Friday, August 14, 2020

TAO PO! ITINULAK SA BANGIN (Ni Bobot Fradejas)

 



MISTULANG itinulak sa bangin si Ricardo Morales, ang kontrobersiyal na CEO ng Philhealth. Imbes na si Duterte o sinuman sa kanyang matapat na alipures ang maging mukha ng korapsyon ng gobyerno ni Rodrigo Duterte, si Morales ang napisil na itulak sa bangin ng kahihiyan. Si Morales ang naging sangkalan ng matinding poot ng sambayanan.

 

Panligaw ng atensyon si Morales. Mabisa siyang panangga (shield) sa mga batikos kontra kay Duterte. Mayroon pa bang mas hihigit sa biglang pagkawala ng P275 bilyones na pondo kontra Covid-19 na ipinagkaloob ng Kongreso sa ilalim ng BAHO Law? Biglang naubos ang pondo ng administrasyon ni Duterte sa pagsugpo ng mapinsalang virus. Hindi maipaliwanag ng maayos ng gobyerno ang biglang pagka-ubos.

 

Ano ba naman ang nawalang P15 bilyones na nawalang pondo kung ihahambing sa P275 bilyones? Malaki ang pagkakaiba, ngunit bilyones pa rin. Masakit pa rin sa tenga ang tunog ng bilyones. May isinulat ang isang netizen na ayaw ipabanggit ang pangalan tungkol sa usapin. Pakibasa:

 

“In the interest of fairness and before I cast publicly my full-blown ire on Gen. Morales re the Philhealth scandal, I tried to gather as much info on the man’s track record. Judging by info I had gathered online, I would have pictured him to be an upright military man who had a personal low key crusade against corruption, particularly within his military environment, so much so that it cost him to be relegated to floating status at the last stage of his military career during GMA’s time. His last assignment as a military man was to manage the pozo negros of th AFP.

 

“Mon Tulfo’s commentary on him once was “would you trust a traitor?”. This was because he once was assigned to be the aide of Imelda, after which he joined the RAM that culminated with the EDSA revolt.

 

“His only connect with Duterte as far as I know prior to his Philhealth appointment in 2019 was that he was from Davao. My suspicion is that since ang laki na ng bahong nagawa ng present government sa Philhealth, they needed to put someone there na pwede nilang ilaglag at ipitin eventually as the mastermind. This way, Dutae goes scott-free. This would explain to me bakit kusang adversarial kuno kay Morales ang mga politico na alyado kay Digong like Bonggo and Sotto. Tipong set-up ang naamoy ko.

 

“Ngayon, they find out that Morales is dealing with cancer, there is a strong chance na he could shift his disposition at ilahad na niya lahat ng napag-alaman niya about Philhealth in order to protect his own legacy. So, namaniobra naman ng gubyerno and he was tricked, persuaded, or threatened na hindi na siya mapa-appear in another public senate hearing. They fear they might be dealing with a loose canon . The buck will stop at Morales.

 

***

 

HINDI pa tapos ang usapin ng Philhealth. Nakakagulat ang muling pagkabuhay ng mga bayarang troll na kumakampi kay Duterte. Pinag-initan si Risa Hontiveros na dating kasama sa board of directors ng Philhealth noong hindi pa siya senadora. Pilit na ibinibintang ang korapsyon bagamat mahigit apat na taon na siyang umalis sa panunungkulan doon.

 

Walang maipakita ang mga troll kundi ang napakaraming meme laban kay Risa. Walang ebidensiya, walang paper trail, at walang wala talaga. Halatang pinagana ang salapi ng sambayanan at bilhin ang mga troll upang umatake kay Hontiveros. May pahayag si Jaye dele Cruz-Bekema, isang abugada:

 

“The past few days have been a tiring, seemingly futile, struggle against the well-oiled machinery desperate to attach Senator Risa to the multi-billion controversy now hounding Philhealth. I’ve seen so many memes, so many posts, especially those coming from that “pa-woke millennial” girl creating content for the funded troll farms.

 

“Of all the posts I’ve seen though, the one below offends me on a deep and personal level. Not just because it’s petty (kayo na ang poreless) and illogical (hello, yung isang photo, asa rally, yung isang photo professional photo shoot, ano ba!??) But because I personally witnessed the event from which that photo on the left was taken. I saw with my two eyes how then Akbayan Rep Risa was forcibly pushed into a police mobile by agents of the state executing PP 1017. You know why she was so angry? Because she was seeing how her other companions were being physically manhandled. You know what she was shouting at that very moment, “Huwag niyo sasaktan mga kasama ko!” She was not thinking of herself, not thinking of the indignity of a sitting Congresswoman hauled off like a common criminal. She was thinking of us, her kasamas. She was worried about us.

 

“That moment you say she is pangit and not makinis? That will always be the most beautiful version of her in my head.

 

“And you know what, Senator Risa has never changed. Empathy will always be her first impulse. Kindness and justice, her first instincts. The same kindness and justice that impelled her to investigate fraudulent cataract procedures during her short time in Philhealth. The same kindness and justice that inform all the work she does in the senate for ordinary Filipinos, for women and girls, for the LGTBTQ community, for victims of the War on Drugs, for the least and the last.

 

“Risa Hontiveros isn’t just a competent Senator, a committed public servant with no corrupt bone in her body. SHE IS A TRULY GOOD PERSON, the kind that is rare in this cynical world. To those who keep sharing and believing those horrible fake news social media posts, you are part of the operation to bring down a person who is truly a force for good in this country.”

 

***

 

KAGULAT-GULAT ang biglang pagkakasakit ni Morales at isa sa kanyang bise presidente. Nakatakda silang humarap sa pagdinig ng Senado ngunit nagpahayag ang dalawang opisyal ng Philhealth na magpahayag na hindi sila makakadalo dahil sa kanilang karamdaman.

 

Sapat na iyon upang umingay ang social media. Sabay-sabay na binatikos ang dalawang opisyal ng panloloko. Maraming netizen ang naglabas ng meme kung saan nakasakay sa wheelchair si Morales. Mas malupit ang ibang meme dahil nasa likod si Francisco Duque na nagtutulak ng wheelchair.

 

“Ang government official na nagigipit, sa wheelchair kumakapit,” ani isang netizen. “Wheelchair ang mabisang panlaban sa mga imbestigasyon,” ayon sa isa. Mayroon isang netizen na hindi nakatiis at nagsabing: “LET’S be blunt about it. The Philippines is a country at war with itself.”

 

Nagtataka si Apple Jam Amin na hindi nagkasakit sina Sonny Trillanes, Leila de Lima, maria Ressa kahit na ibinato na ang lahat ng kaso laban sa kanila. Hindi rin nagkakasakit si Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno kahit illegal nilang tinanggal. Bakit nga ba?

 

***

 

MGA PILING SALITA: “We are only recording the COVID fatalities – and the number is still rising. But we are losing count of all the others. Should we stop counting, then?” – Inday Espina Varona

 

“Hospitals are turning away COVID patients left and right because they’re already overwhelmed, and have reached full capacity.” – Francis Baraan IV

 

“Netizens, particularly the employable millennials, may not know that firms they are applying for work conduct quiet background checks on them before they get the jobs. Usually, business firms have personnel staff, who do and collate BIs on you. Part of the BIs are the posts netizens make on social media. The posts they put on their socmed accounts serve as indicators of their mental and psychological stability, intellectual capacity, and nature and depth of their characters. Usually, firms, particularly the big ones, don’t hire prospective workers who have mental, moral, physical, and intellectual issues. They don’t like guys who have extremist views. They avoid people with fanatical inclination, particularly when it comes to politics and religion. They prefer people with a balanced and sunny disposition. In brief, middle of the road guys have better chances. Hence, avoid being loud and proud – or fanatical – on your posts. You would eventually pay for your bigotry and narrow-mindedness” – Archie Mendoza, netizen

***


Note: Bobot Fradejas is a veteran media man, speaker, writer and columnist. He is hosting a regular forum “SATURDAY NEWS FORUM” every Saturday at University Hotel. To read more on his articles, views and opinions, follow him at: POLICE FILES TONITE - TAO PO Ni Bobot Fradejas

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

BONG GO KAY FRANKLIN DRILON: I AM NOT YOUR STUDENT AND YOU ARE NOT MY PROCTOR. SENADOR BA TALAGA ‘TO? ANG YABANG!


“I am not your student and you are not my proctor.”

Ito ang sagot ni Senador Christopher “Bong” Go sa pag-kuwestiyon ni Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon kung bakit ayaw tumanggap at sumagot sa mga katanungan matapos ang kanyang talumpati.

Sa huling araw ng session sa senado noong Hunyo 4, 2020, naghayag si Go ng kanyang talumpati na galit kuno sa DOH, DOB at DOLE kung bakit wala pang natatanggap na compensation ang mga health workers na namatay at infected sa coronavirus disease.

Ngunit tumangging matanong si Go kaugnay sa kanyang talumpati.

Pagkatapos ng talumpati ni Go, sinabi ni Drilon:

“As we said, we commend the gentleman from Davao for taking the privilege hour to call the attention of the bureaucracy in its neglect of the frontliners. But the good gentleman has said that he will not take questions."

Tinanong ni Drilon ang liderato kung bakit ayaw sagutin ni Go ang mga katanungan. Aniya, hindi ito normal na nakagawiian sa senado na inayunan naman ni Senate President Tito Sotto.

Ayon kay Sotto, hindi ito normal. Aniya, si  dating Sen. Mirriam Defensor-Santiago pa lamang ang hindi tumanggap ng katanungan ng isang beses, na ayon kay Sen. Drilon, ang dating respetadong senadora ay matagal na sa serbisyo at sa panahong iyon ay hindi na maganda ang kalusugan ng dating senadora, kumpara kay Bong Go na baguhan lamang.

NEW NORMAL

Habang kinikilala ni Drilon na ang mga senador ay may karapatan sa ganoong pribilehiyo, sinabi niya na ang gawain ni Go ay hindi ito ang normal na nakagawian sa Senado.

“It was never the practice not to entertain questions or interpellations anytime to take the floor. But usually in practice, when you rise, you have to answer the questions. You have to allow yourself to be interpellated,” ani Drilon.

"I just want to know, however, if this is the new normal that we have, Mr President, not allowing interpellations on the floor. In an effort to thresh out or strengthen the positions that we would take on national issues, I'm placing that on the floor.”

Hindi ito ang unang beses tinanggihan ni Bong Go ang mga tanong. Paulit-ulit na niyang tinanggihan ang mga tanong matapos ang kanyang mga talumpati. Bakit kaya? Hindi ba alam ang isagot? Ang talumpati ba ay hind galing sa kanya kundi binasa lamang na ginawa ng kanyang sekretarya? May kinatatakutan ba?

MAYABANG AT BASTOS

Isang bagito o baguhan sa Senado si Bong Go. Isang  hindi kilalang tao na bigla na lang lumutang ang pangalan at mukha dahil lang naman kay Pangulong Duterte, na kung wala ang Pangulo, hindi naman siya makilala. Isang photo bomber ika nga tuwing dikit sa Pangulo.

Tumanggi na ngang sumagot sa mga katanungan, hindi pa marunong rumespeto sa mga kasamahan sa Senado na kung tutuusin, sila’y mga beterano na kumpara sa kaniya na kabago-bago.

“I am not your student and you are not my proctor.” Ganito ba dapat sumagot ang isang senador? Senador ba talaga ito? Isa itong kabastusan. Mayabang.

Mas karespe-respeto pa sana kung sinabing, pasensya na po, hindi ko masagot ang inyong mga tanong dahil hindi ko po talaga alam ang aking isasagot, binasa ko lamang po, nag-speech lamang po ako.

Sana bago tumakbo si Bong Go, sinigurado niya muna na kaya niyang humarap sa debate, at kaya niyang sumagot sa mga katanungan. Sana alam niya na ang pagsagot niya ay mahalaga hindi lamang sa senado kundi maging sa taong bayan na naghahanap ng kasagutan sa mga tanong. Sana din matuto siyang rumespeto at sumagot nang maayos.

PS: Ayon sa isang twitter friend, “I googled PROCTOR:  a proctor keeps an eye on students who are taking a test to make sure they don't cheat.” - ‪@arthos3 ‬

Ibig sabihin ba, aminadong CHEATER si Bong Go? O baka naman PROFESSOR ang ibig niyang sabihin?

Nakakahiya! Hindi ito karapat dapat naging senador o umupo sa kahit anong posisyon sa gobyerno!

#PunchTheLies­čĄŤ

Sunday, July 19, 2020

CRAFTY INTERNET TROLLS IN THE PHILIPPINES


Made in the Philippines: Fake social media accounts and trolls with global ambitions.

In a white-walled room, a small cyber-army of four is furiously typing. And posting. And clicking. And scrolling.

And trolling.

For the next eight hours, they will be glued to their screens. They are hired guns in one of Manila’s hundreds of troll farms churning out fake content, false narratives and anything else the client wants.

This trolling mission was for a candidate running for the Philippine Senate. One aim was to cook up fake social media accounts to make it appear as if the candidate had a vast and fervent base of supporters. Another goal was to smear any critics, especially those who call them out for precisely the jobs they do.

Across the Philippines, it’s a virtual free-for-all. Trolls for companies. Trolls for celebrities. Trolls for liberal opposition politicians and the government. Trolls trolling trolls.

The world of Internet trolls — the gaslighting, the fabrications, the nastiness — is now a fact of life in the Web ecosystem nearly everywhere.

But something new is happening here: Experienced public relations experts in the Philippines are harnessing the raw energy of young and aggressive social media shape-shifters.

They are dramatically altering the political landscape in the Philippines with almost complete impunity — shielded by politicians who are so deep into this practice that they will not legislate against it, and using the cover of established PR firms that quietly offer these services. 

It is also showing signs of going global — with the Philippines as a hub — as the United States and countries across the world move into another election cycle in the troll age.

“This is what disinformation will look like in the U.S. in 2020,” said Camille Fran├žois, chief innovation officer at the New York-based social network analysis company Graphika. 

Political manipulation, she said, does not need to come from an ill-intentioned enemy state. It can originate with those who have cut their teeth in the competitive worlds of advertising, media and marketing. Social media companies, she added, were caught off guard before — notably in the U.S. presidential election in 2016 — and could be yet again with this new iteration. 

“The Philippines shows us trends that are headed this way,” said Fran├žois, who led a report commissioned by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence investigating Russian trolls in the United States. “And, it is 2019, the market is global — so they will find jobs outside of their own nation.” 

These ambitious operators now want to turn their country into the go-to place to influence corporate and political campaigns worldwide — using the same young, educated, English-speaking workforce that made the Philippines a global call center and content moderation hub.

The Washington Post interviewed over half a dozen paid trolls, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity and illegality of their work. They offered a glimpse into how Philippine trolls are shaping politics in their country and possibly showing signs of things to come elsewhere.

For the Senate candidate, for example, the hired trolls worked round-the-clock to flood platforms such as Twitter and Facebook with seemingly organic messages of support. Fans leaped to his defense, debated his critics and sang praises of his leadership style ahead of crucial midterm elections that were held in May. 

Except it is all an illusion, manufactured by hundreds of fake accounts all meticulously tracked on a spreadsheet. 

“This one, she is a fan of K-pop,” said one female worker, pointing to an open Twitter page showing the fake profile of a young, pink-cheeked woman. Buried among her fan posts for bands such as BTS are messages in support of the Senate candidate. The more likes and retweets, the better she’s doing.

The candidate was not elected, but he came close. 

Several paid troll farm operations and one self-described influencer say they have been approached and contracted by international clients, including from Britain, to do political work. Others are planning to expand overseas, hoping to start regionally. 

“It has all become an enterprise,” said Yvonne Chua, a journalism professor at the University of the Philippines who has extensively researched misinformation on the Internet. 

“It has come to a point where you can rely on the Philippines for all sorts of things: trolls, click farms, whatever you want.” 

'GET INTO YOUR CHARACTER'

He calls his operation a “white troll” farm, now an industry-wide term. 

“Positive trolling” is another way to describe it, said the owner of a public relations firm that now specializes in these services. The idea, he said, was to counter the vitriol of the “black trolls” in the Philippines, linked to strongman President Rodrigo Duterte, whose supporters have turned online intimidation into an art. 

The troll operator said he watched from the sidelines in 2016, when Duterte and his allies harnessed the power of self-declared patriots online and turned them into an organized cyber-mob — the Die-hard Duterte Supporters, or DDS. He was shocked to see female candidates and opposition leaders being humiliated on Facebook, threatened with rape and even death. 

When Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016, the idea of a “white troll” farm took shape in the PR executive’s mind.

Duterte-linked trolls “use this power to peddle lies, concoct fake news, brainwash people,” he says in an interview. “I said, at least people should be influenced properly.”

His rules are strict: no harassment, no targeting of women or minorities, no fake news. Comments cannot be posted through a simple copy-and-paste job; they must always be new and original. Yet the online accounts that power his business are still largely fabricated names and backgrounds.

His clients range from real estate firms looking to sell units in new developments to overseas Filipinos, companies battling a public relations crisis or celebrities looking to fend off black trolls. 

He makes the most from politicians, who pay anywhere from about $38,000 to $57,000 — “depending on their needs” — to hire his company on a month-long retainer for up to eight months. He has worked recently for seven politicians, including the senatorial hopeful whose campaign office The Post visited. 

“When I launched this two years ago, the idea was really to target politicians since it’s really meant for them,” he says. “They’re always targets of fake news. They’re always on the news.”

He likens the job to theater: “You assume different personalities. You should get into your character.”

Every campaign starts with a client presentation. Any client who asks for a “black operation” is turned away, he said. Once it is approved, the client has to provide SIM cards: one is needed for every Facebook or Twitter account. 

He then asks for 15 days.

“I call it the cultivation period,” he said. “We just make accounts.” 

His social media manager, who chose to be identified as Agnes, carts almost 1, 000 SIM cards with her, in case Facebook asks for a login code sent through text. Each SIM card stands for a fictitious character who “lives” on social media: He or she goes shopping, drinks a latte, poses at a popular tourist spot and shares gifts received. 

“You really keep it alive” before you start posting messages of support or bashing critics, Agnes said. 

TROLL vs. TROLL

Then they get to work. 

When a politician attacked Agnes’s client, her team went into overdrive. They pointed out, ironically, that he was merely using hired hacks to criticize the client. The rival ended up deleting his post.

Her terms to describe her trade evoke images of bloody war on the battlefield. She speaks of “invading” online chat groups and Facebook fan pages, and she talks of fighting her “enemies” online in real time.

“That’s how we look at our enemies if we’re fighting online. We check if the accounts are real,” Agnes says. “We know that could happen to us, too, so we keep the account ‘alive’. So if they see us, they’ll see . . . ‘Oh, this person was in [the resort town] Tagaytay. They were in Starbucks.’ ”

And if they are accused of being trolls themselves, “we stick to the statement that we aren’t,” she said — doubling down on a lie.

“We challenge them to look at our Facebook accounts,” she said.

These sparring matches — between live, paid social media operatives — are the latest evolution of this industry. It is also the clearest sign that inauthentic social media behavior has seeped into every layer of politics in the Philippines.

“It is really unique to the Philippines. We haven’t seen so many other countries that are using live moderators to battle it out,” said Samantha Bradshaw, a researcher at Oxford University who has studied misinformation campaigns worldwide. “This idea of the troll versus the troll, it is quite new.” 

The operator of the white troll farm is among those who, having perfected their craft at home, dream of growing beyond the borders of the Philippines. He is hoping for global expansion, even if he starts small by exploring the market in regional countries such as Singapore. 

“Why not?” he challenged. 

A LIE 10,000 TIMES

Filipinos spend the most time online in the world — more than 10 hours on the Internet a day — according to social media analytics firm Hootsuite. The country is also one of Facebook’s biggest markets. In some cities, there are more users on the platform than the population. 

For Duterte’s trolls and social media operatives, this was fertile ground.

Among the targets of their most vile and aggressive troll campaigns are imprisoned Sen. Leila de Lima, an outspoken critic of Duterte’s war on drugs; former opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes, whose term ended in June; and prominent journalist Maria Ressa, named one of Time’s 2018 people of the year.

Ressa, ironically, was working with researchers like Graphika’s Fran├žois, studying troll campaigns linked back to her government.

“One day, she called me and said, ‘It is me they are going after. I’m the target now,’ ” Fran├žois said.

One trolling-services firm says planting and amplifying these falsehoods was deliberate. 

“If you hear a lie once, you don’t believe it,” said a representative of the trolling-services firm, which is linked to the Duterte administration. “But if you hear it from 10,000 people, you start questioning what you know.” 

Lima, Trillanes and Ressa are all fighting charges they say are politically motivated, and they have been the victims of fabricated news articles that allege corruption, involvement in the drug trade and an assortment of other crimes. 

Ahead of the Philippines midterm elections in May, The Washington Post found a number of other senators using fake accounts to boost their popularity, one strongly allied with Duterte. 

Some gave themselves away easily. In March, a Twitter account in support of Sen. Sonny Angara was found using a profile photo of a dead Filipino girl, murdered in the United States last December. 

The account has since been taken down. But an image search by The Post also uncovered the same photo being used in accounts supportive of politicians Bong Revilla and Grace Poe, a former presidential candidate. 

The Post also found Twitter accounts supportive of Angara and Poe misleadingly using photos belonging to a travel blogger, a software start-up founder, at least two beauty pageant candidates, “The Apprentice Asia” winner Jonathan Yabut, and Filipino American social media personality Bretman Rock.

Revilla, Poe and Angara all won Senate seats in the midterm elections. Poe led a Senate hearing on misinformation last year, and she described the problem as something that “plagued” society. 

However, she pushed back on the idea that lawmakers should legislate it for fear of censorship. 

All three denied that they utilize such services.

'WE’RE DETERMINED, TOO'

The Philippines is one of the countries where Facebook offers its “Free Basics” service, providing free Internet access to a small number of websites and Facebook itself — essentially turning the platform into the de facto Internet. The main Philippine cellular providers also offer cheap Facebook data packages. 

Facebook is now using the Philippines as proof that they can right their wrongs. After apologizing for not acting sooner, the company has staffed up a local office in Manila — a rare move for Facebook — and launched a digital literacy program. 

Hundreds of Facebook pages linked to Philippine troll farms have been removed from the platform, including digital marketing group Twinmark Media. It controlled a so-called digital news website, Trending News Portal, that posted unverified and salacious articles critical of Duterte’s opponents. 

In late March, the social media platform removed 200 pages, groups and accounts that they said were linked to Nic Gabunada, who was the head of Duterte’s social media strategy during the 2016 campaign. 

The social media analysis company Graphika, which helped Facebook archive this content before its removal, said these pages glorified Duterte’s war on drugs, which human rights groups say has resulted in the deaths of more than 20,000 people in police raids and extrajudicial slayings.

Gabunada, in response to questions from The Post, pushed back on the idea that he was running a trolling effort. He said he was merely sharing his views on politics and support of Duterte, and was consulting with Duterte supporters who wanted to start their own fan pages. 

He also believes he was unfairly targeted.

“The vitriol we observe in social media conversations today are coming from both sides,” he said. “I have a feeling I was singled out, whereas the anti-Duterte and opposition pages were not.”

A separate trolling-services firm linked to Duterte said the Facebook crackdown was so dramatic that their clients considered cutting their budget by 70 percent, unsure whether the investment was worth it if pages kept getting taken down. 

The firm has since evolved: investing more in making their pages look authentic and posting memes and photos rather than text, which are harder for algorithms to detect. Business has picked up again. 

“We know this work will never be done. We have determined adversaries who will keep evolving their tactics to circumvent the new barriers we put in place,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook. “But we’re determined, too, and will continue to be focused on making it as difficult as possible for bad actors who want to abuse our services.” 

Ellen Tordesillas, a longtime investigative journalist at Vera Files, a nonprofit media organization that also works with Facebook to fact-check in the Philippines, said a particularly nasty bout of trolls emerged after Facebook pulled down the hundreds of pages. 

“It is not like they can post on Zuckerberg’s Facebook page and have any impact; their office in the Philippines is not exceptional,” she said. “So it is easier to attack us.” 

Another wave came after the news organization published a commentary on a list of names supposedly linked with the drug trade, from a whistleblower who called himself “Bikoy.” Among them was Paolo Duterte, the leader’s son, who has denied the charges. 

As she spoke to The Post, her phone rang. It was an unknown number, but she picked up anyway, thinking it might be the bank. She soon realized it was a troll. 

“How’s Bikoy?” the person said. “You’re done for.” 

She hung up, but the same caller tried again, and again, and again, until the phone stopped ringing. 

********
Source: 

Washington Post: Why crafty Internet trolls in the Philippines may be coming to a website near you: Made in the Philippines: Fake social media accounts and trolls with global ambitions - The Washington Post 

*******

TROLL FARMS. These are the viruses who are destroying the country.

You can do something to stop this. Post, share, educate and spread the truth. Do not engage with trolls. Report accounts who are spreading lies or fake news. Gather evidences. Use your mobile camera to screenshot, video of the accounts and posts if you know they are posting lies or fake news, then report to NBI cybercrime division. 

National Bureau of Investigation
Cybercrime Division
Taft Avenue, Manila
Tel: (632)523-8231 to 38 local 3454, 3455
Email: ccd@nbi.gov.ph

DON’T FEED THE TROLLS.


#PunchTheLies­čĄŤ

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Ex-Mayor Antonio Sanchez, Mapapalaya?

Ex-Mayor Antonio Sanchez, Mapapalaya?
Rape • Murder • Drugs

by: @PunchTheLies

Muling umingay ang pangalan ng dating alkaldeng nakakulong sa New Bilibid Prison na si Antonio Sanchez. Ito ay dahil sa balitang mapapalaya na siya.

Bumalik ang matinding sugat, sakit at bangungot sa pamilya ng noo’y ginahasa at pinatay na sina Eileen Sarmento at Allan Gomez. Umiiyak si Ginang Ma. Clara Sarmento sa kanyang interview sa DZMM Telereadyo dahil sa balitang mapapalaya na ang taong walang awang gumahasa at utak sa pagpatay ng kanyang anak na si Elileen Sarmenta.

Marahil marami ang hindi nakakaalam ng detalye tungkol sa kasong ito sa panahon ngayon lalo na sa mga kabataan. Isa ito sa mga pinakamalaking kaso na tinutukan ng media at ng sambayanan noon at isa na ako doon sa mga sumubaybay at tumutok. Bilang kabataan at estudyante noon, matinding awa ang ating naramdaman para sa mga biktima at matinding galit sa mga taong sangkot lalo na sa itinurong utak ng krimen na si Antonio Sanchez.

Inabot nang dalawang taon ang paglilitis bago nahatulang guilty ang utak ng krimen na si  Antonio Sanchez. Sino si Antonio Sanchez? Ating balikan ang kwento ng kasong ito.

Si Antonio Sanchez ay dating mayor ng Calauan, Laguna na nakulong matapos napatanunayan at nahatulang guilty sa panggahasa at pagpatay kina Eileen Sarmenta at Allan Gomez, magkasintahan at parehong estudyante ng UP Los Ba├▒os. 

Hinatulang guilty ng Pasig City Regional Trial Court si Sanchez at pinagtibay ito ng Korte Suprema. Siya ngayon ay nakakulong sa New Bilibid Prison sa Muntinlupa.

Hunyo 29, 1993 noong natagpuan ang mga nakakaawang bangkay ng magkasintahanh Eileen Sarmenta at Allan Gomez, parehong estudyante ng UP Los Ba├▒os, sa magkaibang lugar malapit sa Calauan, Laguna. 

“Love triangle" ang motibo at si Kit Alqueza, dating kasintahan ni Sarmenta at anak ng noo’y General Dictador Alqueza ang unang itinurong suspek sa pagpatay kay Gomez na kanyang kaibigan ayon sa mga naunang imbestigasyon ng Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) na pinamumunuan ng noo’y Vice President Joseph Estrada sa ilalim ng administrasyon ni President Fidel Ramos. Paghihigante ang kanilang teorya dahil nakikipag-date na daw umano ang dating kasintahan sa kanyang kaibigan na si Gomez. Hindi ito pinaniwalaan ng karamihan, maging ang pamilya  ng mga biktima ay paniwala na inosente si Alqueza. 

Ngunit nag-iba ang kuwento nang lumantad na ang mga star witnesses na sina Aurello Centeno at Vicencio Malabanan noong Agosto 13, 1993 at ikinagulat ng lahat nang biglang sumabog ang pangalan ng noo’y Mayor Antonio Sanchez ng Calauan, Laguna.

PAGDINIG:

Ayon sa mga star witnesses na sina Centeno at Malabanan, parehong bodyguards ni Sanchez, dinukot nila sina Sarmenta at Gomez, pero hindi nila umano ginahasa si Sarmenta at wala din silang kinalaman umano sa pagpatay. Sinabi nila sa korte na noong Hunyo 28, 1993, nakasakay sila sa ambulansya, kasama sina George Medialdea, Luis Corcolon, Rogelio Corcolon, Baldwin Brion, Zoilo Ama, at Pepito Kawit upang hulihin ang isang drug pusher at gun-runner. Si George Medialdea ay Deputy Chief noon ng Calauan PNP.

Ayon sa kanilang salaysay, habang sila’y nasa biyahe, sinabi ni Luis Corcolon na mayroom silang kukunin na isang magandang babae na kursunada ni Mayor Sanchez. Dukutin daw nila at ibigay bilang regalo kay Mayor. 

Nahanap nila sina Sarmenta at Gomez sa nakaparadang Tamaraw van sa Agrix Complex ng UPLB. Tinutukan nila ang magkasintahan ng baril kaya wala umano silang nagawa.

Ayon kay Centeno na nagsilbing driver ng ambulansya, niradyuhan ng noo’y Deputy Chief na si Medialdea ang isang lalaki na tinatawag niyang boss. Dinala umano ang magkasintahan sa Erais Farm na pagmamay-ari ni Sanchez sa Barangay Curba.

Nang dumating si Sanchez, sinabi ni Luis Corcolon na ang babae na si Sarmenta ay regalo nila sa kanya, at sinabing idinamay na din nila umano si Gomez upang hindi mabulilyaso.

Dinala si Eileen Sarmento sa kuwarto ng noo’y alkalde, samantalang ang kasintahan na si Allan Gomez ay ginulpi umano at binubugbog nila sa labas.

Inilabas na ng kuwarto si Sarmenta alauna na ng madaling araw (1:00 A.M.) at isinakay ang magkasintahan sa isang van na sinundan ng ambulansya. Unang ibinaba umano si Allan Gomez na noo’y may tama na ng bala sa ulo dahil unang binaril na siya sa loob ng sasakyan. Nang nakahandusay na ang binata ay muli umano itong pinagbabaril. 

Samantala, dinala naman umano si Eileen Sarmenta sa tubuan sa Sitio Paputok na kung saan ginahasa din umano ng mga iba pang 6 na suspek. Pagkatapos ng panggahasa, ay pinagbabaril na din si Sarmenta gamit ang armalite. Iniwan nila ang van kung saan nila iniwan ang katawan ni Sarmenta. Nahanap ang mga bangkay ng magkasintahan kinabukasan. 

Dahil sa testimonya nina Centeno at Malabanan, inaresto si Sanchez, August 13, 1993. Tinutukan siya ng sambayanan. Maraming natuwa dahil umpisa na ito ng inaasam ng lahat ng hustisya. Maraming nagulat lalo sa mga residente ng Calauan, Laguna dahil ang pagkakilala nila sa noo’y alkalde ay isang relihiyoso. Marami siyang koleksyon ng mga rebulto at imahe ng Birheng Maria, at may palakad-lakad pa siya ng nakaluhod sa simbahan habang siya’y nagdadasal. 

Matapos ng labing anim na buwan ng pagdinig, inilabas ng Pasig City Regional Trial Court ang 132 pahinang desisyon at hinatulang guilty si Antonio Sanchez, kasama ang noo’y Deputy Chief Medialdea, Ama, Brion, Kawit at ang magkapatid na Corcolon sa pitong kasong Rape with homicide, Marso 11, 1995. 

Enero 25, 1999, pinagtibay ng Korte Suprema and desisyon ng Pasig City Regional Trial Court, at noong Agosto 29, 1999, hinatulan ng Korte Suprema ang noo’y alkalde na si Antonio Sanchez ng double life sentence sa magkahiwalay na kaso. 

MAPAPALAYA?

Buong akala ng pamilya nina Sarmenta at Gomez, maging ang sambayanan, ay nakamit na ang kanilang hustisya, ngunit tila ang akalang ito ay mapupunta na naman sa wala dahil kabilang umano si Sanchez sa 11,000 na mapapalaya sa ilalim ng administrasyong Duterte sa susunod na dalawang buwan. Hinala ng pamilya ni Eileen Sarmenta, na may kinalaman si Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo dahil sa siya umano ang legal counsel noon ni Sanchez. Iginiit naman ni Panelo na wala siyang kinalaman dito. 

Tanong ni Ginang Maria Clara Sarmenta, nanay ni Eileen Sarmenta, kung paano naging karapat-dapat makalaya si Sanchez. 

"Paano naman sasabihin maniniwala ako na good behavior si Sanchez? Hindi ba, kayo alam niyo sa media, maraming kontrabandong ginawa si Sanchez noong nandoon siya sa Bilibid, hindi ba? May shabu-shabu, may kung ano-ano... Sasabihin nila na well-behaved si Sanchez, hindi katanggap-tanggap sa akin 'yun kasi hindi naman natin nakita na tahimik siya...Gumawa ba siya ng maganda sa Bilibid?” sabi niya sa kanyang interview sa DZMM Teleradyo. 

Bumait at “deserves second chance” daw sabi ni Sen. Bato dela Rosa. Bumait nga ba?

Taong 2006, naiulat na may kasong naihahin laban kay Sanchez na drug possession ng  shabu at dahon ng marijuana. Makalipas ng apat na taon, nahulihan na naman siya ng isang kilo ng shabu na nakatago sa isang imahe of rebulto ng birheng Maria na diumano’y ibinenta sa halagang P1.5 milyon sa kapwa niyang mga mga bilanggo. Noong 2015, nakumpiska naman mula sa kanya ang umano’y isang air conditioning unit at flatscreen TV ay sa kanyang selda. 

Kung ganun, hindi maaaring makalaya si Sanchez. Paano masasabi ni Bato na bumait at “deserves second chance” ang isang rapist, mamamatay at durugistang ito?

DEATH PENALTY?

Si Bato dela Rosa ang nagsusulong sa parusang death penalty para sa mga durugista, rapist, pero aprupado din sa kanya ang paglaya ng isang nahatulang ropist at mamamatay? 

Ang kasong ito ay isa lang sa mga nagpapatunay na ang death penalty ay hindi maaaring maipatupad dahil sa maling sistema sa hustisya. Ang mga kilala at malalaking tao, mga may kapit sa gobyerno ang nabibigyan ng katarungan, samantalang patuloy din maaapakan ang mga walang kakayahan, mahihirap at mga walang makapitan.


#PunchTheLies­čĄŤ


#JusticeForEileenAndAllan
#NoToDeathPenalty