By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang is aiming to start with “a clean slate” following the massive victory of the administration’s candidates in Mondays’ midterm elections.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said they hope to be free from the “disinformation attacks” from the opposition, as the Palace has already left it to authorities to investigate those behind the alleged plot against President Duterte.
Panelo earlier bared the larger matrix involving the Liberal Party, Magdalo group, some media organizations supposedly involved in a conspiracy to discredit the President and boost the chances of the opposition candidates in the May elections.
“Integral to the Oust Duterte Matrix is Bikoy, who was used by the political opposition at the height of the election campaign season. As we have said repeatedly, we will leave the task of investigation to the Philippine National Police and the Department of Justice to file the appropriate charges against whomsoever if warranted,” he said.
“After the recently concluded elections that showed the resounding victory of the administration’s candidates, the Palace wishes to start with a clean slate which is free from the opposition’s disinformation attacks, which includes the subject editorial from the Inquirer,” he added.
Many of the President’s allies have emerged victorious in the May senatorial race and the local elections based on partial vote count, which the Palace has attributed to the “Duterte magic.”
The victory of the administration’s candidates and the shutout of the Ocho Diretso candidates sent a strong message that the people want stability and continuity of reforms initiated by Duterte government, according to Panelo.
Panelo made the latest remarks after slamming the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s supposed erroneous May 14 editorial titled “Panelo’s flimflammery” that tackled his “instant karma” for releasing the alleged oust Duterte matrices.
The newspaper editorial criticized Panelo’s release of “amateurish” matrices of personalities allegedly involved in a conspiracy against the President.
Panelo’s release of such list was supposedly “more malicious and reeking of black propaganda and political mudslinging,” compared to a political meme of a satirical Facebook page showing his edited image endorsing the Otso Diretso candidates which the Palace official had denounced.
Panelo, however, blasted the newspaper for comparing the “Oust Duterte Matrix” and the political meme by Facebook Page “Malacanang Events and Catering Services, saying it was “blatant idiocy.”
He said the matrices were released not to deceive or confuse but to inform the public of an alleged plot to oust the President with the involvement of several personalities. “The matrices have been vetted to be true and as such, the Office of the President takes them seriously,” he said.
The case of the political meme, however, was different, according to Panelo. He said the bogus endorsement of the opposition candidates could mislead gullible netizens who believe in what they see or read on the internet.
“While the former has been released pursuant to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s constitutional duty to inform the public, the latter is plain and simple black propaganda. While the former is veracious, the latter is fake news. They are as different as chalk and cheese, and comparing them is blatant idiocy,” he said.
“It is not surprising though as this newspaper has a habit of twisting statements coming from the Palace and the President as well, and putting up screaming slanted headliners to put us in a bad light before its readers,” he said.
Panelo also blamed anew some media outfits for the “erroneous analysis” about inclusion of Olympian Hidilyn Diaz and television personality Gretchen Ho in the alleged conspiracy against Duterte.
He said the names of Ho and Diaz were included only because they were being followed by Rodel Jayme on social media. Jayme has been charged with inciting to sedition after his website was supposedly used to circulate the controversial “Bikoy” video series alleging drunk connections of the President’s family and associates.
“If only media reporters took a closer look at said diagram, they will understand that the names of Missus Ho and Diaz were included because they were being followed by Mr. Jayme in social media. Or if the reporters only asked the meaning of those lines in the diagram pointing to the names of Ho and Diaz before they made a hasty and wrong conclusion, they would have been told of its significance,” he said.
Panelo has actually been repeatedly asked by journalists to identify the source of the matrixes and how they were obtained but he remained tightlipped and passed the buck to the President to answer such queries. He claimed he was merely the messenger who presented the document given to him by the Palace.
The President, on the other hand, has also dodged media queries and instead asked Panelo to respond, saying he was concerned his words might be misquoted by the press. “Panelo na lang so that kung i-misquote siya, siya ‘yung madadale. I get tired of answering questions which are stupid,” Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City last Monday.
Duterte has also vouched for the veracity of the alleged conspiracy plot against him but admitted he was not aware of the source of the recorded conversations of the personalities involved.
“Totoo ‘yung matrix. Totoo ‘yung matrix. Pati ‘yung Bikoy kita mo naman, pati ‘yung spectral analysis ng boses nila. Totoo talaga ‘yon [The matrix is real, including Bikoy. Look, even the spectral analysis of their voices. That is really true],” Duterte said.
“There were a lot of communications there that were recorded,” Duterte said.
Duterte however added: “Sino ang nag-wiretap (Who wiretapped), I really don’t know. Finished product na ‘yan e [It was a finished product].”
The Liberal Party and other concerned personalties linked to the anti-Duterte plot have denied the allegations made by the Palace.