MANILA—Vice-President Leni Robredo said the government should not release unverified information in the form of a so-called "matrix", especially since those affect the reputation of people involved.
This was after Malacañang on Monday released a diagram linking journalists and lawyers that have been critical of the Duterte administration to an alleged plot to destabilize the government.
"Ang alam ko lang, marami doon members of the media, mayroon ngang mga human rights lawyers. Wala naman kasing explanation kung paano sila nasama doon. Kaya naman parating with a grain of salt iyong pagtanggap natin ng balita," she told reporters during the Ahon Laylayan Koalisyon Launch in Marawi City.
(I just know there are members of the media in the matrix, there are also human rights lawyers. It was not explained how their names ended up in the matrix, that's why we should always take it with a grain of salt.)
According to Robredo, her name was also dragged in an alleged ouster plot in the past even when she knew nothing about it.
"Iyong unang matrix na nagde-destabilize ng gobyerno, nandoon ako — iyong pinakauna, ito iyong hindi totoo. So ano iyong chances na ito din ay hindi reliable? Kailangan sana, bago magpapalabas ng kahit ano, napag-aralan nang mabuti. Kasi iyong pinakaunang nilabas, nandoon iyong pangalan ko, wala naman akong kaalam-alam sa paratang nila," she said.
(The first matrix supposedly destabilizing the government, my name was included, but it was not true. So what are the chances that this matrix is also unreliable? It would have been better if they study it carefully before they release it. My name was included in the first matrix yet I don't know anything about it.
"Kaya ito naman, kung mayroong ebidensya, ilabas, kasuhan. Pero hindi yata maganda na iyong basta-basta lang magbibigay ng suspicions na wala namang basehan," Robredo added.
(In this case, if they have evidence, release it, file a case. Pero it is not good to voice out suspicions without basis.)
The vice-president said similar flow charts could damage the reputation of those involved, even if the allegations are not proven.
"Pero para kasi sa akin, sana hindi naglalabas ng mga ganito na hindi pa validated, kasi maraming mga reputation ng mga tao ang madadamay," Robredo said.
(I hope they don't release things like this that are not validated, because it affects the reputation of those involved.)
"Hindi ito first time na nagpalabas ng matrix, na iyong una definitely hindi totoo, kasi iyong inclusion ko nga doon, hindi naman totoo. So ito, ang likelihood na hindi rin siya reliable, napakalaki," she added.
(This is not the first time they released a matrix. The first one was definitely not true, because I was included in the matrix. That is not true. So this one, there is a big possibility that this is unreliable.)
The Manila Times report on the said matrix links several news organizations and journalists that have been critical of the Duterte administration to an alleged plot to destabilize the government.
Written by Dante Ang, the report states that media practitioners allegedly plant fake news, “manipulate public emotion, touch base with the Leftist organization, enlist the support of the police and the military, then go for the ‘kill’.”
The National Union of Peoples' Lawyers has also denied the allegations against it.
The matrix is "not only a bait to engage in absurd and endless tit for tat to distract" them, but it also endangers the lives of their members, said the NUPL leaders.