it, the comments are just

really bad, I mean—and I think that, you know, the website should do

that. Just delete them. Any curse, any hate language, just delete

them. I do that with my own. I mean, I’m lucky because I have a lot

of students that are helping me with this. So when I’m attacked by

trolls, my students attack back and they just help and the trolls are

overwhelmed quickly. But that’s what you have to do—to do this

without violating freedom of speech. I think that is sacrosanct in my

view. But there’s a way to be smart about dealing with it.

SEN. PANGILINAN. What about the mainstream media who

have their portals, would you have any comment on that particular

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take-down requirement, for example, for Facebook? Kayo ba ay

sumasang-ayon ba kayo sa ganoong klaseng batas o panukalang batas

o magiging batas?

MR. ALAMPAY. Hindi pa po doon sa antas ng batas ano but

just on daily practice. There are some fairly obvious, you know, nagpi-

P.I., iyong talagang bastos, madali iyon. But part of our interest is not

just to prove the value of press freedom and prove the value of free

expression, it is also to educate the public on engagement and so on.

I’m an optimist when it comes to press freedom and free

expression and I would like to think that the majority of the Filipinos

who take part are taking part on a new platform. They find this very

liberating. It’s a new way of communicating and some—frankly,

honestly and obvious naman sa ating lahat—don’t have the same

sensibility, the same language as other people. It’s very hard to make

that decision on who is deliberately being a troll or who is new to this

and thinks that the only way to communicate is with all caps and

exclamation points. You have to imagine at the other end of that

platform—is this a kid? Is this a child? Is this somebody coming into

this democratic environment for the first time and voicing out for the

first time? We didn’t have that. We grew up in a generation where

you sat down and took maybe one or two days to write a letter to the

editor, and then once it’s there, an editor actually reads it and vets it

and so on.

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So that’s a dilemma. Like I said, it’s not really an answer but

that’s the dilemma.

SEN. PANGILINAN. What about self-regulation, absent the

law?

MR. ALAMPAY. Yes.

SEN. PANGILINAN. KBP is here? Could you come up with a

memorandum of agreement among all news agencies that you will

take a strong position on fake news? You know, this is, of course, self-

regulation. You can say, “No, we don’t want to take a strong position

on fake news.”

MR. ALAMPAY. No, we do take a position on self-regulation.

We subscribe to self-regulation—

SEN. PANGILINAN. Meaning, a strong position on mainstream

media saying, “We will come together, unite, coordinate efforts on

opposing, unmasking and taking down fake news.” Posible ba iyon? Is

that in the realm of the possibility?

MR. ALAMPAY. Mr. Senator, this is always the dilemma for us.

We can agree up to a certain point on, you know, things are bad,

things need to be controlled, things need to be reined back and so on.

We always hit a wall on the question of, who’s to say? We can define

it. We can define fake news.

SEN. PANGILINAN. ABS will have its own set of policies. GMA

will have, News 5 will have.

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MR. ALAMPAY. Yes. And at the end of the day, we will be

back to where we are right now where you trust us to make that

editorial decision and people will ask, why do you have all that power?

It will go back round to the same situation where we are.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Madam Chair, I think let’s go ahead.

Tony, thank you.

MR. LA VIÑA. Mr. Senator, Madam Chair, I actually want to

say something here also related to that because I’m actually chairman,

for the last five years already, of the Philippine Press Council.

The Philippine Press Council is the print media, self-regulatory

system for the right of reply. Purely for the right of reply and only for

print media. And I’ve been chairing it—and we’re basically the

complaints body. If anyone feels that their right to reply was violated

by all the—most of the newspapers are members of that, they can

actually come to us. Guess what? No case for the last four years. I

think the last time was five years ago when we had a case. We only

meet when there’s a case, so there’s no—and, usually, the cases

before have always been about space. You were talking about that

earlier, Madam Chair, that most newspapers would print the reply but

they need it to be shorter because—

THE CHAIRPERSON. So, Dean, are you saying that for the

right of reply, we don’t need to legislate that?

MR. LA VIÑA. No, you definitely do not need to legislate that.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. We don’t need, so you’re not in favor of

legislating that.

MR. LA VIÑA. Yes, I think a self-regulatory mechanism—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Why? You know, my initial position was

we don’t need to legislate because I don’t want to tell media what to

write. Kasi, hindi ba, even—Actually, Mr. Alampay, thank you for

always being in our hearings and presenting views candidly but we

don’t want to overlegislate. But is there a need for that? Maybe now

we do because there are some people who are not given the right also.

Maybe in your particular paper, they’re given the chance. But maybe

in others, maybe not.

MR. LA VIÑA. The Philippine Press Council is industry-wide.

It’s part of the Philippine Press Institute and—I’m just saying that it

didn’t seem to be a problem in terms of print media. My point was

that usually the restriction to the right to reply is more about the space

because it’s an editorial decision … /meln

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MR. LA VIÑA. … it’s an editorial decision of what to put and

you don’t really want to intervene with that. But with online, as you

were saying earlier, I’m ready to modify my position, personal

position, not necessarily the Press Council because we haven’t met

about this, where these online versions already, well, at least you can

just--if not post the whole thing, the letter, you can at least put a link

to whatever the complaint is. So there are ways of doing that that

was not possible under print media before.

Usually when case would come to us, what we will simply tell the

newspaper, it’s up to them to obey us. What we usually do is you

print it but you can give this space, you know, X words based on your

own policies. They also have their own policies for letters to the

editor, so without any violation of editorial content.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Actually--Dean, thank you for your

position.

Here’s the thing. This is the hazard of our job. For example,

may lalabas na balita, Ombudsman finds so and so guilty of this or

Ombudsman recommends a case. And then later on mayroong good

news na o kaya may sinabi a particular public figure is—well, let’s say,

failed to pay the BIR taxes or showbiz personality. Iyon pala mali.

Kunyari front page yung una, biglang ang correction na lang nasa page

8. I mean, iyon talaga. That’s the prize of being in the public eye.

If you are not news anymore, you are there. So you can also

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understand the frustration. This is where your power is. You get to

decide where to put it, how much attention is given to it, that’s why

it’s important also because these onlines, we can have our own site

that will do the correction and will put it in the front. So mga ganoon

lang. But anyway, we will continue.

Senator Pangilinan.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Yes. I have a few more--

MS. TORDESILLAS. I just want to add to the Facebook

discussion.

I think it’s important to give a background on how Facebook has

changed the way we consumed news. In the past, when you want to

read about last night’s basketball game, you had to buy the whole

newspaper. You can’t just go to the newsstand and say, “I want to get

the result of the Ginebra-Purefoods game last night.”

Unlike today, when you’re on Facebook, you can actually click

directly on to that article. So that is actually the top story on your

news feed. So I think as media organizations, we also acknowledge

that part of our editorial powers have been ceded to the audience.

The thing that comes out on your smart phone on top of your feed are

the stories that are being clicked, being likely shared. And so part of

that editorial judgment doesn’t lie with the editors anymore, but also

with our users and for most online user organizations in the

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Philippines, more than 50 percent of our graphic already come from

social media.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes. You know what, there are two

sides of the story there. One thing is you are accountable to your

viewing public, but on the other hand, they are also dictating to you

what to write, when sometimes what is relevant is not necessarily

popular. So you also have to balance that. You have a responsibility--

you have a franchise that is a privilege given by the government. So

you need to be able to fully exercise that right to serve the public. So

it shouldn’t just be dictated by ratings.

And I would like to acknowledge the presence of Senator Sonny

Trillanes.

MS. BANAAG. [Off-mike] Ma’am, she just might be on the

toilet. Sorry. She didn’t want to disturb, interrupt, ma’am, so I am

asking an apology.

THE CHAIRPERSON. You know, I thought that she would be

pleased. But anyway—

MS. BANAAG. She is so pleased, ma’am. She was so happy,

so—

THE CHAIRPERSON. She’s very pleased she had to go to the

powder room.

MS. BANAAG. Yes, ma’am, and prepare.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. So Senator Trillanes just had his name

listed. We will be asking in the order of arrival, so we will excuse you

first, Senator Trillanes.

MR. TORDECILLA. Madam Chair, just two points.

MS. TORDESILLAS. Sorry. Can I finish my--

MR. TORDECILLA. I am sorry, sorry.

MS. TORDESILLAS. So part of the editorial is already the user.

And in the Philippines, we have a unique case of having free Facebook

users so they access in the site but they are unable to click through to

our website, so all they see is the headline.

Now I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, but when you are in a

free Facebook mode, all you see is the title and you don’t even see the

thumbnail photo. So it’s very easy to be fooled into thinking that it

was the legitimate site in reading the headline and assuming it’s true

and sharing it without even going into the article itself.

In India, they already outlawed—they had regulations to outlaw

free Facebook offerings because it violated net neutrality principles.

So I don’t know, it might prove to be unpopular in the Philippines

because everyone wants free Facebook but it might be something that

we might consider. Because in India, what they are pushing for is that

everyone should have good internet access to all sites and not just

Facebook.

Thank you.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. Well, thank you. Please submit

the position paper. You’ve made some good points.

Senator Pangilinan, you still have a few more minutes left.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Thank you.

I’d like to move to another subject matter. Kasi nabanggit

kanina ni Mr. Nieto si Ms. Tirol who was connected with my office

and—Ang tanong ko lang, did you find any direct connection between

the posts of the seven senators and the role of Ms. Tirol in such

posting?

MR. NIETO. Good morning, Senator.

The post about the seven senators came from Silent No More PH.

SEN. PANGILINAN. No, no. I am asking you, did you find any

direct involvement of Ms. Tirol in the posting of the Silent No More

post? Did you find her direct involvement?

MR. NIETO. No, and I have never proved any.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Okay. Thank you.

So you did not find any direct involvement of Ms. Tirol?

MR. NIETO. None so far.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Thank you. That’s clarified.

You mentioned, Mr. Nieto, your blog is Thinking Pinoy.

MR. NIETO. Yes, sir.

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SEN. PANGILINAN. And in one of your blogs, I think in 2016,

you said that—you wrote an article about the reasons why LP needs to

assassinate Duterte.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Did you have--That’s an opinion, right?

MR. NIETO. Yes, it is. Thinking Pinoy--

SEN. PANGILINAN. You had no facts to buttress that opinion?

MR. NIETO. Mr. Senator--

SEN. PANGILINAN. Because that is a serious statement.

MR. NIETO. Yes. Thinking Pinoy, sir, is a political—

SEN. PANGILINAN. So were there facts? Did you provide facts

for you to be able to somehow conclude that we need—the LP needs to

assassinate President Duterte?

MR. NIETO. Actually, sir, I can answer that if you will just let

me talk, with all due respect.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Yes. I will let you talk. Go ahead.

MR. NIETO. Thank you, sir.

SEN. PANGILINAN. That’s why I am asking.

MR. NIETO. Thinking Pinoy is a political opinion blog and I like

imagining scenarios based on what I think is how people would act. I

try to understand human nature. So when I wrote that particular post

about why LP would need to assassinate Duterte, I am not saying that

LP will assassinate Duterte. What I am saying here is, what are the

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incentives behind doing that? So it’s basically more like—for a

business, it’s like continuity planning, seeing contingencies, preparing

for the worst. But I am not saying that it will actually happen. And I

am not saying that LP intends to do that.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Yes, I understand.

MR. NIETO. Yes, sir.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Of course, I am saying this in the context

of many events that have taken place in the last several months

wherein the LP has been the whipping boy of those who feel that

threatened by our dissent or our criticisms. Lahat na lang sa amin

sinisisi. Noong hindi na-confirm si Secretary Yasay, may LP destab

daw. Mayroon daw 100 million pondo na para daw sa mga testigo, sabi

ng Department of Justice, LP daw ang gumawa noon. Napaka-

kombenyente. So ito, somehow falls into that kind of framing that the

LP needs to assassinate Duterte.

Also, here you said Thinking Pinoy 2016 …

MR. NIETO. Yes, sir.

SEN. PANGILINAN. … an alleged plan by Liberal Party to take

over government.

MR. NIETO. Which particular article was that, sir?

SEN. PANGILINAN. It says: “Oust Duterte, Leila, Leni, Lourdes,

Loida, LP people power Duterte.”

MR. NIETO. Yes.

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SEN. PANGILINAN. So you confirm that you also wrote this

article?

MR. NIETO. Yes, I wrote that article but it’s also an analysis of

possibilities. So basically, what I am trying to—I tried to do with that

article is to look for possibilities. I am not saying that they are

certainties but in the viewpoint … cts

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MR. NIETO. … in the viewpoint of information that’s available to

the public, that’s what a normal thinking person on the street would

conclude. But as far as I can see, I never made allegations there of

people plotting whatever.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Well, another question, earlier Senator

Binay raised the question of being compensated, and all of you said

you were not being compensated during the elections.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Are you being compensated now by

government?

MR. NIETO. Right now I am a consultant for the Department of

Foreign Affairs. I am the head of Strategic Communications (Content)

of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs.

Initially, I wanted to work there pro bono because I don’t want to get

hit just like how Mocha got hit when somebody says she earns like a

hundred thousand a month.

SEN. PANGILINAN. How much are you receiving?

MR. NIETO. Right now it’s just P12,000 a month, a very

nominal amount.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Uh-huh. So you are now a consultant?

MR. NIETO. Yes, just a consultant for DFA-OUMWA.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Head of the strategic communications?

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MR. NIETO. Yes, sir.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So, in the same discussion earlier, you

know, you are now a consultant working in government?

MR. NIETO. Yes.

SEN. PANGILINAN. And, therefore, arguably—well, no, not

arguably, I would say you are also covered by the Code of Conduct of

Public Workers and Public Officials and Employees. In the same way

that Asec Uson is also covered by the code of conduct.

You are receiving P12,000 a month as a consultant, do you have

people under you?

MR. NIETO. No.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So you work on your own?

MR. NIETO. Yes.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Okay. Do you have an office?

MR. NIETO. No, not really.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Okay. So you work

MR. NIETO. Basically, what happens here is I just help

communicate the updates of OUMWA to OFWs, and that’s it.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Yes, okay. You know, you are now a

consultant in government…

MR. NIETO. Yes.

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SEN. PANGILINAN. …I would raise the same issues as earlier

raised with Asec Mocha Uson, hindi na pupuwedeng blogger lang na

pupuwedeng kahit ano isulat. Dahil nga head ka na ng strategic

communication nang isang sensitibong departamento ng ating

gobyerno.

MR. NIETO. Ano po?

SEN. VILLAR. Consultant ka lang?

MR. NIETO. Ma’am, Sir, consultant lang ako. Iyong sinabing

head, pa-cute lang na position title iyon. Pero I don’t have

SEN. PANGILINAN. Sorry. Kasi ang nakalagay dito is, “the

head of the Strategic Communications under Office of” galing sa blog

mo ito.

MR. NIETO. Well, with all due respect, Mr. Senator, I think I

don’t lose my right to free speech when I joined—if and when I joined

government.

SEN. PANGILINAN. No, wait. Let me clarify. Before we go

through that, this is in your blog. You said you are head of strategic

communications under the Office of Undersecretary for Migrant

Workers, right? This is your blog.

MR. NIETO. Yes. Yes.

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SEN. PANGILINAN. Okay, thank you. And now you are

saying, “yes, I am the head of the strategic communication, but I can

still blog.” That’s your position.

MR. NIETO. Yes, sir.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Okay. Well, we disagree because,

obviously, since you are now earning from taxpayers money, you are

now part of our government bureaucracy as a consultant, you will have

to be you are covered by the laws. Just as we, senators, are

covered. Free speech is not absolute.

MR. NIETO. Yes, sir.

SEN. PANGILINAN. And we, in the Senate, can be held

accountable through an ethics case if we abuse—pagka inabuso namin

ang aming pananalita; if it is unparliamentary; if it is offensive. In

fact, our rules say, pagka mayroong offensive language, this is

unparliamentary and we can be subjected to an ethics case.

MR. NIETO. Mr. Senator, and with all due respect, I think it’s

not a crime to hurt feelings. If the good senator feels that I have

broken any law, or if I am going to…

SEN. PANGILINAN. May I correct that misimpression? I’m not

saying you’ve broken any law. I am just clarifying your position in

government, and the possible consequences, and the obligations, and

duties and responsibilities. That’s all that I’m saying.

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MR. NIETO. Okay po.

SEN. PANGILINAN. I have one more minute.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Pangilinan, you can always ask,

you know, in between—

SEN. PANGILINAN. Thank you.

THE CHAIRPERSON. …but we want to ask the ones that have

to go to the CA to ask most relevant--don’t finish your 10 minutes,

after Senator Pangilinan, so you can come back later. Okay.

SEN. PANGILINAN. We got this post on—where is this?

Facebook.

MR. NIETO. Alin po?

SEN. PANGILINAN. This is you, ano?

MR. NIETO. Alin po ba iyon?

SEN. PANGILINAN. “Doing our ocular in the Senate on the eve

of the hearing.” You posted this, ano?

MR. NIETO. I did not say there was an ocular. I just say,

look—it’s not posted on my Facebook.

SEN. PANGILINAN. It’s “with RJ Nieto…” Sorry.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

SEN. PANGILINAN. “…Mike Acebedo Lo.” Who is Mike

Acebedo Lo?

MR. NIETO. So I did not post it.

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SEN. PANGILINAN. So where is Mike? Is he here?

VOICE. Yeah, he’s there.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Can you

MR. LOPEZ (MIKE). [Off-mike] I shared it.

SEN. PANGILINAN. You shared it. Okay.

But you were here? You confirmed that you were here and this

is authentic.

MR. NIETO. Yes. Yes.

SEN. PANGILINAN. And it is about--you were in the Office of

Senator De Lima.

MR. NIETO. In front of her door.

SEN. PANGILINAN. And then you were outside, and you put

the numbers “222”

MR. NIETO. No, they put it there, Leila’s staff, Senator De

Lima’s office.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Ah and you were saying, “Doing our

ocular in the Senate.”

MR. NIETO. No, it was Mike who said that, not me.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Sorry, yes. But, no But you were

together with him?

MR. NIETO. Yes, I was together with him.

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SEN. PANGILINAN. So, you know, you are head of strategic

communications under the Office of Undersecretary of Migrant

Workers, you do not see anything wrong or—Let me qualify.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

SEN. PANGILINAN. No, let me rephrase my statement. Has

this anything to do—this is a social media site, somebody uploaded it.

I assume you Somebody shared it, rather.

MR. NIETO. Him, yeah.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Yes.

MR. NIETO. So, what exactly, sir, is the question…

THE CHAIRPERSON. Were you administered an oath, BM

Lopez?

Would you like him to?

Secretariat, please.

Please raise your right hand.

THE COMMITTEE SECRETARY. Do you swear to tell the truth

and nothing but the truth in this proceedings? Thank you.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. Sorry, Sen.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So, RJ, Mr. Nieto, you shared this…

MR. NIETO. No.

SEN. PANGILINAN. …in your own page? You shared this in

your own page?

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MR. NIETO. I was tagged in my page and it automatically

appeared.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So you didn’t share?

MR. NIETO. But I was not the person who wrote the caption.

All that I did there was to pose with him in the photo. So I think I

cannot be held accountable for what’s written.

SEN. PANGILINAN. It appears on your page, ano?

MR. NIETO. Yes, it does. Uh-huh.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Okay. So now that it’s appearing on your

page, you can take it down if you wish?

MR. NIETO. Oh, yeah.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Yes. I’m not saying you should take it

down, but I’m just saying, you can?

MR. NIETO. Yeah, I can if I want to.

SEN. PANGILINAN. And it’s also on the Thinking Pinoy?

MR. NIETO. Yes. The thing is…

SEN. PANGILINAN. Which you shared?

MR. NIETO. …that picture was shared two times. The first was

when Mike shared it and there was the accompanying caption that, you

know, “ocular.” But that’s Mike’s problem, not mine. Now, for the

Thinking Pinoy Facebook page, I also posted that picture—one second.

I will just get the accompanying caption.

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SEN. ZUBIRI. Madam Chair, with the permission of Senator

Pangilinan?

SEN. PANGILINAN. Yes, I am just wrapping it up. Sige.

SEN. ZUBIRI. I have to leave kasi for the CA. You can

continue.

Madam Chair, we just ask to be excused for 10 minutes? We will

just vote at the Commission on Appointments, and I’ll be right back. I

speak for myself only, Madam Chair, not for…

THE CHAIRPERSON. Is your vote important, Senator Migz?

SEN. ZUBIRI. This is on the confirmation of Secretary Cimatu,

Your Honor.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay, go.

SEN. PANGILINAN. I have to go also in a while.

SEN. VILLAR. [off-mike] …I’ll just ask one question.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay, Senator Cynthia would like to ask

one question.

I think, Ma’am, he won’t yield. He’d like to finish his

SEN. PANGILINAN. Yes, I can yield but he hasn’t completed

his answer.

MR. NIETO. Yes, sir.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Ah, your answer.

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SEN. PANGILINAN. Just to complete his answer, then I will

yield.

MR. NIETO. On October 3rd, 10:01 a.m.—when is October 3? I

think my phone is still using New York time so anyway. Wait. Don’t

coach me. All right. I posted the picture, and the accompanying

caption is, “When you see it.” It shows a picture of me in front of

Senator De Lima’s office…/jdlc

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MR. NIETO. … Senator De Lima’s office. There. So I don’t have

to describe it anymore. All right.

The next post will be, “Oh Yeah” and that’s it.

Now, I think that I am entitled to free speech and I am allowed to

express my political ideas. And if anybody thinks that there is something

objectionable about that, I think they could just write a complaint; send it

to me and we’ll talk about it. Otherwise, I think I am entitled to be free

from prior constraint.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Well, actually, that’s the precisely the point

that I raised earlier and this is my last point and I have no follow-up

questions.

Being now a consultant in a sensitive position in government

heading a strategic communications for migrant workers, you know, you

are now bound by the code of conduct.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. You know, you may have to rethink your—

You have to choose. We’re not saying if you want to do this, then you

have to make a decision, hindi ba? If you want to continue doing this and

be a blogger, my view is, precisely, you have to decide. Do I want to be

a consultant or do I want to just be a blogger? You don’t have to answer

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that, Mr. Nieto. I’m just saying that acts such as these from a

government consultant holding a sensitive position would be, at the

minimum, unacceptable.

MR. NIETO. [Laughter] It’s not about you, sir. I just heard a very

funny comment from Senator Villar.

But with all due respect, Mr. Senator, that which is not prohibited is

allowed. So if the good senator can find a law that I broke or I violated by

doing those two things, you know, being someone in OUMWA and then

I’m doing those things in the pictures, then, again, just like what I said,

please send a complaint, let’s talk about it. If it’s wrong, I’ll stop doing it.

Now, if I were just given a choice, I don’t want to work in DFA.

Parang alila lang kami doon and I only get 12,000. It’s not even enough

to pay for taxi. It’s just that DFA needs me more than I need them and I

want to help the government succeed. Hindi po ako nagyayabang. I’m

just helping them because I have 700,000 followers and my engagement

is equal to about Inquirer plus Rappler—my engagement on Facebook.

And I basically want to lend my platform so that we can reach out easier

to OFWs. So basically po pittance lang iyong 12K. But if you somehow

think or anybody here can prove na I’m breaking laws by doing those two

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things, then let’s talk about. Then if it’s necessary I’ll resign. Iyon lang

po.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Well, when you are part of the government

bureaucracy, in a department, in the executive, one is political neutrality.

The code of conduct requires that and you must observe standards of

personal conduct in the discharge and execution of your duty. So these

are some of the provisions that you may have to visit and then be guided

by.

MR. NIETO. Noted, Mr. Senator.

SEN. HONTIVEROS. Madam Chairman.

SEN. AQUINO. Mr. Chairman, I think it will be very difficult for Mr.

Nieto to rethink his position because then he would be called Rethinking

Pinoy and not Think Pinoy.

[Laughter]

MR. NIETO. All right. That was funny.

SEN. HONTIVEROS. Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Let us give a chance to—Wait.

Senator Villar would like to ask just one question because she

needs to go directly to the Committee on Appointments.

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SEN. VILLAR. I am a victim of fake news but I never asked my

people to practice fake news except what happened to the seven senators

becoming victim of SilentNoMorePH.

I just want to ask our Chairman if we cannot force the people

behind SilentNoMorePH more to come here to explain to us why they did

that. So I hope the Chairman in our next hearing will not allow them not

to come here. I think the only thing you can do for us so we will feel

better, that they come here and face us and explain to us why they did

that. Iyon lang ang aking manifestation.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Actually, Senator Villar, when I received

information about the possible administrator of SilentNoMore, that was

around evening of Thursday and we tried to get in touch with him. We

think—

SEN. VILLAR. Not only him but the people behind that Silent No

More PH.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes. Some of them are here …

SEN. VILLAR. I gave a list to you kung sino ba iyon.

THE CHAIRPERSON. … or affiliated.

SEN. VILLAR. Mayroon ba dito? I didn’t see them.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. But the list I received from you yesterday.

But I would like to assure you that if they do not show up and then—Well,

we are now sending them a subpoena to appear …

SEN. VILLAR. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. … because we sent them an invitation

already and they did not come. So, definitely, we need to hear from him.

First of all, may—

SEN. VILLAR. Not only him but the people behind that

SilentNoMorePH. We just want an explanation why they did that.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay.

SEN. VILLAR. Thank you.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Kasi may pagkaduwag rin ang hindi

nagpapakita pero tira nang tira kahit na anong side ka.

SEN. AQUINO. [Off-mike] Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Pero, ma’am, sino ba iyong mga pangalan

na iyon? Can it be stated for the record the ones that are behind—

SEN. VILLAR. I will give it to you. Okay.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay.

SEN. VILLAR. Or you want me to state for the record?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes, ma’am, just so for the record.

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SEN. VILLAR. This is a research and it was given to me but I did

not do this. It was given to me. It’s, of course, the operator is—what’s

the name? Cocoy Dayao, Melissa Limcauco, Edwin Lacierda, Abigail Valte

and Leah Navarro.

THE CHAIRPERSON. The two of them are here.

SEN. AQUINO. [Off-mike] Let them respond.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Secretary Lacierda.

MR. LACIERDA. Madam Chair, I’m here. I think the basis of your

research, if it can be called research, is a low level …

SEN. VILLAR. I did not ask for this.

MR. LACIERDA. Yes.

SEN. VILLAR. It was mailed to me. So I never interfere with these

bloggers because I’m not into it. So it was sent to me. And if you can

explain that you are not the people behind it, then you explain to us.

MR. LACIERDA. I think, Madam Chair, the more prudent thing to

do is that particular—

SEN. VILLAR. She’s asking for the names. I don’t want to give

the names.

MR. LACIERDA. That’s why I’m addressing, Madam Chair. I think

that thing was floated in the social media and I think there’s someone

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there who identified us as the owners of SilentNoMore. I think prudence

would dictate that the person who floated our names should also be

invited because obviously—I think—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Who floated your name?

MR. LACIERDA. That research, there’s a name there. It’s on social

media. There’s a Mark Lopez or someone.

SEN. VILLAR. [Off-mike] They sent to me.

MR. LACIERDA. I didn’t even see that.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Mike Lopez?

MR. LACIERDA. But you can see that. Mark Lopez.

Is there a Mark Lopez here?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Mike Lopez is here seated.

MR. LACIERDA. It’s Mark Lopez.

MR. LOPEZ. Mike po ito. Mark po iyong sinabi ninyo, sir.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So is it you, Mr. Lopez?

Yes, please come now.

MR. LACIERDA. So let him—

THE CHAIRPERSON. We have to administer his oath.

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MR. LACIERDA. Let him take the stand. You know, he has the

burden to prove his allegations. He just cannot just … of some names

without basis.

SEN. VILLAR. You’re denying that you’re part of SilentNoMorePH?

MR. LACIERDA. Categorically. I mean, if you say that—Did I write

the “7 Sens”? No, I did not.

SEN. VILLAR. So for the record, you’re denying it.

MR. LACIERDA. For the record, I am not. I did not write the “7

Sens.”

Madam Chair, like what Senator Grace Poe said—the Chair said—I

have my own Facebook page. Abi has her own Facebook page.

THE CHAIRPERSON. You are not denying or are you denying?

MR. LACIERDA. I’m denying.

SEN. VILLAR. No. I am asking you if you are denying that you

are part of the SilentNoMorePH?

MR. LACIERDA. What do you mean by—I’m part of a lot of

groups. They just invite me to join.

[Laughter]

THE CHAIRPERSON. Silence, please.

So are you part of—

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SEN. VILLAR. It’s for the Chairman to determine this.

MR. LACIERDA. Look.

SEN. VILLAR. I’m just—

THE CHAIRPERSON. You may not have written about the seven

senators that did not affix their signature in the resolution but are you in

any way affiliated with this SilentNoMore.PH?

MR. LACIERDA. What I know is that I am a member of the TSM.

I heard that there’s a SilentNoMore and there’s a TSM SilentNoMore. I

have no idea—

THE CHAIRPERSON. What’s TSM, again, for the record?

MR. LACIERDA. “The Silent Majority, Silent No More.” I have no

idea what—

THE CHAIRPERSON. So TSM is affiliated with—

MR. LACIERDA. No, no, no, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. No.

MR. LACIERDA. There are number of groups out there.

SEN. VILLAR. Ms. Chairman, can I please go because I have to

vote sa CA?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes, please, go ahead.

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SEN. VILLAR. I have nothing against you. Just clear everything

with our Chairman.

MR. LACIERDA. And I would categorically say that I have nothing

to do with the “7 Sens.” Abi has nothing to do. We are not owners. We

are accused and I’d like Mark Lopez to show proof—

SEN. AQUINO. That they are owners?

MR. LACIERDA. I am owner of—

THE CHAIRPERSON. You are categorically stating that you are

not part of what the seven—

MR. LACIERDA. Wait. Mark Lopez accused us of being--not

members, not followers--as owners.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay.

MR. LACIERDA. That is a very categorical accusation. Prudence

dictates that he proves those allegations … /cda

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MR. LACIERDA. ... he proves those allegations.

THE CHAIRPERSON. But you may be a member.

MR. LACIERDA. I have no idea. You have to look again to my

Facebook page because there are number of page.

Can I just refer to—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. Ms. Abby.

MS. VALTE. Madam Chair, I would like to categorically state

that I do not own the blog. I do not contribute to the blog. All my

assets are named; my face is always there. When I write for

newspapers, my name is always there. My Facebook accounts are all

verified, same thing with my Twitter. If and when I have spoken about

government and about political personalities, I have done it through

my named assets. I am not the owner of SilentNoMore. I am not an

administrator. I do not contribute. I do not know the people behind

this particular group.

THE CHAIRPERSON. You don’t know Cocoy Dayao?

MS. VALTE. I know Cocoy Dayao from 2009 because he

volunteered for the campaign of then Senator Aquino. But that is it.

THE CHAIRPERSON. You don’t see each other in Malacañang

during your tenure?

MS. VALTE. No, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. All right.

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MS. VALTE. As the same as Edwin, I also would like the

gentleman to provide unequivocal and categorical evidence of my

involvement and the rest of those people because it just—You know,

you’re entitled to your own opinion but you cannot be entitled to your

own facts. And I think that’s very clear. And that entire discussion

that we’ve had today, people ask about defining what fake news is.

On the other part, ma’am—Senator Binay, I will be short. The

other part that we have not spoken about is how people make money

from these fake blogs and that really if—We’re worried about media

literacy. We’re worried about kids not being able to tell the difference

between official news and fake news. We should start talking about

how much money bloggers make by putting ads on their sites and

putting content that they know that will draw readers to their sites.

And it’s about time—it’s a good proposal to start talking about taxing

not just their incomes but, again, whatever that we can get because,

you know, we’re looking after the TRAIN anyway.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

SEN. BINAY. Madam Chair, nabanggit po kanina iyong Cocoy

Dayao.

Have you ever hired directly or indirectly this Mr. Cocoy Dayao?

MR. LACIERDA. Thank you, Madam Chair.

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In my invitation, I was described as a former head of PCOO. I’m

not a former head of PCOO. I have my own office, Office of the

Presidential Spokesperson. Manolo Quezon here was also invited. He

has his own office, PCDSPO. The one who headed PCOO is Secretary

Coloma. So if anyone is trying to make a link between me, Cocoy

Dayao because of the PCOO--has he ever been employed by me? I can

categorically say that the OPS has never hired Cocoy Dayao.

SEN. BINAY. How about Mr. Quezon or—

MS. VALTE. No, Madam Chair, I have never hired Cocoy Dayao

indirectly or directly in any professional or whatever capacity there

exists.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. I think Mark Lopez was mentioned.

MR. QUEZON. Sorry, Madam Chairman.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay.

MR. QUEZON. Just for the senator, I was head of PCDSPO which

is separate from PCOO. We were on other executive office as you will

recall from our budget hearing. We never employed Cocoy Dayao.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Mark Lopez, nanumpa ka na ba?

Mark, hindi Mike.

VOICE. Mark, Mike. Same Lopez.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Dito ka na lang umupo, Mark Lopez, para

hindi ka katabi ni Mike Lopez.

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Please raise your right hand?

MS. LAO. Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the

truth in this Senate hearing.

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). [nodded]

MS. LAO. Thank you.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Do you have a question for him?

Can you answer the question of Senator Villar?

Well, it wasn’t really a question but apparently the source is from

you.

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). Actually, ma’am, if you read my

Facebook post, it was a Facebook post.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Are you a blogger? Are you a reporter?

What is your profession?

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). I am a blogger. But I am an

independent one.

THE CHAIRPERSON. You don’t have any political affiliations?

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). I don’t have any affiliation. I’m not

connected in any PR company or whatever. I’m just an ordinary

citizen po.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. But are you a supporter of the

policies of the government?

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). Yes.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. So tell me, how did you come up

with this research?

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). Actually, ma’am, as a blogger, I am also

being fed information and this information was given to me privately.

And then, I wrote about it and if you read my post, it was also in a

form of a question. I did not say that Mr. Lacierda, Ms. Valte, Ms.

Limcaoco and Ms. Navarro are the ones behind. I was also asking if it

is true that they are the ones behind. And I just wrote it and it was

viewed and probably shared by about—I don’t know—a thousand

people.

THE CHAIRPERSON. But you have certain assertions here

like, for example, Ms. Limcaoco—Well, you gave the background and

then the Xabine Incorporated is an office.

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Can you explain what this is?

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). The information was also given to me

that there is an agency, a digital agency called Xabine Incorporated

which has offices in BGC (Bonifacio Global City) and also a branch in

the US, in California, somehow connected with the SilentNoMore page.

THE CHAIRPERSON. But how is that connected?

It’s just hearsay. Sinabi lang sa iyo na connected.

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MR. LOPEZ (MARK). Yes. That’s why in my post, ma’am, I

was trying to clarify it also.

THE CHAIRPERSON. And who owns Xabine Inc.?

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). That was also I’m trying to find out. I

tried to check with the SEC but there’s nothing that is appearing.

THE CHAIRPERSON. I think in your report you said a certain

Lewis owned it.

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). It was said there that Xabine in the US is

being handled by Christina Lewis-Halpern who is the daughter of Loida

Nicholas Lewis.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. So these are just in the form of

question.

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. See. That’s why we have to be

very discerning. Mr. Alampay noted this. We have to be discerning.

Saan galing at—

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). Ma’am, excuse me. Iyon pong kay Ms.

Limcaoco actually even the resume of Ms. Limcaoco was also sent to

me and in the said resume, it is clear there that she is also connected

with the Liberal Party campaign. She handled the office of then

Senator Noynoy Aquino during the 2010, I think, presidential—

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THE CHAIRPERSON. How about her connection to this site?

Hindi naman clear.

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). Hindi po clear. Kaya nga po ako

tinatanong ko rin.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Pero iyon nga based on what was told to

you lang. So these are all—Well, still, at face value, this is just

hearsay.

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). Yes, ma’am.

I did not categorically state or did not accuse those persons that

they are the ones behind. I was asking also the very same question.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. So Ms. Limcaoco is married just

for the record, married to—

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). Ms. Limcaoco as per the information is

married to Timmy Limcaoco who is the former DOTC undersecretary

during the Aquino administration and whose family also owns the

Luzon Development Bank.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes. Because these are the things that

you put in your research.

All right. Thank you for clarifying that this is just the information

that you received, it is not verified.

MR. LOPEZ (MARK). It is not, ma’am. That’s why I threw it

there in Facebook.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. Iyon nga iyong nakakatakot din eh kasi

kung kunyari it’s not verified pero parang the question is very vague;

we might be misled also to think it’s fact.

Secretary.

MR. LACIERDA. Madam Chair, I share your concern.

I think also what has been emphasized in this particular hearing

is the role of government officials vis-à-vis the role as bloggers. I think

for any private individual, there’s no problem with those ... but for

someone like Asec Mocha or Nieto working for government, you carry a

heavier burden. In our case, when we were still in government, we

were very, very particular about making sure that we just convey facts

and information. In fact, PCDSPO, PCOO just killed that site, it’s the

official gazette where everyone was able to access information from

government. That’s our role of conveying information not from

particular personal blogging sites because, obviously, bloggers are

allowed a certain tolerance for opinion. But as government officials,

you have to be very circumspect with your opinion.

THE CHAIRPERSON. You didn’t have your own personal

Twitter, blog when you were in government?

MR. LACIERDA. I did, I did.

THE CHAIRPERSON. You did, right?

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MR. LACIERDA. Madam Chair, we have to because we were

involved in social media and social media is the new media .../cmn

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MR. LACIERDA. … social media and social media is the new

media as you said. And it is incumbent upon us to try to convey all

the necessary information online, Twitter, Facebook but in all those

posts we were very, very cognizant of the fact that we are

government officials. And nowhere in that role and our Facebook page

would show that we did not go beyond what is necessary. We have

our own opinion but not to the point of foisting fake news, false

information. We were very, very particular. In fact, we have a social

media standard we wanted to propose and we did propose. It went to

the various offices but we asked for the review also of the Commission

on Human Rights. They said that there seems to be a question on

certain human rights so we didn’t push through with that, Madam

Chair, but we were totally cognizant or our role and responsibility as

government officials doing their blogging, doing their Facebook page,

doing their Twitter.

THE CHAIRPERSON. That’s okay because I asked also PCOO to

clearly define their functions and maybe we can have a hearing on the

responsibilities and programs of the PCOO.

Let’s continue with Senator Binay.

SEN. BINAY. Madam Chair, can we get a copy of that proposal?

Pati iyong sagot na rin ng CHR why they don’t agree with that

proposal.

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MR. TORDECILLA. Ma’am, you may have to ask the

Malacañang Records Office because since their offices were dissolved,

their records are now with the—

SEN. BINAY. Usec Joel, can you retrieve those documents?

MR. EGCO. Yes, ma’am. I’ll take note of that and we will request

for whatever we can request. So, proper retrieval of the same.

SEN. BINAY. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Mayroon bang move ngayon ang PCOO to do that? Because this

is ano ha—parang we are unfamiliar water because remember nagalit

iyong mga congressman kay Ms. Anderson because of post. But,

according to her, personal post, so nagkakaroon tayo ng ganoong

problema ngayon sa pamahalaan. May move ba iyong PCOO to set a

standard?

MS. BANAAG. Yes, Senator.

The PCOO actually is doing a social media policy for bloggers to

accredit them. And early this year, we had a social media policy

sharing at Bahay ng Alumni in order to get ideas or opinions or

sentiments from other social media bloggers on this matter. And the

policy actually is under review by the Office of the President, Madam

Senator.

SEN. BINAY. Pero for ano iyan, bloggers but for government

employees na may blog, kasama ba iyan?

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MS. BANAAG. Yes, ma’am. That covers all bloggers, whether

private and public. Those who are in the government service na

bloggers.

SEN. BINAY. You can dictate private individuals?

MS. BANAAG. No, ma’am. If they would like to be accredited,

ma’am, to cover an event of the President, then they should comply

with the policy that will be coming up.

MR. EGCO. Proposed pa lang.

MS. BANAAG. Proposed. It’s a proposed policy, ma’am, it’s not

yet out.

SEN. BINAY. And when do you plan to have that policy?

MS. BANAAG. Soon that it is already approved by the Office of

the President, ma’am, then we would be ready. It is still pending po.

SEN. BINAY. Let’s start with iyong definition of terms. I don’t

know who can answer me, whether it is DICT or baka si Ms. Angeles.

Siguro, una, how do you define news sites? Iyong ABS—

MS. ANGELES. Yes, ma’am. Generally, right now, news sites

are all still mainstream. The exception here, I think would be Rappler

which characterizes itself also as a news site. But the standards are

different because they have no counterpart. As traditional media they

have no publications. They have no network to speak of, so

everything is mostly online. The difference kasi of mainstream and

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online media is that online media has time to correct. They can

correct.

They can issue corrections immediately. They can take down, whereas

publications, even news programs will take more time before they can

issue corrections or disclaimers or all of that. So far, iyon iyong

standards. Right now, there are several online media that call

themselves, “news blogs.” There’s a difference. New blogs are also—

SEN. BINAY. After news sites, ano naman iyong blog sites.

And then we go doon sa ano iyong news blog site.

MS. ANGELES. Blog sites are clearly opinion and they can be on

any theme. Some blogs limit themselves to particular themes like food

blogs, lifestyle blogs, others are political blogs. Those are generally

famous ones. But we also distinguish, there are blogs and there are

microblogs. Facebook is mostly a microblogging site because you can

have pages and you can use your personal account.

SEN. BINAY. They both earn money, right?

MS. ANGELES. They can. Yes, but not necessarily. Some

people have their Google AdSense and then others just really don’t.

Some people just do it for fun.

SEN. BINAY. So, like how much would an ad placement cost?

MS. ANGELES. It is not much, ma’am. Google

AdSense doesn’t really pay much. Usually, you only get a percentage.

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It’s Google who puts the ad based on an algorithm so the ads change

but the owner of the microblog will only get a small percentage.

Sometimes it’s about 10 percent, less than 10 percent. So, you really

earning just cents. You have to have a huge following to make any

kind of return.

SEN. BINAY. And then mayroon din tayong fake news site,

hindi ba, which—May authority ho ba iyong NBI to take down fake

news sites?

MR. EDUARTE. Actually, madam, we don’t have. We are

resorting to the websites requesting them to take down those blogs.

SEN. BINAY. But may mga na-take down na ho kayo na

websites?

MR. EDUARTE. Yes, madam.

SEN. BINAY. Pero voluntary lang din? Voluntary lang din

iyon kasi you request.

MR. EDUARTE. Yes, madam. Except for libel cases because as

you know, Facebook has an office in United States and libel in the US

was decriminalized. So, at times we are requesting sites to be

blocked, our request in most cases were not granted.

SEN. BINAY. So, ngayon, wala pang technology that can take

down fake news site or—

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MS. ANGELES. Ma’am, because we consider these sites as

property, they cannot be removed without a court order or some kind

of due process.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So, I think, Attorney, we need to invite

Facebook and Google here.

MS. ANGELES. Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. I mean, because they operate in our

country, hindi ba? Like Uber had to be liable for certain things.

MS. BANAAG. Yes, Madam Chair, I mentioned a while ago

about algorithms. And in other jurisdictions like Germany, they are

crafting a law in order to regulate primary social media platforms and

perhaps we can look into it.

And in relation to Senator Binay’s query, the DICT (Department

of Information and Communications Technology) has a proposed

social media policy for the government. So, this would cover all

government employees. And they have drafted this one and it’s

awaiting signature of the President and it’s under review, ma’am.

And, of course, with that also, we would like to reiterate our

PCOO s comment on If you wanted to put in order all these things

about fake news, perhaps we should look into policies also with the

DICT and the NTC that regulates Facebook or other social media

platforms. Because at the end of the day, are these laws enough to

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protect all of us? Up to where could it go? Like, do we have to go to

court all the time about all these things? Is this the most that we can

do as individuals, as Filipinos?

THE CHAIRPERSON. We are trying to play catchup with

technology. Definitely, we did invite apparently Google and Facebook

and they send their regrets because they have prior engagements.

But I think they need to prioritize this because they are making a lot

of money in this country and they have a responsibility to the public.

MS. BANAAG. Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Nancy, you know, we have such

a valuable resource here with Professor Hilbay. We want to hear your

views so that we have a direction. Somebody texted me na

naguguluhan na raw sa hearing kasi we have very opinionated people

here and maybe you can gi e us a irection on how as the ormer

OSG.

MR. HILBAY. Thank you, Madam Chair … /admasicap

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MELNOVERO IV-4 October 4, 2017 1:02 p.m. 1

MR. HILBAY. … Thank you, Madam Chair. Allow me to go

straight to my very short remarks and a legislative proposal.

Let me emphasize an important point of constitutional law and

that there is a difference between claims of false information provided

by ordinary citizens and false information peddled by public officials.

The problem is not private citizens in Facebook or Twitter exposing

government incompetence, dishonesty or corruption. The problem is

government dishonesty.

As a matter of constitutional law, it is worrisome for government

to engage in a witch hunt to expose private speakers on claims that

the citizens are being too critical or even dishonest. Such actions

inevitably produce a chilling effect on freedom of expression. As

stated by Senator Drilon earlier, you already have the libel laws to take

care of that. What I consider a threat to our democratic values and a

danger to the marketplace of ideas is the prevalence of false

information provided by public officials, whether deliberately or out of

sheer incompetence.

False information provided by public officials poses special

problems: (1) They are paid with public funds. It is an outrage that

they receive taxpayers’ money so they can lie; (2) The official status

provides official imprimatur to false information, whether posted in

private or official social media accounts; (3) Their public employment

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provides them with access to government facilities creating a

semblance of credibility where otherwise there might not be any; and

(4) Their access to government facilities means that the false

information they provide gets widely distributed.

Ordinarily, Your Honors, the mechanisms of government for

responding to dishonesty by public officials are the disciplinary

sanctions under the Civil Service Law, the Ombudsman or by the heads

of agencies, including the Office of the President. Well, the problem is

when these mechanisms are not triggered.

The traditional constraints to government dishonesty, Freedom

of Speech by informed private citizens and Freedom of the Press have

exposed many of these instances of dishonesty and incompetence. But

they have also been dismissed by government as biased or unfair

political attacks rather than efforts to promote honesty in government.

Ordinary citizens, therefore, are confused by an environment where

officials of the Executive Department, in particular, are able to

disseminate false information while demonizing the press and activist

citizens.

Your Honors, this is a structural problem of the information

environment and a phenomenon where government disinformation is

able to hide behind the mantle of official action and protection on one

hand while Freedom of Speech and the Press are tagged as politically

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biased on the other. The way to counterbalance government

disinformation is through the creation of a public institution whose sole

task is to identify and publicize government dishonesty. When public

officials become dishonest, it is the obligation of the state itself to

correct distortions in the marketplace of ideas.

I propose, Your Honors, that Congress enact a statute creating

the institute for the integrity of information. A sort of Ombudsman for

public information provided by the government or an information police

for government officials. What are the main features of the institute

for the integrity of information? (1) It should be composed of a board

whose members are academics, media practitioners, policy makers,

scientists, information technology experts of the highest credibility and

competence. (2) They should not be appointed by the President or by

any of his alter egos. In my opinion, this can be done without violating

the appointments clause of Article VII of Section 16 of the Constitution.

(3) Its function is four-fold: (a) to create standards for verifying

information provided by government; (b) to actually verify information

provided by government; (c) to publicize its findings; and (d) to issue

rewards to citizens who are able to spot fake information provided by

public officials.

The institute for the integrity of information should be able to act

either motu proprio or upon referral by citizens of a claim of fact made

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by government office or official. I urge, Your Honors, to focus on a

metaphor that we should recognize false information as a calamity that

wreaks havoc upon a sensitive ecosystem, the information

environment or the marketplace of ideas. And so in the same way that

the government has spent resources informing and warning citizens

about impending or ongoing calamities through the PAGASA or

PHIVOLCS, etcetera. The government should likewise invest in

informing and warning citizens about government dishonesty which

distorts the information environment, polarizes conversation and

manipulates citizens.

There is a need to create the institute for the integrity of

information because the integrity of public information is essential to

opinion formation and therefore public discourse. If citizens think and

act on the basis of wrong assertions of fact by public officials, then our

marketplace of ideas will receive and produce wrong signals the

consequence of which is the impairment of the value of truth.

We live in an age of impunity and a fear that apart from the

thousands of killings on our streets, a tragedy that has received global

attention, we have also become witnesses to another form of impunity:

the death of truth.

Your Honors, so far as I know, there is no other special public

institution such as the institute for the integrity of information

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anywhere in the world. I hope the Senate considers this proposal not

only as an urgent and practical response to government dishonesty but

also as an opportunity to create a model legislation for all democracies

around the world grappling with attacks on truth.

Thank you and good afternoon.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you, Professor Hilbay, for sharing

that view and the suggestion. It makes sense. We just don’t want to

add another layer perhaps of bureaucracy but if it will encourage

accountability, of course, it’s worth and thank you for your very

scholarly analysis.

SEN. HONTIVEROS. Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes.

SEN. HONTIVEROS. Madam Chair, I’m sorry. I hope with your

indulgence, I would have wanted to raise some questions but I need to

go up for a briefing. May I just make one last comment before

leaving, Madam Chair, and then try to come back later?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Zubiri, are you okay with that?

SEN. ZUBIRI. I’m all right with that.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. You’re not coming back anymore?

SEN. HONTIVEROS. Thank you so much, Senator Migs.

I will try to come back po after the briefing.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay.

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SEN. HONTIVEROS. But I would have wanted to raise, Madam

Chair, among others the point that fake news also can lead to threats

and, secondly, Madam Chair, just to go back to the photo that was

projected earlier, if this had been done by mainstream media, by now,

nag-kick in na iyong internal Ombudsman mechanisms nila. What

bloggers like Mr. Nieto did is a demonstration that they want the

stature of mainstream media without similar limitations.

I’m very disturbed, Madam Chair, that a resource person invited

by the Senate has disrespected a member of the Senate and right at

her place of work to pose such poses and then to post such posts and

to share them gloating over the continuing misfortune of a person.

And I seek the good chair’s support to somehow make it right to our

colleague Senator Leila and to her staff who were disrespected in this

way last night. Thank you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you, Senator Risa, for that

manifestation.

I can sympathize with your statement and your view. You know,

sometimes the thing that we admire in a person, their candidness and

their—well, their excitement sometimes has taken to a level where it

also transgresses on other people’s rights. So perhaps, we can ask for

a statement from Mr. Nieto with regard to this kasi alam mo, totoo rin

naman, kunyari ako iyong nakakulong at may gumanyan … /meln

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THE CHAIRPERSON. … at may gumanyan sa office ko, masakit.

Although it does not really violate any particular law as I see it. So

maybe we’ll just hear it from—

MR. NIETO. First po, for the record, I think the issue of political

neutrality was raised earlier today. So I would just like to read a

statement po.

Political neutrality means serving everyone equally, regardless of

political affiliation. I am just a consultant and I am not constraint to

have political opinions. In the same way that two or three months ago,

I announced on my Facebook page that even it’s not part of my job

with the DFA, that I am willing to help OFWs who have problems.

They send their problems to me and I’ll look for the right guide in DFA

to help them. And there’s even a quote there which is a bit snarky, I

admit, but I said that even Senator Risa Hontiveros can ask help from

me even if I don’t like her. And I respect you as a senator, ma’am, but

I have my own opinions in life.

Now secondly, the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant

Workers Affairs is not a sensitive office. It is a service-oriented office.

Hindi po siya gumagawa ng international policy. Bale po, para lang

siyang DSWD ng DFA for OFWs.

Being in the government does not stop anyone, including me,

from expressing my own opinion. And, well, politicians in particular,

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you are public officials. And we just seriously say that, you know,

each one of you are politically neutral. I mean, let’s just be honest

here.

And then secondly, somebody, I can’t remember who raised an

idea that I may be a government official. Now according to the Civil

Service Commission Resolution No. 021264--what year is this? I can’t

see the year here but I’ll just read it for everyone’s guidance because I

am not testifying, I am just a resource speaker.

A consultant is one who provides professional advice on matters

within the field of his special knowledge or training. In my case, it’s

the field of social media. While I did not receive any formal training on

social media, I think I have sufficiently showed some competence in it

considering the amount of reach or engagement that I get every day.

Thus, there is no employer-employee relationship in the engagement

of a consultant but that of a client-professional relationship, thus,

consultancy services are not considered government service, and so I

am not a public official. So when I broadcast stuff on my Facebook

page, that is Rey Joseph Nieto speaking as the regular citizen, but

when I give advice to the OUMWA, to the Office of the Migrant Workers

Affairs, that’s where my job kicks in. So as to the question on whether

I should be nicer to people on my personal blog, I do not think so.

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I mean, honestly, Madam Chair, I have criticized you several

times before but it was in the intent of telling you how you should act

based on my opinion. You don’t have to listen to it, but when that

opinion gain instruction, that means a lot of other Filipinos think the

same way I do or maybe agree to what I tried to say. So instead of

blaming me for what I say, maybe people should start to listen.

Because after all we’re a democracy and when a lot of people say the

same thing that I say, then maybe it’s time to stop complaining and

start listening. And that’s all I wanted to say.

SEN. HONTIVEROS. Thank you, Madam Chair.

SEN. BINAY. Madam Chair, siguro suggestion na lang kay Mr.

Nieto.

Since consultant ka, baka puwede alisin mo na lang yung head of

strategic communication.

MR. NIETO. Okay lang po iyon, sige po.

SEN. BINAY. … because it creates the impression that you are

part of the bureaucracy.

MR. NIETO. Opo, ma’am.

SEN. BINAY. It’s just a suggestion.

MR. NIETO. Thank you po, ma’am.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. No, of course, when we get likes in our

Facebook it emboldens us, it empowers us. It makes us feel that we

are doing the right thing.

It’s not necessarily the case also that numbers will actually

justify what we do but, you know, I can respect what you are saying

about me. Yes, you criticized not only me but many of us here but in

being fair to you, Mr. Nieto, when the other camp open source came

out with supposedly an issue about me, you corrected it with research,

in fact.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. And you were a supporter of President

Duterte, I mean, you were very transparent but you came out with a

proper research, saying that what they were claiming is untrue.

MR. NIETO. I would also like to state for the record, that at

some point in the past, there was a picture that showed Senator Risa

Hontiveros allegedly holding the hands of Senator Kiko Pangilinan.

There was this tsismis.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes.

MR. NIETO. What I did was to post it on my page and tell

them this is fake. This is just an angle.

I am clearly not in favor of the Liberal Party but when false

information is shown on line and it spreads, I try to correct it. And in

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the events that I felt that, you know, I did wrong, I issue errata. You

could just go to the Thinking Pinoy Facebook page and look for the

word “erratum” in the search bar and you could see that I actually

issue errata on what I post.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Yes, that’s why we—you know, we may

or may not agree with you. This is sometimes what we say is, hindi na

natin alam papaano mag-isip ang millennials. Pero pag pumupunta

kami sa mga blog, actually us here in the Senate, we should be

checking those sites so that we know how people think, not necessarily

that we will agree. But if there is anything, you do excellent research.

And that’s the truth. You do excellent research. Sometimes against

us, sometimes for us. So I hope you keep that neutrality, like if you

are in a board, you can be an independent director. You can be in

government but an independent consultant.

So I guess we can continue with our questions now with Senator

Migz.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Madam Chair, yes, I’d like to reiterate, in fairness, I’ve read their

blogs of Thinking Pinoy and many times, well, mistakes were pointed

out. He had corrected them and that’s highly appreciated by people

also from our side who gets flak from all other bloggers.

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And I would like to go back, Madam Chair, on the mainstream

media. One of our ex-colleagues actually texted me and she asked me

to ask these questions. Because many times on the mainstream

media, you post the story as well online but sometimes it is not

corrected. Sometimes they post fake reports and accused somebody

online, then they take it down and the editor simply says, “Later the

one who posted it has no authority whatsoever to post.” And because

of that—but the damage has been done. What do you do? What’s

your policy?

Madam Chair, I’d like to ask the mainstream media, what’s your

policy on that? Do you actually penalize your members of the media

that post it online or post fake news on line?

Maybe we’ll start with ABS and after which Interaction.

MS. GONZALEZ. Yes.

SEN. ZUBIRI. … answers lang, ma’am, kung puwede.

MS. GONZALEZ. But I don’t understand. Are you saying, Mr.

Senator, that if there is someone who posted a story on our news site

and that person is not authorized to do it?

SEN. ZUBIRI. For example, Madam Chair.

MS. GONZALEZ. It does not happen.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Madam Chair, for example, there is one particular

site where it was posted the Duterte drug addicts, the number of drug

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addicts. They quoted a 2004 number, figure, not the 2011 to 2012

figure which is the right figure that was supposed to be quoted. And

so, it was taken down but the damage has been done already. Parang

lumalabas na nagsinungaling yung Presidente and all that with the

numbers that it was quoted. But there was no punishment. There

was just—basically what the editor had said that the one who posted

had no authority to post that figure but the damage has been done. I

just want to get your sense of that if that happens.

MS. GONZALEZ. I am not very knowledgeable about that

particular story. But like I said, we have internal mechanisms where

the aggrieved party, whether private or public, can come to us and

complain. And we have handled a lot of cases like that and, yes, we’re

not invaluable like all other traditional media, so we could make

mistakes. And when we do that, we make corrections. And if we

failed to do that or anyone who is part of that mistake, we will have to

start an investigation about it and then provide the proper sanctions.

SEN. ZUBIRI. You have--I believe, the ABS has taken internal

ombudsman for that particular—

MS. GONZALEZ. Yes. We have two internal mechanisms. One

is the network ombudsman and the other is the news ethics unit which

handles all of the complaints.

SEN. ZUBIRI. How about with the other mainstream media.

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MR. ALAMPAY. Doon po sa pagkakuwento ninyo, in a scenario

like that, mukha namang kung mayroon nag-post na hindi authorized,

that’s clearly something that even internally is an offense. It will be

investigated, the person involved will be dealt with and penalized … cts

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MR. ALAMPAY. … penalized if necessary. Do we have an

ombudsman at TV5? Yes, sir, we do.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Well, also this goes for all the outlets. We will

just start making an appeal that as mentioned by the Chair earlier,

iyong self-policing. Wala na po si Atty. La Viña. Because it has been

our experience that self-policing has not actually been the case except

for blatant mistakes done by the networks, then they come out and

then issue an erratum. But when it comes to—especially like

newspapers and online articles, Madam Chair, medyo may kakulangan.

That is why it is also important that we tackle again the issue of right

to reply. And the right to reply issue, maybe this day and age, might

be needed to be discussed thoroughly. Because now iba na, iba na.

You can be hit immediately online and I think it is not fair to many of

us in public service. We can take a punch but pag putik na at kung ano

na ang itinatapon sa iyo, that’s unfair. I think we have a right to reply

as well.

I’ve had particular experiences when I’ve written several dailies

and it would never come out. Our answers would never come out and

if there was once a time that it would come out, it would come out two

weeks after. The story has done, it is hidden in the editorial page and I

think that is not, you know--again, that is not fair to those who are

working in public service.

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Also, Madam Chair, on the issue of the Cocoy Dayao and this

article, unfortunately the chairperson isn’t here—So I’d like to ask this

time the NBI, Attorney—is it Dr. Manuel? Are you also a lawyer, sir?

MR. EDUARTE. Sorry. I am an accountant, sir.

SEN. ZUBIRI. You are an accountant?

MR. EDUARTE. Yes, sir.

SEN. ZUBIRI. But you are chief of the Cybercrime Division.

What is your expertise on cybercrime matter?

MR. EDUARTE. Yes, Your Honor. I was taking the administrative

aspect, management ng cases being referred to us, assignment of

cases. So we have technical people from our digital forensics to assist

us. Our people are trained in the conduct of cybercrime investigation,

Your Honor.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Has Senator Sotto approached you to investigate

this particular issue on this—

MR. EDUARTE. Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Yes. Were you able to give information to

Senator Sotto and the Committee on this particular issue, sir?

MR. EDUARTE. We have submitted a progress report but we

asked him, if possible, not to reveal the result of the initial

investigation and not to jeopardize the future investigations that the

NBI will be conducting so that we can gather additional evidence.

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SEN. ZUBIRI. But on your opinion, Dr. Eduarte—

MR. EDUARTE. Mister, sir.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Mr. Eduarte—the statements made by Silent No

More could be considered libelous in your experience of handling

cases?

MR. EDUARTE. Regarding what particular issue, sir?

SEN. ZUBIRI. The statements made against the seven

senators?

MR. EDUARTE. If it can be established, it is, Your Honor.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Yes. Thank you.

So mayroon na pong ongoing investigation?

MR. EDUARTE. Yes, sir. We started the investigation last

September 28.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Thank you.

When will you be able to finalize this investigation, sir?

MR. EDUARTE. Maximum of two weeks more, Your Honor.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Thank you.

On the other matter that I would like to take up with the KBP.

Because iyong self-regulation, sir, Atty. Jularbal. On the self-regulation

aspect, not all members of media are part of the KBP, is that correct,

sir?

MR. JULARBAL. Good afternoon, Your Honors.

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Yes, not all members of broadcast media are members of the

KBP. There is GMA who is not a member and also PTV4.

SEN. ZUBIRI. And I believe also many other media outlets in

the provinces, if I am not mistaken.

MR. JULARBAL. Yes, Your Honor. There is a proliferation of

provincial as well as municipal level broadcast stations and not all of

them also are members of KBP.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Actually that is a big problem now and

something that we have to discuss again, maybe in the next

committee hearing, on the proliferation of so many media outlets in

the provinces. Kung may fake news doon, talagang—iyong mga

pulitiko. Kung sinu-sino na lang ang binabanatan doon, hinuhubaran.

Talagang, ‘ikanga, hinuhubaran. Wala po kayong police power dito sa

mga ito? When we say police power, do you have any sanction given to

these media men, sir?

MR. JULARBAL. Your Honor, on that matter, the KBP and

National Telecommunications Commission are cooperating on this. And

in fact last week I met with Commissioner Cordoba, and as a result, he

issued a circular, I think, yesterday requesting KBP to assist them in

getting information on these radio stations. So we will be providing

NTC information on their location, their frequency, who are the people

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behind it. Because per our own investigation, it looks like a lot of these

stations are not even licensed.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Attorney, sandali lang, Attorney, mukhang

nagka-aksidente rito.

SEN. BINAY. Senator Migz, can we request the OSAA to

accompany Mr. Eduarte sa clinic.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Yes, we have a clinic. There was an accident. I

believe the tripod fell on our NBI chief of Cybercrime Division. We’ll

ask the OSAA, please escort him to the clinic. Mukha namang

aksidente. Kanino pong tripod iyan? PTV4 ba iyan? Sa RTV.

Okay. So, again, Attorney—sorry, I lost my train of thought.

What was that again, Attorney, on the—

MR. JULARBAL. I was saying, Your Honor, that on the matter

of these stations in the provinces that are proliferating. Based on our

own investigation, a lot of them are not licensed. That is why we are

coordinating with the National Telecommunications Commission and

our members are being asked under a memo-circular issued, I think,

yesterday to provide the information in these stations. Because the

NTC committed to close them down if they are unlicensed.

SEN. ZUBIRI. If they are licensed, I think, Attorney--Some of

them are also in other stations that are licensed, probably members of

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the KBP. Is there a mechanism within the KBP that the public can

actually go to for complaints?

MR. JULARBAL. Yes, Your Honor. In fact, we have been

announcing this even years ago. All they have to do is to write a letter

or e-mail KBP and we will motu proprio take action on the complaint.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Of course, without sacrificing or without--how do

you say--stifling the particular victim from filing legal suits?

MR. JULARBAL. Yes, Your Honor. In fact, under our procedures,

if a victim of offensive broadcast or a broadcast that they feel offended

them or damaged them, files a criminal case or even a civil case, the

KBP will suspend proceedings to give way to the cases filed in court.

SEN. ZUBIRI. Thank you.

And just as a last statement, I think we’ve had our share of fake

news. As a matter of fact, Madam Chair, in 2013, I recall one week

before the elections, internet post came out saying that I will file a

bill—I was no longer a senator then—that I will file a bill to having HIV

as illegal—to be illegal. Some things stupid as that. Having HIV is an

illegal act. Of course, the LGBT community freaked out and they

attacked me. I don’t know. I think you remember that, Michael. I told

you, you defended me and said that that is not true. I would never say

such stupidity. Nevertheless, you know, that time of fake news has

been coming out lately more often than before. As a matter of fact, it

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has already achieved this purpose in the last 2016 presidential

elections in the United States where admittedly fake news on the

hacking of the electoral map of the United States and all emails of

these voters were sent fake news and, therefore, could have possibly

moved voters to vote for a particular candidate. And so, therefore, we

have to do something about this, Madam Chair. I think Senator Bam

has his share of fake news. He is from the opposite side of my political

fence. I’ve had my share of fake news also from those that are friendly

to their side. I think it is about time … /jadc

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SEN. ZUBIRI. … I think it is about time that we be able to police

this on this particular case on “Silent No More,” Your Honor.

Madam Chair, I’d like to just put this on the record that we want

to see—We want to hear from Mr. Cocoy Dayao and in the proper time

if he does not attend, we will move for a subpoena duces tecum to

compel him to attend here and I hope we can go to the bottom of this

and I hope he tells us what motivated him to destroy the reputation of

seven senators. Okay lang po kasi pulitiko kami. We can take the heat.

We file a bill, people don’t like it, they can attack us. But huwag naman

iyong wala kaming ginagawa, tapos ginawa pang kwento, tinira kami.

I think that’s foul. Kasi as I said, I would have been willing to sign that

resolution. Senator Bam knows me when it comes to children, women

and issues of that, we fully support it. We fully support these types of

resolutions. Kaya napakasakit sa amin na ginawa itong pamulitika ang

klaseng resolution na iyan.

So, Madam Chair, with that, I’d like to end my interpellation and

I’d like to thank the Chairperson.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Migz, kung lahat ng tira sa atin

sasagutin natin, iyong mga walang basehan na, hearing tayo araw-

araw.

On the other hand, I mean, you will attest to the fact that media

has been calling for this hearing on fake news but I’m a little bit

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worried about legislating nga when it comes to things that will affect

freedom of speech. But I think it’s timely now that all of your opinions

have come into the open and we need to discuss this freely.

And Senator Bam, thank you for your …

SEN. AQUINO. All right. Maraming salamat, Chairperson.

So magandang hapon po sa ating lahat. I know it’s getting a

little late but I’ll try to be as brief as possible.

Unang-una, iyong pahayag na fake news, it’s a generic term. I

think Ms. Tordesillas mentioned this earlier among other individuals

and Usec Egco also mentioned this. Pero sa pakiwari ko po mayroon

pong iba’t-ibang klase iyan. So we have outright falsehoods and later

we’ll show you some examples of some falsehoods. Mayroong hate

speech na iba rin, ibang category rin iyan. Senator Hontiveros isn’t

anymore but if you read the hate speech na nabato sa kanya, I mean,

it’s really terrible. Talagang hindi ho talaga acceptable iyan in a decent

society. “Sana ma-rape ka. Sana ma-rape iyong anak mo. Sana

mamatay ka na” and we should not countenance that. We should not

agree that that is within the bounds of freedom of speech kasi nga

may hangganan iyong freedom of speech.

Pangatlo. Mayroon din pong parody na may nagpapatawa lang

or mayroon pong kaunting, you know, it’s a—I don’t know. It’s a

satirical. But, unfortunately, marami ho sa mga kababayan natin

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hindi ho nakakaintindi ng satire or ng parody. In fact, it’s quite funny

there’s this site called Pinoy Observer na patuloy na nagshe-share

iyong mga tao, patuloy nagko-comment iyong mga tao, galit na galit.

Grabe, galit na galit. I don’t even remember what issue it was

anymore. But if you look at there about us, aaminin nila that there’s

such a satirical site. We’re here to make you laugh. Parang ganyan.

So even that in itself is already problematic kasi iyong pinapalabas na

nakakatawa o parody ay hindi rin naiintindihan na parody ito. And this

happened a number of times during the campaign itself. And then

mayroon tayong mainit na komentaryo, mainit na opinyon. And I agree

with the bloggers here on both sides of the political fence na ang

panahon natin ngayon ay panahon ng mainit na komentarya. And as

public officials, everyone from the President to a barangay captain, an

asec and even a consultant, we are open to this. In fact, you know, si

Mr. Nieto always calls me a cosplayer of my uncle, I don’t mind. I have

high respect for cosplayers at pogi naman iyong tito ko. So I don’t

mind. Ganoon lang talaga. However, when your commentary or

opinion suddenly has, you know, may malicious intent o mayroon kang

pinu-push na agenda, and there are times even Asec Mocha, I see this

sometimes in your post “Nagtatanong lang po” mga ganyan, hindi ba?

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Si Mr. Nieto, “Does Bam Aquino have anything to do with this?”

You can always hide behind saying, “I didn’t say it.” Mr. Lopez, hindi

ba? I didn’t say that it’s categorical. Pero iyong dating kasi niya, it

comes out as fact.

Now, you’re right. Wala pong batas stopping you from writing a

certain way and this has happened many times in the past. Kahit po

mga regular columnist, ginagawa naman talaga iyan. However, we

need to agree na wala nang space ang ganito sa ating lipunan ngayon

because we know better. Because nagkakaharap na tayo dito lahat,

hindi ba? Okay lang. Tell us if you don’t like our vote. Kung tumayo

kami laban sa EJK, sabihin ninyo. And some of you have said, “Hindi

tama iyan. Ginugulo ninyo lang iyong Presidente.” I think some of you

have said that. That’s fine because iyon talaga iyong position namin.

Ayaw namin sa mga bagay-bagay na ganyan and we’re clear on that.

And you can berate us to death regarding our side and regarding

what we’re trying to say. However, kung gagawa ka nang kwento,

magko-connect-connect the dots ka,—Mr. Nieto, sabi mo nga, you are

a political opinion maker. Is that correct?

MR. NIETO. Well, a political observer.

SEN. AQUINO. And you like to connect the dots.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

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SEN. AQUINO. Paminsan-minsan, those dots don’t really

connect and paminsan-minsan, they do. Is that fair to say?

MR. NIETO. Oo. The thing here, Mr. Senator, is I am open to

criticism in the same way that when a commenter said that that link is

weak, I say, “Yes, it’s enough to raise reasonable suspicion but not

even enough to complete(?) probable cause.

SEN. AQUINO. Okay.

MR. NIETO. And that is why we have to ask more questions.

SEN. AQUINO. Mr. Nieto, you are right. You are not breaking

any law.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

SEN. AQUINO. But you look at the US. Within hours of the Las

Vegas shooting, mayroon na kaagad fake news connecting the dots

na, “Oh, this was a plan of the Democrats. Oh, this lady liked

democratic pages, etcetera, etcetera.” You can also say that that

person is just connecting the dots. He’s just making political

commentary but we know na hindi siya maganda, hindi siya tama,

hindi siya ethical. So ako ang pakiusap ko na lang sa inyo, I know that

you like to create these scenarios—your scenarios, Mr. Nieto,

nakakasama rin iyan. It does hurt real people. For example, kinonek

mo si Ms. Terol(?). Ms. Terol worked in my office for a while. She left

I think around 2014. She’s now working in a private company. Sa

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pagkaka-alam ko wala na siyang kinalaman sa pulitika and you make a

very thin connection to Mr. Dayao with no proof, with no allegation,

with no evidence na may kinalaman siya, just to say na magkakilala

sila and she owned the ProPinoy site.

MR. NIETO. I think I’ve been very clear on the site and even in

my succeeding comments that I never implicated Ms. Tirol.

SEN. AQUINO. Okay.

MR. NIETO. And my stance was, invite Ms. Tirol and ask her

about it because what we need here is more information about how

does the entire propaganda machine works. Now, if the good senator

thinks that how I conduct myself is unacceptable based on whatever,

you know, hashtag, dissenter standards there are, I think he should

legislate against it.

SEN. AQUINO. And we probably will to be frank, Mr. Nieto. Ito

kasi ang nangyayari sa atin ngayon, blogging and the rise of our social

media demagogues. This happened before legislation was able to catch

up. So alam naman nating hindi ito maganda. Alam naman natin na

nakakasakit ito sa mga tao. Hindi ba pwede, can’t we on our own, try

to be more fair?

Let me go lang to Asec Mocha. Can’t we try to be more fair? Ang

rami mong posts regarding the minority, regarding the Liberal Party.

Not once humingi ka ng side namin, not even an attempt. And now

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you’re an Asec of the PCOO, nasa position ka. And to be frank, I wish

Secretary Andanar were here para matanong natin directly. Kapag

mayroon kang post na, you know, mali iyong picture. I think we will

show it later. Kapag mali iyong picture, ano iyong consequences

niyan, Asec Mocha? Sinasabihan ka ba ng boss mo, ni Secretary

Andanar, na, “O, mukhang maling picture iyan. Fake iyan.”

MS. USON. Ano po ba iyong picture na iyon, Senator?

SEN. AQUINO. Can we show it? This is the—I think the

Honduras Army, if I’m not mistaken. You’re familiar with this.

MS. USON. Yes. Yes, Senator.

SEN. AQUINO. Ito, naglabas ka nang maling photo. So this is a

falsehood. Mali iyong photo. I’m not saying—Wala namang masamang

intention. Maganda naman iyong intention, pagdasal iyong ating mga

troops. Bakit mali iyong photo na nilagay mo?

MS. USON. Madam Chair, unang-una po, hindi ko naman po

sinabing sila iyong mga sundalo natin sa Marawi. Hindi ko po sinabing

sila ay sundalo natin. Shinare (share) ko po iyan mula sa isang page at

ang hangarin ko lang po diyan ay ipanalangin po ang mga sundalo.

SEN. AQUINO. Bakit hindi ka na lang gumamit ng totoong

photograph ng Philippine Army? Napaka-simpleng hanapin.

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MS. USON. Kasi po napukaw po iyong puso ko dito sa caption

ng photograph na ito na ipanalangin po iyong sundalo. Kaya ishinare

(share) ko po iyon dahil nga pray for our soldiers.

SEN. AQUINO. Kaya nga. Ang dali-daling maghanap ng

photograph ng totoong Philippine Army. Bakit hindi iyong Philippine

Army iyong nilagay mo kasi mas gusto mo itong picture?

MS. USON. Kasi po shinare (share) ko po siya, sir, mula sa isang

page. …/ngdizon

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MS. USON. … mula sa isang page. So shinare (share) ko lang

po siya. Hindi ko siya in-upload. At nakalagay po doon, “Pray for our

soldiers.”

SEN. AQUINO. So sino ang nag-upload noong photo?

MS. USON. Nakalagay po doon, “CinEmotion Digital Films.”

SEN. AQUINO. So it’s another group that posted the photo?

MS. USON. Yes, Mr. Senator.

SEN. AQUINO. Ah, okay. All right. So this was reposted.

This was not your photo.

MS. USON. Yes, sir.

SEN. AQUINO. All right. So in the course of your blogging,

ikaw ba lang iyan mismo or PCOO actually, you know—?

MS. USON. Ako lang. Ako lang po. Ako lang po, sir.

SEN. AQUINO. Okay. In the case, Asec, or maybe Usec Egco,

of allied bloggers like Thinking Pinoy and other allied bloggers, iyong

kasama sa iyong corps, iyong dinadala ninyo abroad, do you provide

talking points to them?

MR. EGCO. As far as I know, Your Honor, nothing is provided

to them—as far as I know.

SEN. AQUINO. Asec Ana, as far as you know rin ba iyong

sagot mo? Yes or no. Mayroon ba kayong pino-provide na talking

points sa kanila?

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MS. BANAAG. Nakaka-intimidate naman, sir. [Laughter]

SEN. AQUINO. Kasi iyong “as far as I know,” it doesn’t mean

anything.

Yes or no.

MS. BANAAG. No, we don’t provide talking point, sir.

SEN. AQUINO. Okay. Not even press releases that you asked

them to talk about?

MS. BANAAG. No, sir.

SEN. AQUINO. That’s quite normal.

MS. BANAAG. Yes, sir. No, sir.

SEN. AQUINO. Doesn’t the Malacañang Press Corps really

provide press—even to the regular press? May press releases naman

iyan, hindi ba? I don’t know.

Roby, can you help me out here? The Malacañang corps of

reporters, they do get press releases from Malacañang.

Yes. Could you ano?

MR. ALAMPAY. Yes, they do.

SEN. AQUINO. So do you provide press releases to the

bloggers as well or no, not even?

MS. BANAAG. No, sir.

SEN. AQUINO. Not even?

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MS. BANAAG. Yes, sir. We provide it to Malacañang Press

Corps, sir.

SEN. AQUINO. And they’re not part of the press corps?

MS. BANAAG. They’re not part of the press corps, sir.

SEN. AQUINO. Okay. All right. O, sige, let me go to my

presentation. So mayroon nga tayong apat. Mayroon tayong

falsehoods, mayroon tayong hate speech na potentially libelous and as

Drilon had said, mayroong remedy for that. May remedy diyan. Lahat

tayo puwedeng kasuhan ng libel—puwede kang kasuhan, puwede

akong kasuhan, puwedeng kasuhan iyong nagsulat noong “7 Deadly

Sens” post. That’s available to the public already. Mayroong parody

rin.

But let me just show some examples of some really outrageous

fake news. Firstly, we have been able to collate 87 sites that provide

fake news. We also have the list from the CBCP. The CBCP came out

with the pastoral letter a number of months ago talking about sites na

mayroong fake news na naglalabas. In fact, RJ, if I’m not mistaken,

thinkingpinoy.net is part of this list ng CBCP.

MR. NIETO. Actually, for the record, Mr. Senator, number one,

I wouldn’t really say that I am allied with the PCOO because the fact of

the matter is I’ve written two articles which attacked these two

people—Assistant Secretary Banaag when she cited something about

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our Revised Penal Code and I was really disappointed in her. But I

love you, ma’am; number two, against Usec Joel Egco regarding the

PTFoMS statement on Aznar.

So will you say that—

SEN. AQUINO. That’s two out of—?

MR. NIETO. I’m sorry? Two viral articles.

SEN. AQUINO. How many articles have you had since the start

of the Duterte administration—everyday?

MR. NIETO. Well, since I started Thinking Pinoy in November,

I have about 200 articles.

SEN. AQUINO. Okay. Two hundred articles. If we do an

analysis now, ilan doon iyong against—Asec Banaag? Maybe we’ll find

one or two. If we do an analysis of how many are against the political

opposition, I’m sure it’s much higher.

MR. NIETO. Yes, of course, it’s much higher because I think

there’s more things wrong with you. So—[Laughter] That’s my

opinion, sir, and I might be wrong.

SEN. AQUINO. Exactly. But what I’m saying, RJ, is huwag

mong sabihin na because you had one article on Asec Banaag, hindi ka

na part of the Duterte groups. You self-professed to be a Duterte

supporter.

MR. NIETO. Yes, I said—

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SEN. AQUINO. And you’re a member or you’re a consultant of

the DFA.

MR. NIETO. Well, number one, Mr. Senator, I say that I am

Duterte aligned but not Duterte ally because I criticize PCOO a lot.

And that’s why sometimes Secretary Andanar doesn’t even want to

talk to me anymore.

But the point here is to say that I am ally, there has to be some

sort of misunderstanding—

SEN. AQUINO. Okay. That’s your opinion.

The CBCP list of fake news websites, kasama si thinkingpinoy.net

diyan. You know that, right?

MR. NIETO. Yes. And GMA actually asked me about it.

SEN. AQUINO. Yes, please.

MR. NIETO. And my reply was, “Ask me the CBCP about what

news to believe or not.” It’s just like asking a lawyer if you have

cancer or not.

SEN. AQUINO. Okay. For the record, Madam Chairperson, I

just like to state that the resource person we’re asking to explain social

media belongs to a list of fake websites of the Catholic Bishops

Conference of the Philippines. So I ask the Chairman to please be

more—maybe in the future, we can be more discerning with who we

ask to present here as well.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Bam, we’re talking about fake

news.

SEN. AQUINO. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So if he is categorized as a member of

those blogs that are in the fake news category, then you have him

right here and you can verify whether it’s true or not.

SEN. AQUINO. So kumbaga, mas alam niya ang tungkol sa

fake news?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Hindi. It’s for you to determine whether

he belongs to that category or not.

SEN. AQUINO. Anyway, Madam Chairman, I’m just saying that

he is on this list.

Now, we also did a research on more—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Maybe biased in some ways.

SEN. AQUINO. Well, he’s on the list. This is categorical. This

was read in all the churches on a Sunday.

Anyway, let me move on. So in Facebook, for example—and we

want to ask asec and usec on this point—kasama sa listahan na ito—

not yet this one—but on the ‘80s—not yet that one—rewind, rewind.

Maganda naman iyong photos ko kay Asec Mocha so okay lang

sa akin iyon. Hindi sa iyo iyon. Iba iyon.

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Anyway, if you look at all of these sites that the CBCP has

pointed out as fake news plus our own research, umaabot na po ito ng

87 fake news websites.

Is it troublesome, Usec Joel, na marami sa mga sites na ito carry

the name of the President? Is that troublesome for you?

MR. EGCO. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman and Your

Honor.

Of course, it is. But pinag-uusapan din po namin iyan and I

think— ganoon po kasi talaga. Isang problema iyan—iyong ia-identify

mo. It’s so easy to put up a website, name it after Bam Aquino—

SEN. AQUINO. Or the President.

MR. EGCO. Or the President. And then pagka nabuking ka na,

you take down the site and you put up another.

SEN. AQUINO. Put up another one. Agree.

MR. EGCO. So iyon po iyong isang kuwan diyan. But,

however, the effect is iyon nga po—well, it’s alarming.

SEN. AQUINO. It’s alarming. It’s troublesome. It’s also bad

for the President. Is that safe to say kapag may mga fake news sites

that have his name there?

MR. EGCO. I suppose so, yes. Kasi that’s one form of false

information. So people would think that these websites are actually

allied to the President’s camp.

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SEN. AQUINO. Okay. Not even aligned, just ally?

MR. EGCO. Not even aligned.

SEN. AQUINO. Okay.

MR. EGCO. So iyon iyong danger doon. So how to check that?

Iyon po iyong actually dapat we have to identify to determine.

SEN. AQUINO. You want to say something, Asec?

So, in fact, Madam Chairperson, you will also ask NBI to do their

forensic research kung sino ho talaga iyong may-ari ng mga websites

na ito on our research pati na rin iyong 40 fake websites na binanggit

ng CBCP. We also want to know who is earning from these websites.

Sino po iyong nasa likod ng mga ito because, you know, let’s be fair.

If we are doing an investigation, let’s go all out.

Asec Banaag, do you agree?

MS. BANAAG. Sir, I’d like to make a comment on how CBCP

was able to come up with something on fake news. First, what to

them is fake news; and, of course, second, where is silent no more. Is

silent no more?

SEN. AQUINO. No, this was released early on. I think, if I’m

not mistaken, this was released maybe four or five months ago.

What’s the date? January. So medyo matagal-tagal na.

So maybe we can invite them next time. They can be here and

we can talk to them ano iyong naging basehan nila.

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MS. BANAAG. Yes, sir.

SEN. AQUINO. And maybe they have an updated list.

MS. BANAAG. Yes, sir. And—

THE CHAIRPERSON. You mean the CBCP?

SEN. AQUINO. Yes. Yes, Madam Chairperson.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay.

SEN. AQUINO. All right. So kung makikita ninyo po itong mga

iba’t ibang mga sites, it does include the name of the President. We

have Duterte News, Duterte Defender, DU30newsblog.blogspot, DU30

Worldwide and some that don’t have his name—hotnewsfield.blogspot,

liberalpartysite.wordpress. Iba-iba rin talaga ito. Magkakaiba siya.

So if we are going to undergo this investigation anyway, we will

request NBI. Lahat ho ng—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator Bam.

SEN. AQUINO. Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. May maikli lang sasabihin si Ms.

Tordesillas. Alam mo naman—

Ma’am, can you say it like in one minute? Opo.

MS. TORDESILLAS. Ang problem lang kasi sa listahan na iyan,

kasi they cited sites. Mayroong mga sites kasi na nagko-combine

iyong fake at saka hindi fake.

SEN. AQUINO. Aabot tayo diyan, ma’am. We will get there.

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MR. NIETO. Madam Chair.

SEN. AQUINO. Just a second, RJ.

So itong 87 fake news websites natin, we went through it and

we’d like to share with you some of these posts. So the first major

one—and I’ll go over mine quite briefly kasi I’m sure alam ninyo na rin

iyan—the first major one about myself was really about our Food

Waste Bill. And it’s a pity kasi itong—although I think I look very

boyish here, Madam Chairperson, medyo boyish—

THE CHAIRPERSON. You look good there.

SEN. AQUINO. I look good there. Thank you, Madam

Chairperson.

That’s fake news ba or that’s real news?

MR. NIETO. No, you really do look good there. [Laughter]

SEN. AQUINO. Thank you, RJ. Salamat.

THE CHAIRPERSON. No filter.

SEN. AQUINO. This was the first fake news … brhg

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SEN. AQUINO. … This was the first fake news. It came from a

site na Marcos loyalist site. Hindi siya outright falsehood. It was

twisted. The facts were twisted. At iyong Zero Food Waste Bill,

ginawan ako ng quote “Mga tira-tirang pagkain, ibigay sa mga

mahihirap” which, of course, is an outright falsehood. Hindi ko talaga

sinabi iyan and that’s not really the subject of the bill.

Alam mo, we all received—Senator Trillanes is here—We all

received negative comments. Medyo sanay na ho kami diyan. Ang

sayang lang ho dito, iyong bill namatay. Because of all of these fake

news around it, hindi na namin matulak-tulak iyong batas na ito. It is

a bill that will collect unused food from supermarkets, from different

areas and then it will be given to DSWD for usage of communities who

are hungry and which is done in many, many countries. But the bill

practically died because of this fake news. So isang casualty po iyan

ng fake news.

Next. Ito naman, kakaiba talaga. There was this rally in front of

the US Embassy na may nasagasaan, I think you all remember that.

In a blink of an eye, napakabilis, kami daw mga dilawan ang may

kagagawan niyan and it was quite outrageous.

Third, iyong kay Marawi. And this was really the one that hurt

the most because this was from Secretary Aguirre.

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Iyong kwento ho niyan, Madam Chairperson, umikot na iyan sa

Internet—umikot na iyang balitang iyan, that fake news na may

kagagawan ako sa Marawi siege and it became even worse when

Secretary Aguirre mentioned it to his press corps. This is the worst

because this is about terrorism, this is treasonous already,

napakasama po niyan. Iyong kamukha mo si ganito, iyong kamukha

mo si ganyan, kilala mo si ganito na may kakilalang ganyan, okay pa.

Ito napakasama talaga. It’s really, really bad.

And, you know, our seven colleagues are so incensed that, you

know, they are being accused of not supporting the EJK resolution. I

think this is even worse because here you are being accused of being a

traitor to your country. So napakasama ho talaga nito. Now, it

became worse when an official of government broadcast it.

And this, I think, is where one of my points. Eventually, when

we craft the bill, who is really responsible? Unang-una, it’s the writer

pero mahirap pong hanapin iyon. Secondly, it’s the broadcaster. Sino

iyong nag-broadcast ng fake news. Because a number of—

Well, Asec and RJ, sometimes we used posts from other sites

that eventually turn out to be faked.

MR. NIETO. Well, if you can site on Thinking Pinoy, sir, I’ll say

if it’s fake or not.

SEN. AQUINO. Can we show that nga, please? Nag-erratum ka.

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MR. NIETO. Alin po ba?

SEN. AQUINO. This one. “… the photo I posted earlier today

showing Robredo’s portrait allegedly being auctioned off on eBAy

turned out to be derived from a satirical post.”

MR. NIETO. Yes.

SEN. AQUINO. So you do make mistakes sometimes?

MR. NIETO. Yes. I do make mistakes. In the same way that we

do not expect infallibility in media as long as—

SEN. AQUINO. Yes. And in fact, I am thankful that you have

an erratum. Ang sinasabi ko lang is that sometimes you used posts

which are erroneous at nangyayari iyon.

MR. NIETO. Well, tao lang po.

SEN. AQUINO. Yes, exactly, nangyayari ito. Kahit naman

kami, nagkakamali rin kami.

MR. NIETO. Opo.

SEN. AQUINO. We say an erratum also right away.

Has it happened, Asec Mocha Uson, sa iyo, mayroon kang na-cite

na maling balita?

MS. USON. Opo, iyong ano, iyong dapat na tax code. Iyon po,

nag-erratum din po ako doon, Senator.

SEN. AQUINO. Okay. How do you find out na nagkamali ka?

MS. USON. Binash po ako.

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SEN. AQUINO. Okay. And then tsine-check mo?

MS. USON. Opo.

SEN. AQUINO. Okay. And how long usually does it take you to

put an erratum?

MS. USON. Kaagad-agad po, Senator.

SEN. AQUINO. Agad-agad, hindi ba?

MS. USON. Opo.

SEN. AQUINO. So that can be part of the bill, Madam

Chairperson, na kung mayroong mali, may time limit ka na para

tanggalin iyon. Kung sumobra ka, pwede ka nang may penalty. And I

think that’s fair. That’s fair to everyone who posts.

But, third, Madam Chairperson, is really also the platform

because—

Can we go to the one about the other countries? If you look at

what other countries are doing, they are not just penalizing the author,

they are not just penalizing the broadcaster, they are also penalizing

the platforms. Because the platforms, the broadcasters and the

authors are all earning from these posts. So they have more

responsibility because kumikita sila dito.

And this is why, Madam Chairperson, maybe in our next hearing,

we can invite people from Google, from Facebook, from Twitter. And

we have initially invited them because they do have a responsibility

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here. In fact, if you look what is happening in the United States, they

are at the center of the investigations on Russia-US collusion because

there were ads supposedly bought by the Russians that would have

affected the elections. So hindi lang ho ito problema sa ating bansa.

This is a worldwide phenomenon. And if we want to get to the bottom

of this, medyo marami pa po talagang kailangan tayong tahakin.

Now, if you don’t mind, Madam Chairperson, I also got some

fake news about our other colleagues—pinaalam ko naman.

On Senator Grace Poe—“Grace Poe siningil si Digong sa

pangakong magpakamatay para sa bayan,” Madam Chairperson.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Sinabi ko daw iyon?

SEN. AQUINO. Oo.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Ano ang sagot niya?

SEN. AQUINO. Ewan ko. YouTube ito, Tokhang TV.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Wala.

SEN. AQUINO. And “Pinakaayaw mabulgar na baho”—Mayroon

ba noon, Madam Grace?—“ni Grace Poe nagawang ibulgar ni Duterte

sa publiko.”

THE CHAIRPERSON. Mali kasi iyong drink, brandy daw, hindi

naman.

SEN. AQUINO. Ganoon ba iyon? [Laughter]

THE CHAIRPERSON. San Mig Light na lang.

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SEN. AQUINO. Now, you look at the site, Tokhang TV and then

President Rodrigo Duterte update.

Usec Egco, that’s quite troublesome, right? Hindi iyan maganda

para sa Malacañang, hindi iyan maganda para sa ating Pangulo.

MR. EGCO. Yes. At a certain point, I agree with you, Your

Honor.

And I’d like to add when you asked me that question earlier.

Yes, I remember that I was given, I think, almost the same list that

you mentioned containing the names of the President et cetera and

somebody from PCOO, one of our colleagues, asked me if I can

actually bring the matter to the NBI for the same reason that we want

those people behind those alleged fake websites to be identified.

SEN. AQUINO. Palagay ko kasi, Usec, halu-halo na iyan.

Mayroong mga totoong sumusuporta kay President Duterte.

MR. EGCO. Yes, I would agree—

SEN. AQUINO. Mayroong kumikita lang.

MR. EGCO. Opo.

SEN. AQUINO. That’s my take. I don’t know if you agree.

MR. EGCO. Well, for me also, I would share the same view.

SEN. AQUINO. All right. So we all agree na whether it’s for the

opposition, for the administration basta peke po ito, this has no place

in our modern society. Is that correct, Usec?

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MR. EGCO. If it’s—well, not always a lie. But if it’s malicious,

it’s unscrupulous and deliberately done with complete disregard to

what the truth is, then that’s the most sinister part of spreading fake

news.

SEN. AQUINO. Thank you.

With the bloggers or in the case of Asec Mocha, for example—ah,

wala pa palang social media guidelines. Sorry, you had mentioned this

earlier. We have a draft of the social media guidelines.

Was that released to the public? Not yet? Can the Committee see

a copy of that? Maybe we can provide comments on your social media

guidelines.

Why are we waiting for the President to sign it? Hindi ba

pwedeng si Secretary Andanar na lang pumirma niyan?

MS. BANAAG. Sir, the social media guidelines for the PCOO is

being reviewed by the OP. We are not waiting for the President to sign

it. But the DICT guidelines on social media is a draft for the President

to sign because it is an administrative order.

SEN. AQUINO. I see. Is that for all members of government?

MS. BANAAG. Yes, sir.

SEN. AQUINO. All right. We would welcome that.

And could we see a draft of that, Atty. Muscoso? Are you

representing the DICT?

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MR. MUSCOSO. [Off-mike] Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. AQUINO. Can I see a draft of that, please?

MR. MUSCOSO. [Off-mike] Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. AQUINO. For the record—sa record po. Just say yes on

the—so we can capture it.

MR. MUSCOSO. Yes, Your Honor, we will provide you a copy.

SEN. AQUINO. Thank you.

All right. Mayroon pa tayong iba dito. Of course, iyong kay Risa,

alam niyo na, at saka kay Senator Kiko. Ito, another interesting ito,

kakaiba rin ito, “Lagyan ng color coding ang mga tao sa MRT at LRT.”

You know, it sounds really fantastic but unfortunately, mayroon

talagang naniniwala.

Iyong nabanggit ni Senator Migz, napaka-fantastic naman noon,

ipagbabawal mo ang mayroong HIV, but mayroon talagang naniniwala

and it’s really maliciously done.

Now, kung titingnan niyo po, it’s the same picture, it’s the same

story on different sites. So it’s happening, nangyayari na iyan ngayon.

This is our reality right now.

Now, if I may just wrap up, Madam Chairperson, these are things

that are already here. And my take is that the political opinion, iyong

tagisan ng talino, iyong tagisan ng kuru-kuro mas tataas pa iyan—mas

tataas pa iyan. Maybe in the past year, I would say that the online

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space was really owned by President Duterte supporters, maybe right

after he had won.

But now I think, with groups that have come out, ano na, it’s a

battlefield already. Everyone I think will agree, it’s a battlefield

already.

Ang tanong: Sa kahit anumang battlefield, mayroon pa bang

rules of engagement? And I think that’s what we’re trying to do now,

create some rules of engagement. Again, tawagin mo akong cosplayer

to death, wala akong problema. Tawagin mo akong terorista, may

problema ako diyan. Kasi foul na iyan, masama na iyan.

MR. NIETO. Hindi ko po ginawa iyon?

SEN. AQUINO. Hindi ikaw.

MR. NIETO. Okay.

SEN. AQUINO. Ikaw lang ang tumawag sa akin na cosplayer,

hindi ba?

Asec Mocha, wala akong problema kung hindi mo gusto iyong

mga batas ko. But if you accused us of destabilizing the government,

hindi rin namin gusto iyan kasi that’s a crime. Ang pinagkaiba niyan,

hindi mo gusto iyong sinabi ko, okay lang. Kasi hindi lahat ng

sasabihin ko magugustuhan mo talaga. Pero pag in-accuse mo ko na

destabilizer, any even innuendo of assassination, coup d’etat or

anything like that, I have a problem with that … /mpm

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SEN. AQUINO. ... I have a problem with that kasi krimen po

iyon. So mayroon dapat tayong hangganan. Dapat alam natin ano

iyong komentaryo, ano iyong may sinasabi ka ng illegal? And dapat

malinaw sa atin iyon. And if you have five million followers, Asec

Mocha,--five million, seven million, five million, you have extra

responsibility. If you have 700,000 followers, you have extra

responsibility. Hindi na kayo pwedeng magtago na blogger ako, hindi

naman ako journalist. Sinabi na nga ni Mr. Nieto mas malaki pa daw

iyong reach niya sa Inquirer and Rappler combined. That’s what you

said, right?

MR. NIETO. Opo. Pero just to be clear, sir, ang gusto po sana

namin linawin natin kung ano iyong batas na naggo-govern sa amin.

SEN. AQUINO. Agree. And that’s exactly what we are doing

now. But unahan ninyo na. Be good citizens, unahan ninyo na. Alam

ninyo ng may responsibilidad kayo.

MR. NIETO. Sir, you cannot compel us—I mean, with all due

respect, you cannot compel us to do something that is not mandated.

SEN. AQUINO. We cannot compel you. That is true, RJ. And

eventually we might; but right now we can’t. So ang pakiusap namin,

tayo-tayo na mismo iyong mag-ayos, hindi ba? Iyong mag-ayos. You

know, we have opposition sites. There is nothing wrong with that.

Edwin is very outspoken. Great, he is outspoken; maraming taong

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outspoken na ngayon. Maraming tao na ang nagagalit na rin ngayon.

Let people be outspoken. Let people challenge each other. Pero huwag

tayong mag-libelous speech sa name calling. Huwag tayong gumawa

ng mga balita na hindi totoo. Huwag tayong magsabi ng threats.

Huwag nating i-threaten iyong isa’t isa na “ma-rape ka sana,”

“mamatay ka sana,” “masunugan ka sana.” Huwag tayong gaganoon.

Pero itong usapin sa ating bayan, ano ba iyong resolusyon? We

forgot the resolution. The resolution was about killing of minors. Buti

nga sinuportahan ng Majority na ayaw na natin ng EJK. That could

have been something where the Senate would have agreed. For once

we could all have agreed na dapat itigil na iyong EJK sa bansa.

Instead, ang pinag-aawayan natin are, you know, we are here now. I

admit importante pa rin itong fake news. But we cannot allow

ourselves to devolve even further. And if it needs a law para

magkaroon ng rules of engagement, then gawin natin iyon. But siguro

naman bilang mga Filipino kaya naman natin na magkaroon ng sarili

nating rules of engagement. And, of course, if you are from

government like us, we are held to higher standards.

Usec.

MR. EGCO. Thank you, Your Honor, Madam Chair.

Yes, I agree na talagang malaki ang problema natin diyan sa

fake news na iyan. Going to that resolution po, ito iyong problema

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natin that is why we have, again, I am going back to the discussion of

the need to define what fake news is. Kasi, for instance, iyon pong

inyong resolution, there was a resolution. It was disseminated but the

way it was presented was slanted. Kung sasabihin nating ganoon.

Maybe it was slanted, maybe it was a spin deliberately or otherwise.

But the question is, would that qualify that particular action as

distributing of fake news?

SEN. AQUINO. Well, our fellow Senators here consider the

name calling against them libelous because they were called certain

terms that have meaning, that are not true. Simply put, that are not

true. So I think it falls under libelous—possibly libelous speech. Now,

ibang category pa iyan, Usec, and that just goes to show kung gaano

kahirap itong tinatahak natin. And again, maybe there is—siguro

naman paisa-isa mayroon tayong mga bagay-bagay na pwede tayong

mag-agree. Na itigil na natin iyong fake news. Any site na fake news

whether it is for the administration or against the administration, dapat

itigil na iyan, hindi ba? If there is libelous speech, the people who

wrote it should be held accountable. Kung mayroong parody site,

kailangang malinaw na parody site. I mean, we need to undergo this.

This is the best—ako, for me, ito iyong best way. Now, habang

nangyayari iyan, my prediction is mas gugulo pa iyong battlefield

online. It will just get even more heated. Pero tama lang because we

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are a democracy. At tama lang na iyong mga tao mayroon talaga

silang pananaw that they do have a point of view. And some will be

for the President, some will be against the President. And that’s how a

democracy is. Pero again, we have freedom of speech pero may

hangganan iyon. And ito iyong binubuo natin ngayon na mayroong

rules of engagement sana na lahat tayo susunod especially

government officials.

Anyway, this is a last point, Madam Chairperson.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Senator, we still have a few more

resource persons.

SEN. AQUINO. Last na last na talaga ito. We are just talking

about it. May bago na, “Bam Aquino, biglang nataranta sa mga

pasabog ni TO.” Dapat TP yata ito, Rey. RJ, this refers to you. Ang

bilis, namutla daw ako sa mga pasabog. Iyon ba iyong term? “Bam,

namutla sa pasabog ni TP.”

MR. NIETO. Hindi ako ang nagsulat niyan, sir.

SEN. AQUINO. I know. I know, syempre you are there. I just

like to mention maputi lang po talaga ako, hindi po ako namutla.

MR. NIETO. In fairness, sir, you are good looking.

SEN. AQUINO. Thank you, sir. Thank you.

So ganoon kabilis. As we are doing this, mayroon na kaagad.

And then if you look at the video, it is actually RJ and Tito Sen—and

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Tito Sotto. I mean ganyan, that’s the world we live in. As we are

having this hearing, mayroon ng bagong fake news na lumabas.

So Madam Chairperson, thank you for your time and thank you

for your patience.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you for your research, Senator

Bam.

Actually habang nagsasalita ka, iyong isang sinasabing miyembro

ng grupo ng SilentNoMore, Leah Navarro, was already commenting and

saying that I am treating you guys with kid gloves and with deference.

Let me make it clear that I accord respect to every single resource

person in my hearing. I do not choose whether you are against me or

for me or for my views. And the reason why I am giving you this

chance is because this hearing is not for me. This hearing is for the

people. And supposedly purveyors of fake news are given the chance

to speak, well, because we are investigating fake news. So we will now

judge whether it is true that there is fake news or not. So I would like

her to come here to the next hearing and to speak up. She was a

member of my board and she said a lot of things about me that are

untrue. But I never called her out in social media but perhaps now she

can say it.

Anyway, I would like to give—actually, Mocha, ikaw may mga

nabibiktima sa iyo. Nabiktima ako.

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MS. USON. Opo.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Ikaw ay nabibiktima rin.

MS. USON. Opo.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Dahil—papaano ka nabiktima? Dahil

nagko-quote ka ng news na galing din sa fake news site. Hindi ba,

iyong dito nga iyong sa US Ambassador Nikki, “We must give President

Duterte the space to run the nation.” Iyon pala galing sa fake Al

Jazeera website. Do you recall this?

MS. USON. Parang ini-report po iyan ng Manila Times. Manila

Times po.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Oo nga. Pero inilabas mo doon sa site mo?

MS. USON. Galing po sa Manila Times po iyong shinare (share)

ko. And then dinelete (delete) ko po noong sinabing fake po.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Pero kinorect (correct) mo na rin?

MS. USON. Opo.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Mayroon naman isa dito na sinasabi rin

na, “95 nations in 3rd UPR convinced no EJKs in the Philippines.” The

summary, apparently hindi naman totoo ito. So na-correct din ba ito?

MS. USON. Ano po iyong post?

THE CHAIRPERSON. The Philippine News Agency published a

story claiming that 95 nations in the 27th universal period review of the

Human Rights Council were convinced that there were no extra-judicial

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killings in the Philippines. PNA’s May 15 story went viral after newly

appointed Communications Secretary Mocha Uson posted it in her blog.

In response, the UPR posted a clarificatory tweet on the matter saying,

“To the best of our knowledge, 95 states were not convinced that EJK

is non-existent.” So parang nagkaroon ng pagkakamali kasi sinasabi

nila na mayroong EJK, hindi na, it’s non-existent.

MS. USON. Opo. Iyan po iyong shinare ko from PNA.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So, siguro ganito na lang. I would like,

from PCOO, especially you have a government post, to vet your

sources. It doesn’t mean that if it is published by a particular site that

it would be reliable. So we have to do double vetting for those things

and I would like PCOO to submit to me your position on things like

this. You corrected yourself, in fact, sa BIR files tax evasion case

versus Mighty, you wrongfully cited Article 263 and you admitted your

mistake and corrected yourself by saying that she meant 263 of the

Tax Code. Well, mga ganoon. Na-correct mo naman iyong sarili mo.

Pero ito nga, dapat siguro nagtutulungan tayo na hindi dapat nagpo-

post ng hindi natin tsine-check. Kasi you have the government

resources in your hands to validate.

MR. EGCO. Yes. Madam Chair. May I expound to that?

I think that was the incident in relation to DILG Asec Epimaco

Densing’s statement but that was corrected ... /smv

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MR. EGCO. … but that was corrected later on.

And I would like to add also, Madam Chair, that I am the

appointed supervising undersecretary for the Philippine News Agency

and that the appointment came last September 9. So the PNA is now

undergoing an honest-to-goodness reorganization.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. Actions speak louder than words.

MR. EGCO. Right.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So please submit to me—Kasi hindi ba

iyong mga logo nga ninyo. I am sure you have a lot of enthusiastic

employees na nagmamadaling ilabas ang information, hindi nave-vet.

Kagaya nga noong DOLE, hindi ba, Del Monte iyong nilabas na ano?

Iyong mga ganoon.

MR. EGCO. Yes. We investigated that also.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So we just have to be more careful.

Senator Trillanes will be our finale.

But in the meantime, I would like to hear—kasi kanina pa si Mr.

Mabanta—for a statement because you also have a certain following.

We would like to hear from you because, of course, the Internet has

really democratized information.

MR. MABANTA. Sure.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So you have your followers. Please go

ahead.

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MR. MABANTA. Right. Good afternoon.

Thank you for inviting me. I will keep this really short.

Everybody has been here since 9:30. And I am sure everybody wants

to hear Mocha and Senator Trillanes speak to each other. I meant that

with respect obviously.

I think my participation here it was meant to be a little different

from the other resource people, in a sense that when Senator Grace

invited me to come here today, it was under the correct and logical

impression that with all these major Internet superstars coming here

today from both sides, both anti-admin and pro-admin, that the odds

of them attacking each other were very high. And she was right,

obviously, because there was a lot of tension that happened today.

So she asked me to come in neutral, Social Media Switzerland.

And I suggest and I intend to keep my word. Basically, what I am

trying to say is I am not going to attack anybody or I’m not going to

direct the trajectory of the blame or point any fingers at anybody

today. What I think my purpose is here today, if I understood Senator

Poe correctly, was to, is to address this rapidly growing community of

political commentators in the Philippines today, more specifically, it’s

all of us with substantial online presence. Basically, it’s all of us with

substantial online presence who comment on social and political affairs

on Facebook every single day. Because right now, there are so many

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of us. Just here in this room alone, I think there is about 20 or 25 of

us. We are certainly in the hundreds right now. It’s a substantial

online influence. We might be in the thousands. And the fact of the

matter is this, we are responsible for influencing literally millions of

Filipino minds every single day. That is without question. Sass and

RJ, Out Engage,(?) ABS-CBN, GMA, Rappler and Inquirer, together,

that’s without the beast of an account that Mocha has who destroys all

of them completely, right?

So basically, what I have been asked to address are these

community of bloggers and political commentators. I think that if you

are one of the political commentators in the Philippines right now, if

you comment on a daily basis on Facebook, whether you are a small

fish or a big dog, I think that the very first question that would be

asked of you is also the most common question to be asked of you,

which is this: Are you pro-Duturte or you’re anti-Duterte? I

categorically hate this question. I hate it because it’s an attempt to

box you in. And I don’t like being boxed in. I think it’s an attempt to

box you in because it demands that you firmly plant yourself on one

side of a binary scenario, a scenario that demands a multilayered

nuance, you know, more complex approach. You know, I think that to

choose side strategically, it makes sense, you know, that you develop

friends and your friends will back you up and all that stuff. But I think

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in terms of doing the right thing, I think it disallows analytical

flexibility, you know. I think that the main thing here, and I’m saying

this, I guess, to the younger bloggers, because they are so many now.

They’re, I’m guessing, you know, very likely to be in the thousands.

If you’re a younger blogger, instead of choosing to be loyal to a person

in politics, the best thing to do is to be loyal to a policy, you know

because if you firmly plant yourself from the beginning on one side,

then it becomes incredibly difficult to criticize, right? So I think I will

keep this really short. I prepared an entire speech, but I understand I

will keep this short so we can keep on going. But I think it’s a duty

and a responsibility of everybody to be able to praise and defend the

President when he is doing things that are right and to criticize him

when he is wrong.

So I think that—I guess, my advice today is to give your loyalty

and your focus not to specific people in politics, especially in social

media, but to give your loyalty and your focus to policy.

So that’s it.

MS. USON. Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you for putting it in perspective.

You are right. The loyalty should not be to an individual but to a

policy or an ideology you believe in for the greater good.

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MR. MABANTA. Right. Sorry. Really quickly, just so I can

drive on that point. Because if you don’t do that, if you don’t give your

loyalty to a specific person, then what happens is the odds of you

generating and publishing what could be inaccurate news, fake news,

misleading news becomes exponentially lower. That’s what I think so.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you. Thank you for your

manifestation, Mr. Mabanta.

Asec Uson.

MS. USON. Yes, Madam Chair.

Gusto ko lang pong mag-react po sa sinabi ni Senator Bam

Aquino kanina. Agree po ako sa mga sinabi niya. Pero sana po ay

applicable din po ito doon sa mga anti-Duterte pages. Nakikita ninyo

naman po andito kami, mga pro-Duterte bloggers, may mga mukha.

Sana po iyong hinihiling ninyo na walang maling balita, walang hate

speech, walang ganito, sana ay patas din, ganoon din sa kabilang side.

At sana po iyong si di-umanong may hawak ng mga anti-Duterte

anonymous FB pages na ito na si Cocoy Dayao, sana po ay mapapunta

din po dito.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Alam ninyo, Ms. Mocha, ganoon nga

iyong nagiging problema. Sinasabi na guilty na raw para sa akin itong

si Cocoy Dayao. Binibigyan nga namin siya ng pagkakataon na

pumunta dito. Napakadali naman na malaman na siya ay iniimbitahan,

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hindi siya pumupunta rito. So ngayon, lumalabas na siya pa iyong

duwag at may tinatago.

Kaya para doon sa mga nagsasabi na pinaniniwalaan namin or ko

ang bali-balita tungkol kay Dayao, na wala naman daw siya talagang

involvement, di pumunta siya dito at patotohanan niyang hindi totoo

iyon, hindi ba?

Senator Bam.

SEN. AQUINO. Can I just respond?

Actually, I am hoping na wala na tayong anonymity on all sides.

Because panahon na, panahon na maglantaran, maglabasan. Say how

you feel about this administration. Say how you feel about the EJK.

Maging matapang. Iyon na iyong panawagan ngayon.

So ako, honestly, I agree—I can’t believe it—Hindi ba, Asec, I am

agreeing with you.

MS. USON. I am flattered po.

SEN. AQUINO. Thank you. I am agreeing with you. Iyong

panahon na anonymity, tama na. That is why we are providing this

fake news sites to NBI para malaman who were the people behind this.

And it goes for everybody. Now more than ever, kailangan tayong

tumayo at manindigan, wala nang tinatago, laban na kung laban. So

tama kayo, tagisan ng talino, tagisan ng kuru-kuro, tagisan ng

paninindigan. Ganoon na.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. Tagisan ng ganda at—

SEN. AQUINO. Sa iyo, ganda at—

THE CHAIRPERSON. Hindi. Gandang lalaki.

SEN. AQUINO. Okay. But I agree. I agree the time for

anonymity is over. And it goes for all sides. Let’s be upfront. Kapag

may nagtatanong sa akin, you know, people, they say, “”How do we

help the opposition?” Sabi ko lagi, “Be more vocal. Use your real

name. Be more vocal.” Because if you use your real name, iyong mga

taong kilala ka know how you feel. It was the same way with President

Duterte’s supporters during the elections. Ngayon, kung may

pakiramdam ka na may mali, lumabas ka na rin, sabihin mo iyan,

sabihin mo sa pamilya mo, sabihin mo sa mga kaibigan mo, “Hindi na

panahon na magtago. Panahon nang lumabas at sabihin iyong

talagang nasa loob ninyo.”

THE CHAIRPERSON. That is why we wish to acknowledge also,

well, the courage, whether or not you believe in their views. Nandito si

Secretary Lacierda, Atty. Valte, Secretary Quezon.

You’re secretary, right?

VOICE. No, undersecretary.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Undersecretary. And then, of course,

Thinking Pinoy, Franco, Mocha—ginagamit ninyo talaga iyong pangalan

ninyo, hindi ba? So wala man kayong internal ombudsman in your

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company dahil you are self-employed, your bashers will bash you if

they don’t believe in what you’re saying or if they think you made a

mistake.

So anyway, hindi pa natin nadidinig iyong Inquirer. Pero may

maikli kayong statement bago si Senator Trillanes.

Sir, thank you for your presence here today also.

MR. ULANDAY. Yes. Thank you also for inviting me. And it’s

actually my first time to appear in a Senate committee hearing and it

is quite an experience particularly with the exchanges that went on.

I really just wanted to say that as far as fake news is concerned

… /jmb

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MR. ULANDAY. … as far as fake news is concerned, the Inquirer

is very much concerned about this and is really bent also on trying to

stop or to stem fake news that might actually be posted on our site

and also might be published in print. We have actually set up

mechanisms for us to be able to double check, verify the stories that

we publish and also that we post online. And that we actually had set

up a so-called editorial council in place of the ombudsman. So

whenever there are complaints about some stories, the council is

convened. And, actually, I am a member of the council so we discuss

the merits and points brought up in the complaint. And then

sometimes, we actually come up with sanctions on, let’s say, our

reporter or photographer who probably took, let’s say, even some

misleading photos or wrong photos. So we would actually welcome,

let’s say, a legislation on fake news. But, basically, to help us define

also our scope of actually trying to control or minimize whatever fake

news that might come our way. And this hearing, actually, is a

welcome development for us. Thank you.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you for your presence, sir, and

also for your work because, obviously, you go through a lot of vetting

process, internal checks. Eventually, maybe our bloggers will have

their own set up also on that.

MR. VILLAREAL. Madam Chair?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Chair?

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MR. VILLAREAL. Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Very quickly, please.

MR. VILLAREAL. Yes, opo. As an addition and after hearing

what has been discussed so far, actually, there can be a mechanism

where all the players, I would like to call them, handlers of

information. They receive information, they can include mainstream

media with an online presence, it could also include the bloggers. And

all of them can be together. May mga mukha na po dapat sila, ika

nga, at may responsibilidad. And then this body because Senator

Pangilinan was asking, is there any way that mayroong proseso ng

adjudication na sila-sila po kung may magkakamali o bibigyan sila ng

guidance, pwede po iyan. There are industry-based councils or

organizations. Even the Motion Picture Association of America is like

that. It is inter-industry. It is also the industry kasi sila ang

nakakaalam, sila ang nagpapataw kung anumang sanction, kung

kailangan o gagabayan upang sila po ay mas mapabuti ang kanilang

trabaho.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Parang KBP.

MR. VILLAREAL. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So pwede nating ipagsama iyong iba’t-

ibang grupo, mayroon kayong isang organization of bloggers from

different political persuasions …

MR. VILLAREAL. Yes, please.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. … that will police each other. Okay, thank

you.

MR. VILLAREAL. Yes, and one more thing. Pero dapat po,

Madam Senator, doon po mayroon silang—they have to agree on a

code of ethics para they all read from the same page. And ensuring

the dignity of the human person, iyong gender sensitivity. All of these

things po kailangan po nasa ethics nila.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Well, of course, this will all be voluntary

on their part and the mechanisms will have to be devised yet. But

thank you for the suggestion, Chair.

Senator Trillanes.

SEN. TRILLANES. Maraming salamat, Madam Chairman.

Actually, wala na sana akong planong um-attend dito kaso na-

miss daw ako ni Ms. Mocha.

MS. USON. Ang gwapo ninyo pala, Senator, sa personal. Hindi

po fake news iyon, sir.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Mukhang na-disarm na si Senator

Trillanes. Mukhang tapos na ang hearing natin.

SEN. TRILLANES. Konti na lang at baka i-atras ko iyong kaso

ko—konti na lang bola.

Anyway, Madam Chair, let me address first the questions to Mr.

Nieto. So can you look at the projection?

MR. NIETO. Yes, sir.

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SEN. TRILLANES. So ito iyong accounts—ipinost mo rin ba

iyan iyong fake accounts?

MR. NIETO. No, sir, ang pinost ko po diyan ay iyong news na

iyong sinabi ni Pangulong Duterte na accounts ay hindi iyong kumalat

na accounts. So ito pong—nasaan ba iyong picture?

SEN. TRILLANES. Hindi--nakalagay roon. Naka-post diyan

sa—iyan, that one.

MR. NIETO. Opo, screenshot po iyan ng GMA News.

SEN. TRILLANES. Hindi, no. Look at that one?

MR. NIETO. Opo.

SEN. TRILLANES. Ano iyan? Kanino naka—shinare (share) mo

iyan.

MR. NIETO. Kung makikita po ninyo, sir, sa baba

GMANetwork.com iyong nakasulat. So mayroon pong balita iyong GMA

noon about that picture so kinuha ko lang iyong screenshot and then I

shared it on my page.

SEN. TRILLANES. Walang ganyan na screenshot iyong GMA

News.

MR. NIETO. I will double check—sandali lang po.

SEN. TRILLANES. Well, anyway, ganito iyan--

MR. NIETO. Sir, ganito po. I will check on that at kung sakali

pong wala nga po talagang screenshot kasi I cannot just confirm it

right now, I will issue an erratum if it is incorrect.

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SEN. TRILLANES. Well, anyway, we have already verified that

information and nag-file na ako ng case kay Ms. Uson. And being a

public official--are you a public official?

MR. NIETO. No, sir, I’m just a consultant for Civil Service

Commission ruling po. Wala pong employer-employee relationship

ang—

SEN. TRILLANES. I know how it works, Mr. Nieto.

MR. NIETO. All right.

SEN. TRILLANES. Pero knowing now na fake iyang mga

nilabas ni Mr. Duterte, how do you feel about that post now?

MR. NIETO. Again, I will stand by my statement na I will verify

it again and see if your claim holds ground. And if yes, I will issue an

erratum and if not, I will let it stay there.

SEN. TRILLANES. Okay, next one please.

So ito iyong ginawa mo diyan. Iyan, how do you feel about that?

MR. NIETO. So, basically, sir, I reported—well, it’s essentially

a report of what Krizette Chu said. So, basically, sir, if what Krizette

Chu claimed is wrong, then the accountability is, you know, the buck

stops at Krizette Chu. In the same way that when mainstream media

reports about what some senators said and it turns out to be wrong,

that mainstream media outlet will not be held accountable for what

that senator said.

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SEN. TRILLANES. Well, in hindsight, ang pinag-uusapan natin

ngayon a lot of things have happened after that--alam ninyo, Mr.

Nieto, as mentioned by the Chairman, being an influencer, maraming

sumusunod sa inyo. Ngayon, it’s up to you now whether you want to

be a good or bad influence to the people following you. I am sure

lahat tayo pinalaki nang maayos ng magulang natin. You know what is

right and what is wrong. And later on I will be addressing this to the

PCOO. What makes you different is you are with government,

regardless the status of your employment relationship with DFA, still

andodoon ka officially. So along with that comes responsibility. May

ibang standard. You are not an ordinary blogger anymore. Iyon ang

difference mo. When you were still ThinkingPinoy that has no

connection with the government, you are free to do that. But you are

with government now, hindi ba? So nire-represent mo iyong principal

ninyo which is ultimately Mr. Duterte. So iyon ang sinasabi ko.

MR. NIETO. With all due respect, Mr. Senator, I respect your

opinions but at this point I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Should there be any law that I broke, then please site it, if there is

none legislate one and then I’ll follow the law. Other than that, sir, I

have to respect for the disagreement.

Thank you.

SEN. TRILLANES. Yes. I’m just saying na what makes you

different because you are with government, iyon iyan. You can’t be

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lumped together with the other bloggers kasi they are ordinary

citizens. So there’s that difference.

Anyway, next slide please.

So iyan may mga ganyang ano ka—post na sinabi mo, basically,

iyong naka-link doon, cocoygate ano—parang you are implying na dati

gusto ko kayong patawag, ngayon hindi ko na kayo pinapatawag. So

that’s not accurate at all. And iyon na nga--

MR. NIETO. Sir, just to clarify. Your name was never

mentioned there and the picture--

SEN. TRILLANES. Yes, but tingnan mo iyong picture ko … /rjo

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SEN. TRILLANES. … tingnan mo iyong picture ko.

MR. NIETO. Well, that is how you—In fairness, sir, maganda

naman iyong post mo diyan, hindi ba?

But with all due respect, Mr. Senator, ginamit ko iyong picture

mo diyan po dahil kayo iyong nag-file ng resolution.

SEN. TRILLANES. Precisely, and that’s why I am here.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

SEN. TRILLANES. And ako ang nag-request dito dahil sabi ko

nga, lahat tayo biktima rito and it’s getting bad.

MR. NIETO. Opo.

SEN. TRILLANES. Alam ninyo, probably, ako siguro iyong most

bashed na Pilipino ngayon. Pero, sa akin, what I do is I ignore them.

Hindi ko binabasa, hindi ba? Pero pagka may nag-overboard, talagang

kakasuhan ko ng cybercrime, libel. And I also agree with Senator

Sotto, aboveboard din iyon. Kumbaga, it went beyond the limits of

toleration. So hindi rin namin tino-tolerate. Hindi komo pro or anti-

Duterte kung sino, pero pag mali, mali. Kumbaga, it goes for

everyone.

Itong sinasabi mo rito, while hindi mo nga isinulat iyong

pangalan ko, pero iyong mensahe mo is basically, ako iyan, hindi ba?

MR. NIETO. Mr. Senator, with all due respect, how you interpret

what’s shown in front of you is not really my problem. But if you think

that I committed libel against you—

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SEN. TRILLANES. No, no. It’s not my problem at all. In fact,

hindi ko nga binasa iyan, ngayon lang inilabas iyan noong staff ko. So

ngayon ko lang ina-address iyon sa iyo.

MR. NIETO. Yes, sir. But, respectfully, if you feel that I’ve

committed libel against you, I respect your option to sue me.

SEN. TRILLANES. Ang sinasabi ko rito is the intention to

deceive.

MR. NIETO. Sir, wala namang …

SEN. TRILLANES. Iba kasi iyong ano ko. Nagva-violate ka ng

batas, iba iyong nagde-deceive ka. Some smart people or those who

actually feel that they are smart tend to skirt around the law but the

end result is the same, they’re deceiving people.

Anyway, moving to the next slide.

Ito. What’s this? Ano iyong iniisip mo diyan?

MR. NIETO. Sir, si Mike ang nag-post niyan. Siya ang tanungin

ninyo, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. Hindi. You allowed yourself to be

photographed.

MR. NIETO. Yes.

SEN. TRILLANES. Ano iyan? What’s the name of your

companion?

MR. LOPEZ (MIKE). [Off-mike] Mike.

MR. NIETO. Hindi ko po siya companion, kaibigan ko lang, sir.

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SEN. TRILLANES. Anyway, ano’ng iniisip niyo diyan? What’s

that for? Please.

MR. LOPEZ (MIKE). Good afternoon.

SEN. TRILLANES. Ano’ng purpose mo noong pinost mo iyan?

MR. LOPEZ (MIKE). It’s open to interpretation, Senator

Trillanes.

SEN. TRILLANES. Then tell me your interpretation, please.

MR. LOPEZ (MIKE). That’s my own post and I don’t have to

tell you how it should be interpreted.

SEN. TRILLANES. Ayun pala.

MR. LOPEZ (MIKE). So it’s up to you because I never said

anything there that demeans Senator de Lima.

SEN. TRILLANES. Precisely. Okay. Iyan iyong sinasabi ninyo.

Ngayon, sa akin dito, parang it’s a sick joke, hindi ba? Natutuwa

kayo, nagdidiwang kayo doon sa isang taong nakakulong. Unjustly

huh. Let me just stress, unjustly. So that’s the kind of mindset that

you have. Iyon ang sinasabi ko na huwag tayong ganyan, hindi ba?

Alam ninyo, sabi ko—ako, nakulong ako and hindi magandang

experience iyon. I wouldn’t wish that to anyone. Pero ito, nagdidiwang

kayo. That’s my point dito, hindi ba? Hindi necessary iyan. You can

speak your mind out, you can promote Duterte, defend Duterte and

explain his policies pero those things are not necessary. That’s just

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my point. Okay. Anyway, I have addressed my concerns sa inyo.

Alam ninyo ultimately what’s right and what’s wrong.

For that matter, just going back to that photo kay Senator de

Lima. Would you, at least, apologize to the senator for that?

MR. NIETO. No, sir, masaya po kaming naka-detain siya.

SEN. TRILLANES. Masaya kayo?

MR. NIETO. Opo and I’m entitled to my own political opinion.

SEN. TRILLANES. Yes. You are entitled to your own sick

opinion. Okay. I’m done with you.

MR. NIETO. And I respect your opinion, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. I’m done with you.

Let’s now move to Ms. Mocha Uson.

So I want you to look at that. So, ito, hindi ba kanina na-raise

na iyan? Ano’ng naiisip mo diyan? Saan mo kinuha iyang picture na

iyan?

MS. USON. Shinare (share) ko po iyan mula sa isang Facebook

page po, Senator.

SEN. TRILLANES. Hindi. Pinost (post) mo talaga, hindi ba?

MS. USON. Share lang po, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. Okay. So shinare (share) mo iyan?

MS. USON. Yes, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. Ngayon, ikaw, are you aware that you’re a

senior government official?

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MS. USON. Yes, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. That you’re not an ordinary blogger

anymore?

MS. USON. Yes, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. Mayroon ka bang filter? Mayroon ka bang

nagre-review noong mga pino-post mo or you just—

MS. USON. Ako lang po, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. Ikaw lang.

MS. USON. Wala pong nagre-review.

SEN. TRILLANES. So walang nagve-vet noong mga veracity

noong mga pino-post mo?

MS. USON. Ano lang po naman iyan, personal opinion ko lang,

sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. Iyon na nga. Ang sinasabi ko rito, wala ka

nang personal na opinion being a public official na nandidiyan sa

PCOO. Iyon ang difference natin. Iyong ibang mga officials of

government, puwede, kaso ikaw—What’s the official title?

MS. USON. Assistant secretary for social media.

SEN. TRILLANES. For social media. Iyan iyong trabaho mo,

hindi ba? Mayroon bang dividing line as far as you are concerned?

MS. USON. Madam Chair, hindi po ako aware na wala na palang

karapatang ipahayag ang sarili kapag ika’y government official na.

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SEN. TRILLANES. No. Sabi ko nga, hindi ka ordinary

government official. Senior government official ka na diyan mismo sa

PCOO, assistant secretary for social media, hindi ba?

MS. USON. Yes, senator.

SEN. TRILLANES. Yes.

MS. USON. Madam Chair, sa tingin ko po, kung si Senator

Trillanes may karapatan ding ipahayag ang kanyang sarili, siguro ako

rin po may karapatang ipahayag ang aking sarili. Freedom of

expression, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. Elected official kami. Supposed to be

kinakatawan namin iyong mamamayan, whether minority iyan or

majority. Iyon iyong aming trabaho. Pero ikaw ang trabaho mo is to

draw the line, the official line of the government. Maliwanag ba iyon

sa inyo, Usec? Or hindi ninyo sinasabihan iyong mga tao ninyo? I’m

talking about PCOO per se.

MR. EGCO. All right.

Thank you, Madam Chair and Your Honor.

I think it had been discussed before between our Secretary

Andanar and Asec Mocha with regard to her blog post. But from what

I understand and from my own point of view, for as long as she is not

using government portal in her blog, which she has been doing ever

since, even before she joined government, I think iyon po iyon. Iyon

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iyong sinasabi niya na she’s expressing just her own personal opinion

and all that.

SEN. TRILLANES. So how do you separate it?

MR. EGCO. Yes. Mr. Chair, Your Honor, iyon po iyong kanina pa

natin dini-discuss, even this morning, iyong how to separate nga those

two.

SEN. TRILLANES. Well, sa akin, as PCOO, you don’t have any

separate opinion. Parang, kunyari, Supreme Court justice. They cannot

just say anything. They need to be prudent in their pronouncements

because of the nature of their job.

MR. EGCO. Yes.

SEN. TRILLANES. Ngayon, ang nature ng job ninyo is to

communicate the official line of government, right?

MR. EGCO. Yes, Your Honor. And in the context again of Asec

Mocha’s blog, I’d rather not say that I defend her but I would rather

say that I defend her resolve to express her right under Article III,

Section 4 of the Constitution, come hell or high water. And I’m saying

that in the point of view as a former newsman.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Sir, for example, you have another

employee, who says something—utter something against the

administration. You will also do the same tolerance?

MR. EGCO. I’m sorry, ma’am.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. Hindi kasi expressing your personal

views, there will come a time when, perhaps, an employee of yours in

the government will express his or her opinion against the

administration.

MR. EGCO. It’s happening actually.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So you will also tolerate that.

MR. EGCO. Actually, it’s happening now, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay.

MR. EGCO. It’s happening now, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. It’s just clear … /cda

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THE CHAIRPERSON. ... It's just clear what’s your position.

SEN. TRILLANES. Sa akin, sinasabi ko lang ito, Madam Chair,

dahil iyong mga sundalo, nai-imagine ko, adopting that line na puwede

silang freely mag-express. Anong itsura noon, hindi ba?

MR. EGCO. Mr. Chairman, they are under separate and distinct

military law.

SEN. TRILLANES. Precisely, precisely. Kayo, PCOO kayo. Kayo

ang nagko-communicate ng official line of the government. There is no

line. Isa iyan. If you don’t know that yet, then let me educate iyon na

ganoon iyan. As far as kayo—ngayon, kung lumipat ka sa ibang branch

of government, puwede iyan. Branch of the executive, puwede iyan.

Or any agency in the executive branch, you can express it. Pero kung

sundalo ka, ganoon iyon, mayroong mga limitations. Kung PCOO ka,

mayroong limitations iyan. So maliwanag ba iyon sa inyo?

MR. EGCO. Well, iyong blogging naman, Mr. Chairman, is a

process of distributing information. Although ang kanya nga lang hindi

official.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Siguro tanungin natin ang mga head ng

media companies.

Si Mr. Alampay. Sir, kunyari kayo, mayroon kayong personal

views. So you have your own Facebook account, I suppose. So would

you protect that that you are the head, the editor in chief of

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Interaksyon but you have your own opinion? Is this something that

should be allowed?

MR. ALAMPAY. Yes, ma’am, we do. That’s our policy right

now. We let our people have their personal space and then we have

our official space as Interaksyon.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. But this is in the private sector?

MR. ALAMPAY. Yes.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Of course, it’s different in the

government sector. But I just wanted your opinion on that.

How about you, ma’am?

MS. TORDESILLAS. [Off-mike] May mga companies na pagka—

Well, you can have your blog. You can blog about your cat. You can

blog about your dog. Hindi ba, ganoon? But when it comes to—like sa

amin sa VERA Files, if you have already made a stand, dapat iyon ang

sundin ng—you cannot blog about a stand that is different from that of

the company. But by all means, you can express if you want to cheer

about—pag mag-boxing si Manny Pacquiao, mag-cheer ka, okay lang

iyan kasi hindi naman iyon stand ng VERA Files. Hindi ba, ganoon?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay.

MS. TORDESILLAS. I mean, kahit iba tayo ng side na ganoon.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Kung ganoon iyong inyong principle

behind it, tama iyong ginagawa niya because she’s supporting what

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the President says. But I’m not saying that it’s right in my opinion.

Okay. Because I really think there has to be certain sacrifices done.

MS. TORDESILLAS. Yeah. That means, okay lang kay

Presidente na Honduras ang pictures na nilagay niya doon?

THE CHAIRPERSON. Well, of course, it’s not damaging to him.

So I don’t’ think he really minds.

I’m not saying I agree, ma’am. What I’m just saying is—In fact,

my position is you have to let go of your personal opinions now when

you’re PCOO because that’s information central. Iyon lang iyong sa

akin. Of course, there’s no law against it now. So it’s really your

policy.

MR. ALAMPAY. Ma’am, just to add a bit.

That’s our policy and as you noted, we’re in the private sector, I

do think it’s different for the public sector.

THE CHAIRPERSON. So in your own opinion, you think that a

government official from the communications office should have

his/her own blog?

MR. ALAMPAY. I think it’s untenable. I’m not drawing a moral

line on it. I’m just saying it’s hard to distinguish for the public when a

public official particularly in the communications office is putting on a

private hat or a public servant’s hat.

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THE CHAIRPERSON. I think you said the keyword there,

“untenable” because it will be hard to distinguish. That’s the thing. So

I think certain sacrifices should be made if some of us take a pay cut

by joining the public sector. Others will have to take a verbal cut. I

don’t know. Opinion cut. I mean, there’s something that we need to

let go.

MS. TORDESILLAS. [Off-mike]...Sabi ko kanina, dapat talaga

if you have to have a legislation, kasama iyong personal blogs ng

officials, dapat ita-touch niyo iyon sa legislation.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Well, anyway, but I think, Mr. Alampay,

you hit it right on the bull’s-eye. It’s very untenable.

MR. ALAMPAY. Yes.

MR. TORDECILLA. Madam Chair, just to add to Mr. Alampay’s

point, from GMA.

There’s also the question of which resources you’re using for—

because for GMA, we have our institutional accounts and then we have

our reporters accounts. But usually, we send out our reporters to

coverage and the materials they produce belong to the network.

So in this case, I think it should be made clear if the assistant

secretary posts a video on her blog, who paid for her trip? For

example, to Marawi, was that government that paid for that trip? And

if so, is that part of her official function? Because why would she be

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broadcasting government activities on her own blog instead of on the

official government blog.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. I understand what you mean.

Yes. But that’s her job, I mean, as PCOO.

MR. TORDECILLA. Yes, ma’am.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Again, the untenability of it nag-cross

doon sa personal blog kasi it’s entertaining, hindi ba? People like to

see it. But, again, we need to be careful and maybe that also has

legislation.

I’m sorry.

SEN. TRILLANES. I’ll just finish, Madam Chair.

Okay. Anyway, ito iyong post mo that got you in trouble.

Anyway, finayl (file) ko na iyong case diyan. At gusto nating mag-set

ng higher standards. Dapat alam mo what you can or cannot do.

Next slide, please. Okay. Ito. Can you explain about this? Iyan.

Anong nangyari diyan?

Ito iyong pinost (post) mo, nananawagan ka na sana bisitahin

din iyong pulis na namatay doon sa drug bust, nananawagan ka sa

amin. The problem with that is, iyon pala, last year pa namatay, iyong

pulis. So iyon ngayon. Anong nangyari diyan?

MS. USON. Bale, Madam Chair, alam ko naman pong nangyari

iyan two years ago. Ang pino-point out ko lang po diyan ay kung

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kailan bibisita iyong mga nakasaad doon na mga tao sa mga ganito

pong mga namamatay na kapulisan.

SEN. TRILLANES. So are you sure that’s what you actually

meant?

Nakalagay kasi, “Kailan niyo dadalawin?” Meaning, puwede pa

silang puntahan.

MS. USON. Actually, Madam Chair, hindi man po maayos iyong

interpretasyon ko pero iyon po iyong ibig ko lamang sabihin.

SEN. TRILLANES. Bakit hindi na lang umamin, iyon nga, na

nagkamali, hindi ba? “Na nagkamali ako,” so ganoon talaga iyon.

Kaya nga ang sinasabi ko rito, iyong mga post na ganyan, hindi ka

sasabit if you have, at least, a friend or another staff na padaanan mo

lang bago mo i-up, hindi ba? Kasi nga iba iyong standard mo. And

ako—talagang maraming followers ka, ano, maraming humahanga sa

iyo at pinanghahawakan nila iyong salita mo. And we don’t want you

to get burned also pagka—if you get burned enough ay wala nang

maniniwala sa inyo niyan, hindi ba? So that is my suggestion. And sa

akin nga, ano, siguro puwede kang mag-maintain ng blog, as

mentioned by Ma’am Ellen, but don’t touch the subjects na

magkakaroon ng—or that would touch on the policies of your work,

hindi ba? Ngayon, you have to decide kung gagamitin mo iyong blog

na iyon, as I mentioned, to promote Duterte, defend Duterte or explain

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his policies, by all means gamitin mo. Pero ang ayaw natin dito is

gagamitin mo iyong medium na iyan to spread this information tapos

may deniability na hindi iyan government kasi personal mo. Ayoko ng

ganoon. If ano iyan, pagka Mocha Uson blog ang nagsalita, since part

siya ng PCOO as a senior official, then it is part of the apparatus of

dissemination of PCOO. Wala namang problema doon.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Actually, Senator Trillanes, somebody

called my attention to this.

There’s somebody, an employee, si Ms. Anderson ng Customs,

hindi ba, kaya nag-umpisa nga iyong gulo niya because she tweeted or

she had a comment against the Speaker. So apparently, we don’t take

it very lightly when we’re in government to be criticized by somebody

also from government. But, of course, we shouldn’t stop that. But

particularly for PCOO lang, kasi nga information coming from you is

deemed official. This is where we need to do a study ... /cmn

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THE CHAIRPERSON. … where we need to do a study on the

matter. We have a few minutes left, then we have our session but

Senator Trillanes will wrap up and then we have Senator Pacquiao.

SEN. TRILLANES. Maraming salamat, Madam Chairman.

And finally itong kay—anyway, ito iyan, noong campaign, hindi

ba? A part noong in-spread mo. Ito pala ay galing sa Brazil na

namatay. So, okay, noong campaign iyan.

Sige, next. So, ito naman ang kay—

MS. USON. Sorry po, Madam Chair. Iyong tungkol po doon sa

Brazil, shinare (share) ko iyon at hindi ko sinabi na sa Pilipinas

nangyari iyon. I just shared the sentiment doon po kay Peter Tiu

Lavina na nakakalungkot po na nangyayari iyong mga ganitong bagay

sa Pilipinas.

SEN. TRILLANES. So, pinalagpas ko na nga para ano—

MS. USON. Sinasabi ko lang, sir. Wala naman po akong

intensiyon na i-mislead, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. Okay, sige. Okay.

MS. USON. Sir, puwede pong mag-comment lang po isa?

Madam Chair, puwede po?

Kasi po kanina nagbabasa po kayo ng mga tweets, may

binabalita daw na soft kayo sa amin, gusto ko lang pong i-call out

itong News 5. Nagpalabas sila ng fake news laban po sa akin. Sabi

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niya, “Sinabi ni Asec Mocha Uson na kaya siya madalas ma-bash sa

social media ay dahil sa kagagawan ng mainstream media. Madalas

daw kasing magpakalat ng maling balita at pinalalaki nito ang mga

bagay na hindi naman dapat kaugnay sa kanyang mga pinost (post).”

Hindi ko naman sinabing madalas po akong ma-bash dahil sa

kagagawan ng mainstream media. Ito po iyong topic kanina na iyong

dalawang fake news na ibinalita. Pero hindi ko po sinabing lagi akong

bina-bash dahil sa mainstream media.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. Noted.

SEN. TRILLANES. Okay, next slide. Ito naman, dito mismo

kay Secretary Andanar. Ito, iyan iyong kinalat niya. Media offered

$1,000 to cover Lascañas press conference. Ano, anong palagay

natin? Anong defense natin diyan?

MS. USON. Kay Rappler siya?

SEN. TRILLANES. No, no, no. But the information, we are not

talking about fake news being peddled but we are talking about the

fake information peddled that was captured by the mainstream news.

MS. BANAAG. Yes, sir. Senator, I think that was already

answered by the secretary, no less than the secretary then. Ang

nasabi po ng secretary noong time ng interview was, “May naparating

sa akin.” Which means, hindi niya sinasabi po na totoo na may

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binigay sa kanila at may nanghingi or may nag-accept ng kung

anuman po iyon. Iyon po ang nasabi niya sa transcript ng kanyang

interview.

SEN. TRILLANES. So, puwedeng gawin iyan? Tell me. So,

given the opportunity to do that again, will you do that again or will

you recommend to your secretary to do that again?

MS. BANAAG. Sir, what I am only trying to say here, sir, and

what I am trying to explain here, sir, is that this is what the secretary

has said.

SEN. TRILLANES. But I am asking you, para lang ma-

determine iyong decision-making processes ng PCOO, if given the

same opportunity at tinanong ka ni Secretary Andanar, “Puwede ko

bang sabihin ito?” Would you recommend that, Asec?

MS. BANAAG. Sir, if the secretary would say na it is proper for

him to say so, then—

SEN. TRILLANES. I am asking you, is that proper? Puwede mo

bang sabihin iyan sa media na unverified information, sasabihin mo,

and then undeniably, “Hindi, may natanggap lang naman ako.” Alam

mo ang itsura ng mga media reporters dito na nag-cover, dito pag

nagpatawag iyong senador ng press conference, pupunta sila. Hindi

sila kailangang bayarang pumunta dahil iyan iyong trabaho nila. Dito,

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wala naman tayong binayaran, nagko-cover sila. So, na-imagine mo

how unfair that statement was? So, is it proper?

MS. BANAAG. Sir, I am not to judge whether it is proper or

not. What I am trying to say is—

SEN. TRILLANES. No. I am asking you. Is that proper? I am

asking you as a person, as Asec Banaag.

MS. BANAAG. Yes, sir. What the secretary said during that

time—

SEN. TRILLANES. You are not addressing the question.

MS. BANAAG. Okay, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. Please respond to the question.

MS. BANAAG. Okay, sir. I am trying my best to respond to the

question, Your Honor.

SEN. TRILLANES. It can be answered.

MS. BANAAG. Yes, sir. The answer is, sometimes people, even

officials, say unverified statements sometimes.

SEN. TRILLANES. Yes. Pero nga ang difference nga natin

PCOO kayo at nasa gobyerno kayo. Nasa administrasyon kayo, hindi

ba?

MS. BANAAG. Yes, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. You have all the resources to verify

information. Ayaw natin noong recklessness ...

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MS. BANAAG. We understand that, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. … na kakalat dito.

MS. BANAAG. Yes, sir.

SEN. TRILLANES. Okay. So, can you apologize in behalf of

Secretary Andanar for that malicious statement, Usec Egco.

MS. EGCO. An apology, Your Honor, is for

Secretary Andanar to do if he wanted to, if ever. But if you are going

to address to me the same question that you addressed to Asec

Banaag, then I would defer to whatever information the Secretary

had that time. It’s like, if I were in that position and somebody gave

me an information that—I used to cover the Senate also. So, if

somebody gave me an information pertaining to whatever that is,

maybe I would say the same. So, siguro po ang kuwan diyan is,

kung ako ay nandoon that time and he would ask me, “Kailangan ko

bang sabihin ito?” Ang tanong ko lang doon ay, “May nagsabi ba sa

iyo, Boss? Sino ang nagsabi? Verified ba iyan?” Kasi iyon po ang

dapat nating malaman, that’s why we are here to determine nga. But

kung sabihin niya na, “Yes, may ganitong informant.” Go ahead. So

ganoon po.

SEN. TRILLANES. You need to qualify. Kasi nga sinasabi ko

ang difference, kino-compare ninyo, kunyari sa senador. Iyong

senador, talagang ano iyan, we are elected officials, we are

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answerable to our constituents. Pag nagpe-peddle kami nang nagpe-

peddle ng wrong information, we will be made to account for those

actions sa next elections. Ngayon kayo, kayo ang talking heads ng

Presidente. Dapat naglalabas kayo katotohanan lamang, validated

information. Ngayon, if may ganyang information sa inyo, you can

stress it that these are unverified information.

MR. EGCO. Yes.

SEN. TRILLANES. Pero sabi ko nga, “Ito oh, ayan na, inilabas

na.” Hindi ba?

MR. EGCO. Yes. And, Madam Chair, Your Honor, I think after

that incident, the Senate media itself, the members of the Senate

media themselves came out with a statement denying the—so,

nagself-check naman po iyong issue.

SEN. TRILLANES. Okay. Anyway, I’ll end my turn, Madam

Chairman, by addressing this to Ms. Mocha Uson.

Ako, ito lang ang suggestion ko sa iyo. You have a strong

influence sa public, gamitin mo iyan in a positive way, be a good

influence to those following you. You can promote, again, promote,

defend and explain—explain ninyo iyong mga polisiya. That way

magiging iba iyong ano—hindi hateful na iyong cyberspace natin.

Dahil sa inyo iyan. Pagka nag-promote kayo ng hate, susunod sila,

magiging hateful sila, hindi ba?

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So, iyon lang naman, Madam Chair. Thank you.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Thank you, Senator Trillanes.

Asec Mocha, very short response.

MS. USON. Yes, I would just like to respond to Senator Trillanes.

I am going to consider all his suggestions para sa approach ko sa

pagba-blog. At kung naiwan ko nga po iyong propesyon ko sa

entertainment, iyong pagsasayaw ko para manilbihan sa bayan, I will

consider iyong suggestion po sa approach ko sa pagba-blog kung

makakabuti ito para sa bayan.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

THE CHAIRPERSON. It’s Senator Manny Pacquaio’s turn.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you, Madam Chair.

My question is to Nieto of ThinkingPinoy.com.

MR. NIETO. Yes, sir.

SEN. PACQUAIO. In your research, sabi ninyo dito ay

maraming blog site na mine-maintain itong si Cocoy Dayao? Totoo ba

ito?

MR. NIETO. Opo. Madami po.

Hindi po mine-maintain, pero siya iyong webmaster. So,

pinakamaganda, sir, tanungin natin si Cocoy kung ano iyong exact role

niya roon sa mga websites.

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SEN. PACQUAIO. Siya ang webmaster? Paano ninyo po nako-

confirm ito?

MR. NIETO. Kasi, sir, pag ikaw iyong may-ari Google AdSense

account, para po malagyan ninyo ng advertisements iyong mga

websites, kailangan makuha ninyo iyong source code noong mga

advertisement at i-insert iyon doon sa mismong website. So,

kailangan mo ng administrator access. So far po, ang ebidensiya po

ay nagsa-suggest na si Ginoong Dayao po iyong may hawak noon.

Pero siyempre, kailangan pa po nating linawin iyan sa pamamagitan ng

pagtatanong mismo kay Mr. Dayao.

SEN. PACQUAIO. Isa sa mga web sites na ito ay iyong We

wesupportbamaquino.com…/admasicap

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SEN. PACQUIAO. … iyong wesupportbamaquino.com, tama

ba?

MR. NIETO. Yes, tama po. Opo.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Iyon iyong mina-manage niya?

MR. NIETO. Opo.

SEN. PACQUIAO. I just want to confirm that. Na-confirm

ninyo na itong si Cocoy Dayao ay involved sa dating Aquino

administration, hindi ba?

MR. NIETO. Opo. Nagtatrabaho po siya dati bilang consultant

ng PCOO ng Aquino administration po.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Paano ninyo na-confirm iyan?

MR. NIETO. Ipinagyayabang niya sa LinkedIn niya, sir, sa sarili

niyang personal profile sa LinkedIn.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Ang tanong ko, sa website na gaya ng

WeSupportBamAquino, maaari ba kayong gumawa ng website na

walang permission sa may pangalan o kailangan may permission?

MR. NIETO. Well, in theory po pwede po akong gumawa.

Halimbawa, WeSupportSenatorTrillanes, ganoon, pero siyempre

subject po iyon kung—pero siyempre fake site na iyon. Pero, in

theory, pwede po akong gumawa ng ganoong website.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Pag walang paalam?

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MR. NIETO. Nandoon na po sa aggrieved party iyon kung

magde-decide—

SEN. PACQUIAO. Fake na iyon, hindi na totoo iyon. Tama ba?

MR. NIETO. Pwede po, pwede pong ganoon.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Okay. Sa paggawa ng mga ganyan, hindi

kailangang ipaalam sa—kung halimbawa, Manny Pacquiao website,

hindi kailangang ipaalam sa akin para gumawa ng Manny Pacquiao

website?

MR. NIETO. Sir, una po, hindi ako abogado so hindi po ako

qualified sumagot noon. Pero kung ang tanong ay kung kaya kong

gumawa noon, opo, kaya kong gumawa pero hindi ko alam kung legal

o hindi. So abogado na lang po siguro iyong sasagot.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Okay. Sa paggawa ng website, siyempre,

may gastos ba ito o wala?

MR. NIETO. Madalas po mayroon pero normally po minimal na

amount lang. Pero iyong pagbi-build ng content noong website at

pagmi-maintain noon, iyon po iyong magastos.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Magkano sa estimate mo ang gastos sa pag-

maintain ng website?

MR. NIETO. Ngayon po, if I will start a website, it will just cost

me maybe P2,000, even less, kung kukuha ako ng free hosting.

SEN. PACQUIAO. A day?

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MR. NIETO. No. Iyong 2,000 po, iyon na iyon forever. Pero

po kung gusto ko ng madaming content at depende sa quality ng

content, doon po nagmamahal iyon. Kasi, siyempre, you have to do

field work, may mga babayarang subscription na mga extra services,

ganoon po.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Kumikita rin ba itong mga website na ito?

Pagka nag-open ka, kumikita rin?

MR. NIETO. Pag nag-open ka lang ng website o ng social

media account, wala pong kita. Kailangan mag-insert ka ng

advertisements o humanap ka ng mas creative na monetization

methods. So minsan po, halimbawa, kung ako po ay mayroong isang

anti-another party na website, pupwede po akong—mayroon po kasi

akong mga—hindi ko na lang papangalanan kasi gugulo pa, pero

mayroon pong mga tumatanggap ng suhol para magsulat laban sa

isang tao. Iyong mga ganoon po na mga modus operandi, pero iyong

mga aboveboard, normally, sir, una, monetization po via Google Ads,

iyong kamukha ng ginawa ni Cocoy; (2) pupwede rin po iyong mga

native contents, so magsusulat ng article about a certain product pero,

in reality, pinu-promote pala iyong product na iyon. Tapos po, marami

pa pong ibang paraan. Ganoon po.

SEN. PACQUIAO. In your research, you mentioned iyong

domain privacy protection.

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MR. NIETO. Opo.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Can you explain to this—?

MR. NIETO. Ganito po kasi, sir. Pag, halimbawa, mayroong

isang website, sabihin nating silentnomoreph.com. Pag ginamit niyo

po iyong Who Is Lookup na tool, lilitaw po doon iyong pangalan ng

kung sino iyong may-ari noon. Pero mayroon po kayong

option na magbayad ng around $10 a year para sa domain privacy

services so that—

SEN. PACQUIAO. Magkano, magkano?

MR. NIETO. Mga $10 a year lang po.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Ten dollars a year?

MR. NIETO. Mga P500 a year.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Para magtago ka?

MR. NIETO. Para itago iyong registrant information.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Okay.

MR. NIETO. Okay.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Okay. I still have a lot of questions but we

lack time, so that’s it. We’ll have another one na lang next hearing.

MR. NIETO. Sige po, sir.

SEN. PACQUIAO. Thank you. Thank you.

THE CHAIRPERSON. Okay. Before I suspend our hearing, just

a few points.

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To summarize, with the advent of the Internet, mobile

technology and social media, news travels faster and wider by simply

copying, pasting and sending to all.

Kung gigising ka ng alas-kwatro ng madaling araw upang

makarating sa opisina ng alas-otso, at alas-nuebe na ng gabi nasa

kalsada ka pa, pawis, gutom, inaantok sa isang bus na hindi

gumagalaw sa traffic or ang MRT na nasisira, ang konswelo mo lang ay

may “Free WiFi on Board,” wala ka na sigurong gagawin kundi ilabas

ang iyong sama ng loob. It’s a reflection of what people feel now.

People are outraged because of their situation. And they express it

through social media.

So now we are saying, “Yes, you can express yourself but be

accountable.”

Fake news has preyed on the desperate, deceived the gullible,

and swindled the naïve.

The combination of automation and propaganda, also called

computational propaganda, allegedly has transformed, if not

destroyed, political debates.

Napakahaba pa nitong aking dapat sanang ibibigay pero kapag

tumatanggap ka ng sahod mula sa pera ng taongbayan, hindi ka na

naiiba sa ibang government officials and employees and, therefore,

should be more circumspect and should, therefore, exercise prudence

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in sharing articles that instigate division among the populace. You are

bound by the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials

and Employees, or R.A. 6713.

But it’s not just about being proprietary or following the law. We

should remember how much influence we have in our fingertips in our

hands na talagang pinapanood kayo, kinokopya kayo. Ang mga bata

ngayon, Asec Mocha, mga 10 years old, eight years old, five years old,

gusto nila sexy sila.

Dati, gusto lang nilang maglaro. Pero nakikita—they are

emulating what adults are doing now. And I always say, “I don’t care

what you write as long as it’s not pornographic, it does not incite

rebellion or sedition and it’s not libelous.” Iyong lang iyong tatlo.

Then, otherwise, you could already. But we have to make certain

sacrifices also if we are government officials. And as I have said, not

only am I being bashed by the yellows, I am also being bashed by the

reds because I’m neither here nor there, right? But I would like to

assure you that I would protect your rights, at least, in this hearing.

And so I cannot, even if I want to, because I know that you’re all very

busy, I would like to thank you for being here today. But I’m sorry to

say that I cannot adjourn this hearing. I will have to suspend it

because one of the key persons that was mentioned, Mr. Dayao, is not

present here today and I would like to give him a chance to also, either

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defend himself or to dispute what we have to say. So dapat maging

mapagmatyag ang publiko, lalo na ang mga kabataan na laman ng

social media sa kanilang nababasa at ibinabahagi sa kanilang followers

at friends.

Thus, we will consider the creation of a new government institute

to check the integrity of government information and police the

accuracy of information, if we think it is tenable. Kasi we don’t want

again to add that bureaucracy unless we really need it. But Mr.

Alampay said it, things can get very untenable. That’s why we have to

make certain choices and sacrifices. And even if they say—in fact,

there are different tweets and texts to me and they are saying, “Why

are people complaining? The other media or online is there to check

mainstream. Mainstream has been accused of being slanted and this

is the chance of people to air out their views.”

I agree, but then there should also accountability on the part of

bloggers and our online writers. And let us not also forget the sacrifice

of legitimate, I wouldn’t say legitimate, but mainstream journalists

that have to be accountable and that have to really collect materials.

Iyon nga, may isang nag-text sa akin from GMA 7, “Alam mo ba

napakahaba ng proseso para lang mag-produce ng isang show? Hindi

lang telepono ang kailangan. Ipapa-approve mo pa ito, kailangan

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talaga na balanse ang lahat.” So, at least, we are there now to check

each other.

Dati, before President Duterte, pag ang media nagsalita, parang

ito na, hindi ba? Pero lumabas kayo and all of a sudden you’re

checking mainstream media. Mainstream media and you are checking

us. And we are checking the government, hindi ba? So it’s a cycle but

we just have to fix the imperfections as best we can.

So, in that, I think that there is one thing agreed upon in this

hearing, it is this: Misinformation should not have a place in today’s

democratic society, if we can prevent it. Speech, as long as it is not

libelous, seditious or does not incite violence, should not be curtailed

or inhibited. I’ll be the first one to speak against that. Therefore,

think before you click.

Maraming salamat po.

[THE HEARING WAS SUSPENDED AT 3:13 P.M.] /meln

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