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Ressa continues to spit on our laws

RAPPLER CEO¬†Maria Ressa¬†continues to humiliate our nation. She has arrogantly defied our rule of law, in effect saying her stature and the West’s adulation of her place her beyond our legal system. To this day, Rappler continues to publish the article for which she was convicted of libel, and which she claims was President¬†Duterte’s move to suppress her website’s critical coverage of his administration.

Ressa’s allegation is such total rubbish it is amazing that Western media believed it, which explains how it was easy for the¬†US¬†to get the Nobel committee to award her its peace prize.

She and the writer of the article himself,¬†Reynaldo Santos, were convicted of libel by a regional trial court in June 2020 for claiming that a businessman,¬†Willy Keng, was a murderer. The piece was part of a huge 2012 media campaign with Rappler’s “editor-at-large”¬†Marites Vitug¬†as one of its leaders, launched by the Aquino administration to demonize and remove Chief Justice¬†Renato Corona¬†from his post. It claimed that Keng, whom it claimed was a “shadowy” businessman, was the magistrate’s close friend and that Corona was even using his SUV.

Judge Rainalda Estacio-Mendoza, a highly regarded magistrate, pointed out in her decision that Ressa and Santos did not offer a “scintilla of proof that they verified the imputations of various crimes against the businessman.” Their only defense was that the cyberlibel law was enacted only in September 2012, months after the article was published in May 2012.

As a mere website without any hard copies, Ressa claimed they could not be charged under the law. In her arrogance though, and despite the businessman’s offer to withdraw his case if the article was taken down, Ressa continued to put it in the Rappler site, even updating it in February 2014. She and the reporter (who left Rappler in 2013) were convicted of libel under the new cybercrime law, sentenced to imprisonment of six months to six years, and made to pay damages amounting to P500,000.

Screen grab of libelous Rappler article still on the website.

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We should be furious, and worried, at this Nobel move

IT was jailed Sen. Leila de Lima’s comment on the Nobel committee’s grant of the Nobel Peace Prize to¬†Maria Ressa¬†that was most accurate, a part of it, that is. “It is a big slap to the face of [President¬†Duterte],” she said.

But not only to him: it is a huge insult to the¬†Philippines¬†itself and especially to all Filipino journalists. The award, in effect, portrayed the country as being in the league of countries like Haiti, Sudan or Uganda in the 1970s with a brutal dictator in power, a cowardly citizenry and a press doing nothing about it ‚ÄĒ except Ressa who is, therefore, being granted the Nobel peace award.

For whatever explanation Ressa and others have given for her getting the award, the Nobel committee’s justification is given solely in what is called its “announcement.” In its arrogance or by tradition, the Nobel committee and its members do not give any other explanation.

In Ressa’s case it was as follows: “Ressa’s Rappler has focused critical attention on the Duterte regime’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign. The number of deaths is so high that the campaign resembles a war waged against the country’s own population.”

If you agree with those claims, then congratulate her and praise her for being the first American Filipino to be awarded the Nobel. But that Nobel justification is clearly a total lie, a fabrication that Ressa has strived to disseminate to¬†US¬†media since 2019 when a private businessman sued her for libel, claiming P50 million in damages to wiggle out of that suit, and another the next year involving her media outfit’s violation of the Constitution by taking in foreign money.


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US uses Nobel Prize to demonize Duterte, and therefore his successor

WITH only a puny opposition less than a year to the 2022 elections, and a Duterte 2 administration inarguably on the horizon, the United States has employed what has been its special propaganda weapon, the Nobel Peace Prize, to give American-Filipino Maria Ressa, the chief executive officer (CEO) of a viciously anti-Duterte news website, the stature to demonize the Philippine president, and consequently whoever he endorses as his presidential candidate.

Ressa’s co-awardee is Dmitry Muratov, an editor of the most widely circulated newspaper in Russia very critical of¬†Vladimir Putin, the four-term president of the Russian Federation, one of the two adversaries of the US for world dominance. The US must be so desperate it didn’t care that the motives of its Nobel move are so obvious: one is aimed against the strongman Putin, the other against the strongman Duterte, whom the Americans are furious at for drawing the country close to their second adversary, China. A Reuters headline on the story summed it up: “Journalists who took on Putin and Duterte win the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize” although it should have added the phrase “US targets” before “Putin.”

The US has demonstrated several times in the past its power to manipulate the Nobel awards committee into handing the peace prize to whomever it wants, when it needs to do so. The committee consists of just five people nominated by the Norwegian Parliament. If you’ve ever been in such a panel (as I have), you will realize how easy it would be for a determined party, such as the US, to manipulate the committee: it receives over 300 nominations for all awards per year. How did Russia get into the minds of these Norwegians? In terms of contributing to humanity, Julian Assange, who started Wikileaks, and¬†Edward Snowden, who told the world of the massive US monitoring of private cell phone conversations, didn’t cross their minds. Oh, these two pissed off the US government.

The US has done this Nobel move before. To boost the profile of the first black US president, an obscure Illinois senator, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in 2009 to Barack Obama just nine months into his term ‚ÄĒ even if he had done absolutely nothing to deserve the purported justification for it, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy.” To draw attention to the imprisonment of a largely ignored Chinese dissident¬†Liu Xiaobo, the peace prize was awarded solely to him in 2010.

Ressa was awarded not for any work of journalism but entirely on her portrayal of herself as a crusader for press freedom in the Philippines, which she claims President¬†Rodrigo Duterte¬†has been suppressing. She is a master of the sound bite, spewing such obvious lies that tug at Americans’ hearts such as her claim that for criticizing Duterte, she had received at one point “90 hate messages an hour, 90 rape threats per minute.”


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Read more about the article Charges vs Facebook so true: Here’s how to find out for yourself
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Charges vs Facebook so true: Here’s how to find out for yourself

WHISTLEBLOWER Frances Haugen in her testimony before the US Senate, and submitting documents to prove her allegations, claimed that Facebook “amplifies hate, misinformation and political unrest.” For teenagers, with still malleable demands, this would have terrible consequences.

That accusation is so true, and I’ll explain here how I discovered this myself in my Facebook (FB) account, and how you will arrive at the same conclusion by just studying your own account.

If you’ve been using FB, I’m sure that you have wondered how, out of 6 billion Facebook posts daily by users around the world, 152 million by Filipinos*, the platform provides you with only 20, at most 30, new posts in your news feed every day.

The answer is that Facebook employs an artificial intelligence software that chooses which of these billions of posts appear in your news feed. First of all, because FB tracks your ISP number, it easily determines that you are using FB from the Philippines. Therefore, it filters posts mainly coming from the Philippines, or else you’d get bored using FB if you keep getting updates from Iceland or Uganda. Filling out the “About” section, e.g., marital status, gender, etc., gives it more parameters on what kind of posts you’d like.


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Parex: Brilliant idea badmouthed by Google surfers

TO be quite frank, I think the Pasig River Expressway (Parex) scheme, a P95-billion undertaking of government with the San Miguel Corp., to build a 19-kilometer elevated expressway along the banks of the Pasig River, is a stroke of genius, a brilliant out-of-the-box idea. It would run from the Radial Road 10 in Manila all the way to Taguig, with several exits along its course, including one to skyways leading to the NLEx and SLEx.

I should know. Many years back, I was with a study group that researched and brainstormed how the horrendous Metro Manila traffic that was costing the country at least P4 billion daily could be solved.

None of us thought of a highway along the Pasig River. This was probably because at the time, it was so polluted, its banks (especially along Pasay and Manila) sickeningly crowded both with the poorest squatters and big-business warehouses, that it seemed impossible to imagine these areas being cleared for decades.

(Top) Artist’s rendition of Parex segment; above the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan by the Hudson River as shown in a photo from the New York City website

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Will it be Sara-Bong, Bong-Sara, or Bong/Sara-Duterte?

THE latest PulseAsia survey on the May 22 national elections, and similar published and unpublished polls, very strongly point to the next administration being made up of any of these teams:

‚Äď President¬†Sara Duterte-Carpio (24 percent in that poll) and vice president (VP)¬†Rodrigo Duterte¬†(14 percent for that post);

‚Äď President Sara and vice president Ferdinand “Bongbong”¬†Marcos Jr.¬†(12 percent for VP in the poll);

‚Äď President Marcos (14 percent) and vice president Sara; and

‚Äď Either president Marcos or president Sara and vice president Duterte.


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Locsin talks as if he were the US spokesman

ONE of President¬†Duterte’s historic legacies has been, as he put it, “to separate the Philippines from the US.” That is a bit of understatement: in so many words (and curses), Duterte has declared that the Philippines under his leadership is ending its decades-long puppetry to the US, and it will no longer be the American surrogate in¬†Asia¬†in that superpower’s campaign against¬†China, as his predecessor scandalously was.

Locsin’s puppetry to the US was most recently demonstrated last week when he issued a shamelessly pro-American statement supporting the¬†Australia-United Kingdom-United States¬†(Aukus)¬†Enhanced Trilateral Security Partnership, and its first major move, the US’ sale of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, the first ever turnover of such highly secret high-tech weapons system to a foreign country.

That sale sent shock waves around the globe, not only in Asia but in the world. It was the equivalent of China taking in Cuba to its alliance with Russia, and selling it its own nuclear submarines, so it could patrol the Caribbean.

The US propulsion technology is one of the “crown jewels of the American military” because it allows submarines to be stealthy when submerged and helps evade sonar detection,” the Financial Times reported. Nothing can prevent Australia from reverse-engineering the technology.


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Netizens overrun anti-Marcos Facebook posts

THE Yellows’ intense campaign last week to propagate their view that the martial law era was all black and that the strongman Ferdinand Marcos was the devil incarnate backfired on a nearly catastrophic scale.

I estimate some 300,000 comments deluged posts by Marcos bashers, among them the University of the Philippines’ (UP) “Dambana ng Gunita” series, Bam Aquino, and even the tiny opposition social club 1Sambayan’s “roundtable discussion on bridging generations.”

It was the equivalent of a people power uprising, this time against the Yellows, in cyberspace.

Nearly all angry comments against him and Bam
Nearly all angry comments against him and Bam

A similar show of force occurred in the 20-million-plus “unsubscribe” actions against Raffy Tulfo’s YouTube channel in retaliation against his declaration that he would bring ABS-CBN back when he wins as senator.

The DDS ‚ÄĒ diehard Duterte supporters, who are also all pro-Marcos ‚ÄĒ now control social media, a formidable force in the 2022 elections, especially considering that even by early next year, Covid-19 will likely still be with us, limiting in-person campaigning. Anybody who knows how social media and Facebook work would laugh at the Ressa or Hontiveros kind of allegations that President Rodrigo Duterte has a massive “troll farm.” Check out for yourself that Bam Aquino post described here and go over the comments ‚ÄĒ these come from ordinary people.


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Dictatorship of the Dilawan through Facebook?

TO be quite honest, there was a moment of fear, nervous apprehension that an Orwellian Big Brother was monitoring my every post.

As melodramatic as that may sound, you’ll feel it, and be ashamed of yourself for feeling it, when, after such an innocent move as reposting an inspirational maxim (I think I was reposting a Krishnamurti quotation), you get a message as I did several days ago: “Account Restricted.

You can’t post or comment for 24 hours.” I clicked on the button “Why?”, and got the message, in really bad English: “Multiple posts from the last year didn’t follow our standards.”

Bad English, as it wasn’t clear, “from the last year”? You mean the last year 2020 or the year to today?

No button to click to ask for an explanation, which posts? which standards? In my 11 active years as a Facebook user, I have never been blocked nor suspended. In all my decades as a journalist, not one of my articles was blocked by the publisher, nor was I asked not to write a particular piece.


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