Using a newspaper

"Whoever concocted that matrix must be stupid."



Reports of alleged destabilization of the Duterte administration, which included a “matrix” detailing the involvement of news organizations, journalists and lawyers, raise many questions.

First of all, how did a newspaper owned by a special envoy appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte come into the possession of the matrix? How did Malacañang know of that alleged destabilization effort? And does the Palace really believe that such plans exist? What is Malacañang’s motive for coming out with the report?

The fact that only the Manila Times had that report fuels more questions. Why did Malacañang give the matrix to only one newspaper? This is truly disturbing.

It highlights the fact that a newspaper is being used.

Actually, there are two components to a destabilization: The military and the people.

As a journalist, I think we should let the public know whether the things Rappler, Vera Files and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism report from hereon is just for destabilization. Is this true? Have these news organizations been reporting falsehoods?

It would seem to me that for the Duterte administration, everyone who criticizes him is peddling fake news.

Whoever concocted that matrix must be stupid.

What truly disturbs me as a journalist is that a sector of media has allowed itself to be used by an administration to demonize its critics.

I don’t really care which side of the political fence journalists are in. That is part of press freedom. But when a sector of media allows itself to be used for whatever purpose by an administration that wants to go after its critics—well, that is truly cause for concern.

* * *

There have been many whiffs of corruption among people in the Duterte administration, but these have not been acted on.

Sometime ago, the PCIJ came out with a series that exposed that companies owned by family members of Christopher “Bong” Go, now senatorial aspirant, have been awarded Build Build Build projects.

The PCIJ said that Go’s father and half-brother cornered billions of pesos in contracts with the Department of Public Works and Highwatys.

The PCIJ also reported on unfinished infrastructure projects well beyond their target date of completion.

CLTG Builders stood out in the report because all of its joint infrastructure projects with big contractors had not been completed. It had just a “B License” so it could not have the capacity to implement such big projects without having a partner.

CLTG won a total of P1.85 billion worth of infrastructure projects in the Davao Region from 2007 to 2017 through joint ventures with other contractors, including Alfrego Builders, a firm owned by Bong Go’s half-brother, Alfredo Go.

In sum, CLTG has been awarded a whopping P4.6 billion from the DPWH.

According to the PCIJ, Bong Go denied any involvement.

Surprisingly, there were no attempts by Congress to make Bong Go explain all this. It seems our lawmakers believed Go when he said he had nothing to do with the irregularity.

It’s difficult to swallow Go’s denial, especially so now that he is running for the Senate. Santa Banana, not even the opposition has raised questions about Go’s alleged billions!

Perhaps more questions should be raised so that if Go indeed does not have anything to do with it, our doubts could be erased. It is not too late to set the record straight.

* * *

There are whiffs of corruption in other agencies as well.

There were findings that Solicitor General Jose Calida remained a major shareholder in a company that supplies security guards to several government offices, including the Department of Justice.

If this is not conflict of interest that is punishable by law, I don’t know what is.

The Commissioon on Audit has also pointed out that Calida and other government lawyers have been receiving excessive allowances contrary to law.

The former Government Corporate Counsel in fact called out the violation of the law againste excessive allowances. Nothing happened to correct them.

All these do not speak well of President Duterte’s supposed war against corruption. It’s perceived as selective. Remember that Customs commissioner accused of involvement in illegal drugs? He was even promoted to Cabinet rank!

* * *

If poll surveys are to be believed at this point, only one or two opposition members will make it to the Magic 12.

This will be a tragedy for the opposition and for the Senate as well. The institution should be independent, providing check and balance to the other branches of government.

Topics: Malacañang , Manila Times , Government Corporate Counsel , Rodrigo Duterte , Jose Calida , Bong Go
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