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Vera Files linked to US State Department unit behind ‘fact-checking’ outfits

VERA Files appears to be part of an international network of self-declared media “fact-checkers” coordinated and supported by a US State Department unit called the Global Engagement Center (GEC), the Americans’ newest propaganda outfit.

Image capture from organization’s website.

While organized way back in 2010, Vera Files started getting funds from the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy only in 2017. This was after the GEC was created through the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act passed by the US Congress in 2016.

By 2021, the website-only Vera Files had received a total of $350,600 — or P20 million — from the NED.

This is a colossal amount considering that Vera Files is just a website without any print edition, employs no full-time reporters, and has a staff of only three editors and two internet technicians. Vera Files has never disclosed how it got to spend P20 million in five years.

Vera Files and its “board of trustees” president Ellen Tordesillas’ names appeared in the State Department GEC’s emails and files obtained by the Washington, D.C.-based civil rights nonprofit America First Legal (AFL) through a US Freedom of Information lawsuit filed May 2, 2023.


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ICC report vs Duterte based solely on Rappler, biased media reports

First of 2 Parts

THE International Criminal Court’s demand for an investigation of alleged widespread extrajudicial killings (EJKs) during President Duterte’s war against illegal drugs (WoD) is not only an intrusion into our sovereignty. If you read the two prosecutors’ June 2021 report* recommending the probe, you will be shocked:

Her Rappler was the ICC’s main source of ‘information.’ (Rear left, her executive editor.)

It is totally based on biased media reports — legally hearsay in the justice system of civilized countries.

Indeed, in its September reply to the ICC prosecutors’ report, the Office of the Solicitor General pointed out: “The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) predominantly relied on media reports… and failed to explain its lack of consideration for government’s explanations.”

The OSG argued that this violated a provision of the Rome Statute that created the ICC, which requires the OPT to “investigate incriminating and exonerating circumstances equally.”


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The age of shallow social media, like Rappler and Pinoy Ako, is ending

ABOUT two years ago, I had an epiphany of what social media really was about. In a mall’s hardware section, on a grumpy morning trying to buy a replacement for a busted light bulb, I saw a young salesgirl dancing, with her co-worker taking a video of her with her Chinese-made cellphone.

In Filipino of course, I told her in an admonishing tone: “What the hell are you doing?” She replied, still smiling: “Para sa TikTok lang ho, para dumami followers ko.”

She captured in essence what social media, or at least what its huge shallow part has become: a venue for creating for the user the illusion, the delusion, that the world is acknowledging her existence, no matter how silly she was.

Especially as social media has engulfed the planet to be used by the masses — practically 77 million Filipinos or all of its adult, literate population are registered users — the essence of what many Facebook, Instagram and Twitter denizens are posting are merely verbal versions of that underpaid salesgirl’s TikTok dancing.


Continue ReadingThe age of shallow social media, like Rappler and Pinoy Ako, is ending
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Just fine Rappler? Its officers should even be jailed, SEC thinks

YES, that’s what the Securities and Exchange Commission — consisting of five accomplished lawyers — said they would have ordered, jail the Rappler officers, on top of directing the foreign firm dissolved — if only it was empowered to do so. Such penalties are directed by Presidential Decree 1018, which remains part of the country’s body of laws.

This is of course in complete contrast to this newspaper’s editorial July 3, 2022 which claimed in its very first sentence that Rappler should just be fined for “violating the Constitution,” and not ordered closed. Right, just fine them just as the State would speeding drivers.

Mull a bit how terribly absurd that claim is. The Constitution is the very basic law of the land, the document that defines our nation, the primordial contract Filipinos have agreed to abide by. Its importance is such that it is really the most concrete thing to which Philippine presidents swear to:


Continue ReadingJust fine Rappler? Its officers should even be jailed, SEC thinks

The law finally catches up with Rappler

SIX years after it started investigating charges against Rappler for violating the constitutional provision banning foreign ownership in media, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last June 28 finally ruled Rappler incontestably guilty of the charges and ordered it closed. The decision was unanimous among the five SEC commissioners, who were either career people or had impeccable qualifications as attorneys and CPAS.

We are indeed moving toward building a Strong Republic, with a regulatory body demonstrating independence from powerful private entities, ignoring the shrieks of a grossly uninformed Western media alleging the press is being suppressed by a dictator in the country.

It declared Rappler as well as the holding company its investors used to evade the Constitution, to be non-existent as a corporation, and therefore without any authority to operate as an entity. Its CEO and founder, Maria Ressa, an American more than a Filipino citizen, of course pooh-poohed the SEC decision, saying it is business as usual for Rappler.


Continue ReadingThe law finally catches up with Rappler
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Ressa, Coronel spit on our historic elections

I’VE long been disgusted with these two US-domiciled* media persons since they had been mainly responsible for the country’s bad image abroad starting in 2016, just because they hate President Duterte.

Now they’ve really disgraced themselves and insulted our country by spitting on the recent elections, the purest demonstration of real people power in this country, that put Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as our president and Sara Duterte-Caprio as vice president.

As if deranged that Leni Robredo, the candidate she and her US-funded site openly supported, lost by the first landslide ever in this country, a clear and total rejection of that fraud, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa went to town to get interviewed by as many foreign media as she could.


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US-funded media firms here campaigning for Robredo

FOUR US-funded, local news websites are campaigning one way or another for the pro-American Leni Robredo to become president.

I find this disgusting and shameful for my colleagues to be doing.

The Constitution bars any foreign money in media — a means, even if a modest one, of ensuring Filipinos are in control of the apparatus that mold its citizens minds. You may not agree with that, but that is our Constitution and we are duty bound to follow the basic law of the land.

Yet four local news websites, run by Filipinos (one by a Filipino American, Maria Ressa) have defied this ban, and spat on this constitutional principle, by taking in foreign funds, in two cases, for more than a decade now, totaling P170 million, which is their outfits’ main means of funding, and apparently a lucrative source of their individual incomes.

And these are not just funds from some foreign entity. These come from the government itself of a still hegemonic superpower, the US, which wants to control as many nations as it can — not always through arms, but through control of the minds of these countries’ leaders.


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Fire Jimenez, let Comelec en banc decide atrocious agreement with US-funded Rappler

COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez hasn’t denied my report Wednesday that it was he who pushed the body’s scandalous agreement with Rappler, a website financed by the US government and other Amercian entities. Jimenez would be a terribly incompetent spokesman if he hasn’t heard of the principle — in law and in newsrooms — that silence means acquiescence to allegations.

Rappler since 2016 has been inarguably an unfair partisan news site — even more than the Philippine Daily Inquirer — that has been the propaganda venue of the Yellows (now Pinks) against President Duterte. It’s a no-brainer that Rappler can’t be allowed to participate in any work of the Comelec, unless the latter deliberately wants to put its integrity under a cloud of doubt, which I think is the Jimenez-Rappler plan for the May elections.

Jimenez, whom insiders claim acts as if he is a commissioner despite his Director IV rank, as he feels he knows the Comelec more than any higher official since he has been its spokesman since 2004, took advantage of the fact that its acting chairman Socorro Inting was just easing into that post when its chairman Sheriff Abas retired last February 2.


Duterte has not appointed Abas’ replacement and of the other two commissioners who also stepped down on the same day. The four sitting commissioners therefore were swamped with work especially since the national elections, the biggest task of the Comelec, was just two months away.


Continue ReadingFire Jimenez, let Comelec en banc decide atrocious agreement with US-funded Rappler
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Comelec spokesman responsible for scandalous, illegal deal with Rappler

IT was James Jimenez, Commission on Election spokesman since 2004 — who has only director rank in the agency — who anomalously pushed Acting Chairman Socoro Inting to approve the poll body’s atrocious and illegal agreement with Rappler that was signed last February 4.

Among others, the agreement gives the US-funded website anomalous authority during the elections such as access to data on all the voters and where they could vote, and for the agents it appoints (as MovePH “volunteers”). Sources said the agreement wasn’t even discussed nor approved by the Commission on Elections en banc.

Backed her bid: Comelec spokesman Jimenez and Ressa

The Comelec’s department, sources claimed, recommended disapproval of the agreement on grounds which were precisely those raised later by the Office of the Solicitor General.


Continue ReadingComelec spokesman responsible for scandalous, illegal deal with Rappler