MANILA - A blogger who is working as a consultant of the Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday named anonymous individuals behind certain blogs and websites that condemned senators who failed to sign a resolution against the killing of minors.
In a Senate probe on fake news, Rey Joseph "RJ" Nieto of "Thinking Pinoy" said Eduardo Angelo Dayao "Cocoy" Dayao, which he claims to be a member of the communications team of the Aquino administration, is the administrator of the "Silent No More PH" website.
"I discovered na 'yung website ng Silent No More PH, Madam Claudia, and a lot of other websites share a similar characteristic. They served as advertisements of a single account. I was able to find out who the account holder is, which is Eduardo Angelo Dayao," he said.
"Silent No More PH" earlier published an article saying 7 majority senators refused to sign a Senate resolution condemning extra-judicial killings and the killings of the youth under the administration's drug war.
Senator Francis Pangilinan has clarified that he sent out a copy of the resolution to these senators before it was filed. However, the senators said they did not receive any email.
"It's incorrect to say they refused to sign. We sent it to the emails and we said that if they wish to sponsor it, we can send the resolution to them but that doesn't mean they refused," said Pangilinan.
Meanwhile, Nieto said he found out that Dayao is operating 21 other websites, including the page ProPinoy, which he found out was co-founded by a certain Niña Terol.
Nieto said Terol worked for the communications team of Senators Pangilinan and Bam Aquino before. The blogger said he will name more people in these websites but he sought "blanket immunity" so he would not be held liable to the information he will be divulging.
Dayao failed to appear during Wednesday's hearing despite a Senate invitation.
During the hearing, former presidential spokespersons Edwin Lacierda and Abigail denied owning or contributing to the Silent No More blog as alleged by a different blog. Both former officials as well as former Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office undersecretary Manolo Lopez also denied hiring Dayao.
'POINTLESS FACT-CHECK OR ENDANGERING JOURNALISTS?'
In his testimony, Nieto hit journalist Ellen Tordesillas of Vera Files for publishing a "pointless" fact check on his criticism against photojournalist Jes Aznar for allegedly posting live updates of military operations in Marawi City, which might endanger the soldiers.
"Naglabas daw po ng fact check 'yung Vera Files about it yung basis daw po nila ay using metadata nung mga pictures... Ang hindi ginawa ng Vera Files ay hindi nila chineck 'yung iba pang files ni Aznar," he said.
"Basically ang naging rebuttal ko sa Vera Files ay faulty 'yung mga timestamp dun sa mga files ni Aznar. Basically po pointless 'yung ginawa nilang fact check. Wala akong narinig na reply from Vera Files after that," he added.
For her part, Tordesillas said what Nieto claimed in his website was a very serious allegation against the photojournalist.
She said there was even a report that the military was intending to sanction Aznar for these accusations.
Tordesillas said Vera Files has a very technical fact checking process that showed Aznar did not post any live video or photo of the military operations in Marawi.
"It was not live. It was recorded. Kumuha pa kami ng professional opinion. Ang lumabas, ito hindi na-endanger ni Jes Aznar 'yung troops kasi pinost niya yung video nung umalis na sila. Kasama niya 'yung troops na umalis," she said.
Nieto also linked a certain Joyce Ramirez to the #NasaanAngPangulo campaign against former President Noynoy Aquino at the height of Mamasapano tragedy.
An angry Edwin Lacierda, former Presidential spokesperson, however, said Nieto's allegations are baseless and malicious.
"It's a very offensive statement made by Mr. Nieto here. An allegation that has no basis. We were there on the day the caskets were flown into Villamor. Mr. Nieto spoke of an irresponsible statement and it's very malicious, all on the basis of allegations," Lacierda said.
"During the campaign, Mamasapano was an issue against Mar Roxas. If he claims that #NasaanAngPangulo campaign was used as a basis to distance Mar Roxas from the President, its not true," he added.
Lacierda explained that there was an instance were Aquino was not in the wake because he wanted the families of the fallen elite cops to have their private time with their dead loved ones.
'RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH'
During the hearing, Nieto confirmed that he wrote a blog post in 2016 that discussed why the Liberal Party would want to "assassinate" President Duterte before 2019.
The blogger, who is paid P12,000 a month as a consultant of the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, said the post is his own opinion.
"I like imagining scenarios based on what I think how people would act . When I wrote that particular post, I am not saying LP will assassinate Duterte...For a business, it is like continuity planning," he said.
He also said he does not lose his right to free speech even after he became a consultant. "I don't think it's a crime to hurt feelings," he said.
He confirmed that he posed for a picture with Mike Lopez outside the office of detained Sen. Leila de Lima.
"If anybody thinks there is anything objectionable about that, I think they can write a complaint, send it to me and we can talk about it. Otherwise, I think I am entitled to be free from prior constraint," he said, adding that is willing to resign if he has broken any laws.
He also said given a choice, he would not have worked for DFA. "Parang alila lang kami dun. We are only given P12,000. It's not even enough to pay for taxi. It's just that DFA needs me more than I need them and I want to help the government succeed. Hindi ako nagyayabang."