MANILA - Twitter page Barurot News on Tuesday night explained that its content is satirical, in response to a cyberlibel case filed by a Metropolitan Manila Development Authority official against the page's administrators.
The complaint - which slammed the page for their "malicious and fake posts" - stemmed from the page's tweet, containing MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago's photo with the caption: "MMDA sa Commuters: Kung Nahihirapan Sumakay, ’Wag Na Lang Pumasok."
Posting as "Chief Justice Lyca Gairanod," Barurot News clarified in a statement that it was a satirical account and that it was not really posting as Lyca Gairanod to prove its point. Gairanod was the first-ever champion of "The Voice Kids Philippines."
Barurot News said it was clear from the start that Barurot News was a satirical site which twitted public officials using tabloid-styled content.
"Klaro na ito ay isang satirical site na naglalabas ng mga puna sa mga opisyal at iba't ibang isyu sa pamamagitan ng pabalita na tweets," the page said.
Some of its fake news headlines include "Manananggal, Nagaalok ng Libreng Sakay sa mga Estudyante", "Hawakan ng Tenga sa Van Gogh Alive, Kasado Na" and "Dalagang Walang Pambayad sa Renta, 6 Buwan Nang Naninirahan sa Anytime Fitness."
As "Chief Justice Gairanod," Barurot News insisted that satire was not libel, citing a case which ruled satire as "protective speech."
Pialago had earlier gone viral for a Facebook post berating jeepney drivers who joined a Sept. 30 transport strike to protest a government order to replace their vehicles with modernized units worth P2.2 million.
The page also added that it was not at fault for posting such content, saying government officials are held accountable for the public's trust, and that Pialago's move would violate freedom of speech.
Barurot News also slammed Pialago for being "out of touch" with the plight of commuters and jeepney drivers.
Pialago was not singled out too, Barurot News said, noting that other officials and personalities - including President Rodrigo Duterte and members of the opposition- were also criticized by their page.
Barurot News closed the statement with the words: "This too, shall pass away," citing Pialago's brouhaha in a TV Patrol interview where she said her former competitor - who passed out in the Miss Earth Philippines swimsuit category - had "passed away."