By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Detained Senator Leila de Lima said she is vindicated anew by the statements made by Rappler chief executive officer (CEO) Maria Ressa during the Senate hearing on the spread of fake news on Tuesday.
In a statement today De Lima commended Ressa for supposedly proving that the attacks against her were “systematic” and were not made up.
At the second hearing of the committee on public information and mass media on Tuesday, Ressa bared the results of the online news website’s study on how false information spread on social media. The Rappler CEO mentioned De Lima as an example of a victim of fake news, and how the “pattern” of attacks led to her arrest.
“Seeing the pattern brought on a ‘Eureka!’ moment: allege corruption; sexualize the target; and call for the arrest of the target. Repeat ad nauseam because if you repeat it enough times, lies become truth, and truth becomes lies,” she said, citing the journalist’s statements during the Senate inquiry.
“That is exactly what happened to me!”
De Lima likewise recalled the “thousands of hate messages” she had received when Ressa bared before the Senate panel some samples of the messages she received from the supporters of the administration.
“I even had flashbacks to the thousands of hate messages I received through phone calls and text messages, after the House of Representatives hearing exposed my mobile number to the public,” she said.
Ressa likewise explained about so-called “state-sponsored trolling” which, she claimed, is being practiced in China and Russia, thus, warning Communications Secretary Martin Andanar from sending their people there to train.
“There is immense relief to see what was done to me be laid down and shown to be a systematic operation by people who not only train for it, but also have the backing of the State,” De Lima said.
De Lima said she has been “vindicated” by the various awards and recognitions she received for being a human rights defender under the Duterte government.
“I commend Ms. Ressa and everyone who are speaking against the spread of fake news. You are the real heroes of this generation,” she told Ressa.