By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Members of the Senate opposition are being implicated to a destabilization plot because a hacker has been going into their staff’s emails to make up supposed plans against the government.
This was according to Senator Bam Aquino, who yesterday announced that two of his staff’s email addresses were hacked and had been used to send “dubious” messages relating to the alleged plan to oust President Duterte from office.
Three emails from the office of Liberal Party (LP) president Senator Francis Pangilinan were also hacked, including the email addresses used for releasing media statements.
Aquino, in a press briefing, said they discovered the hacking incident on September 26, from the drafts of his staff’s email account.
The draft email, as he showed to media, contained the LP’s supposed “media plan” to “destroy PRRD.” The message cited “media sources” saying “the plan” was “jointly decided by Vice President Leni Robredo, former Pres. Benigno Aquino III and other senior LP members including Senators Franklin Drilon, Aquino and Pangilinan.”
He also found out that two emails were sent through another staff’s email address on October 11. The message, he showed, contained a subject of “Duterte Bank Account” and “office supplies.” Attached with one of these was an “empty” document, which according to Aquino, may be used to phish information on the account when clicked.
Aquino however denied that his staff wrote nor sent the emails.
The senator said his discovery prompted him to alert his colleagues in the Senate minority to check their staff’s email accounts. It turned out that Pangilinan’s office was hacked since March 21.
The sent March 21 mail, Aquino said, contained falsified results of a supposed “investigation on DDS.” In another email sent from the email address of Pangilinan’s staff on September 7, the hacker was found to have purportedly attempted to access and hack the website of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). An October 11 email likewise implicated a “fake news” article of a publication.
Aquino said the emails were unnoticed over several months because the hacker added filters to the email to automatically delete the dubious messages.
The hacker, he claimed, also used the Senate network to access the said emails. He said the hacker was based in the Philippines, although one of the records cited a United States address.
Aquino said they have reported the discovery to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cybercrime Division to trace the supposed hacker of their staff’s email accounts. He added that they also tapped the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to look into the attempt to link LP members to the government destabilization.
“This is another attack to the opposition, para mabuo yung kwento…It’s actually to plant evidence that there is conspiracy and plan to destabilize,” he said, adding the motive may be “monetary” and “political.”
Aquino reiterated that the LP and other members of the opposition may have expressed their dissent to the Duterte administration but do not have a destabilization plot.
Aside from Aquino and Pangilinan, the other members of the Senate minority are Franklin Drilon, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV.
Tags: Benigno Aquino III, destabilization, emails, Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, LP members, Manila Bulletin, President Duterte, Senate opposition, Senator Bam Aquino, Vice President Leni Robredo