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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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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:

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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.

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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.

‘Comelec 35’ fetched by Col. Kapunan. PHOTO FROM HTTPS://POINTWEST.COM.PH/ARTICLE/EDSA30-HEROES-UNLOOKED-THE-COMELEC-35/

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.

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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.

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Rappler funder Omidyar helped topple Ukrainian president in 2014

I WROTE the article that follows back in October 2017. After that highly popular Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted, assisted by Rappler-like media outfits funded by Omidyar and the National Endowment for Democracy, the US put as head of that hapless country pro-US, anti-Russia presidents, to make it hostile to a country that by history, tradition and economy is closest to it.

That is the root of the current Ukraine stand-off with Russia, as its head Putin has become desperate that the US with its NATO puppet have been encircling his country, what with Ukraine under its thumb. Putin decided to fight back.

Located at opposite sides of the globe, yet Ukraine and the Philippines have something very worrying in common. The US want both countries to be its attack dog against its rivals in two hemispheres: Ukraine vs Russia, and the Philippines vs China.

The US mobilized a number of Rappler-like media outfits to brainwash Ukrainians to boot out the pro-Russia Yanukovich in 2014 and has demonized Russia so much that they have run to Americans for help.

The US has been using its “Ukraine template” to oust President Duterte, who has drawn the country close to China, with the same tactics of funding media outfits and “human rights” organizations to pull his popularity down so a coup, by the military or by the parliament (which was used against Yanukovych). If President Duterte were really an authoritarian, he could have asked Congress to pass a law, as Putin did in 2015, to ban such American-funded outfits undermining a country’s sovereignty. After all, in our case the Constitution specifically bans media outfits from getting foreign funding.

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