Trillanes seeks probe on 'fake' info from gov't officials


Posted at Mar 07 2017 08:04 PM

Senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar. Composite Photos

MANILA - Senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV on Tuesday filed a resolution seeking a Senate inquiry on the "massive proliferation" of "distorted, fabricated and/or misleading" information given by some government officials.

In his resolution, Trillanes cited Article XI, Section 9 of the 1987 Constitution which states that "public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people."

He also cited the Code of Conduct for government employees, which requires them to "perform and discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill."

Trillanes cited different instances wherein government officials, like Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre spread "false and/or erroneous allegations."

"PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar made a deliberate but false and/or erroneous allegations that bribes amounting to as much as $1,000 were given to members of the Senate Press Corps in exchange for their coverage of the said conference," Trillanes wrote in his resolution.

According to Trillanes, the claim is "unfounded, unverified and was clearly used to malign and discredit" him and members of the Senate Press Corps, especially after Andanar failed to prove his allegations.

Trillanes also mentioned how the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) refuted Andanar's claim that CHR cleared President Rodrigo Duterte of his involvement in extrajudicial killings and the Davao Death Squad.

Trillanes, likewise, cited several statements made by Aguirre, including his alleged involvement in the Bureau of Immigration bribery scandal, as well as the alleged bribe try by former Senator Jamby Madrigal and Biñan, Laguna Representative Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat on Bilibid inmates who testified against Senator Leila de Lima. 

For Trillanes, such misinformation easily proliferates through modern technology, and government officials "should be more careful and should be held directly responsible for their public pronouncements."

"It is the responsibility of the Congress, as one of the independent branches of the government, to exercise its role in the system of checks and balances between the three great branches of the government, and ensure that no government officials would be using or taking advantage of their positions, whether deliberately or not, to disseminate fake, distorted, baseless or fabricated and/or erroneous news and false information and/or to mislead the public," the senator wrote.

Trillanes also said an inquiry should be launched to "ensure that the public will not be deceived, and that government officials will not abuse the platform accorded to them in order to spread propaganda and/or lies."