'Unapologetic' fake news spreaders an 'insult' to gov't officials – Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo did not mince words against pro-administration bloggers turned government officials who have been caught spreading false information online.

Robredo did not mention any names, but she said those who were invited to the Senate hearing on the spread of fake news were "unapologetic" and "arrogant."

"Unang-una, iyong iba sa kanila na nandoon sa Senado ay pinagmulan ng maraming kasinungalingan tungkol sa akin, pero unapologetic. Walang bahid ng pagsisisi. Parang walang kahihiyan. At iyong masama pa sa lahat, parang iyong yabang at angas, nandoon eh," Robredo said in an interview with reporters on Thursday, October 5.

(First, some of the people invited to the Senate were the ones who started the lies against me, but they were unapologetic. It seems they aren't ashamed of it. What's worse is that they are being arrogant and smug about it.) 

Among those invited to the Senate hearing were Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and Thinking Pinoy blogger Rey Joseph Nieto, who told senators he is now a consultant at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). (READ: Thinking Pinoy didn't tell Senate he won consultancy at BCDA)

Uson and Nieto are known for their hateful comments against the Vice President. They both supported ouster calls against Robredo. 

The Vice President, however, said she did not want to dignify the purveyors of lies against her. Robredo then said that her critics' actions are an insult to other government officials who do their job well.

"Para sa akin, insulto ito sa maraming kawani ng pamahalaan na naninilbihan sa taumbayan kahit napakakaunti ng nakukuhang kapalit. Iyong sa atin, iyong paniniwala natin bilang mga Pilipino, na iyong paninilbihan para sa bayan, isang pribilehiyong hindi nabibigay sa lahat," she added. 

(For me, this is an insult to many government officials who are serving the people even if they are getting paid little for it. I believe that being able to serve Filipinos is a privilege not given to many.) 

Robredo also called out Nieto for saying the DFA needed him more than he needed them

"Para sabihin mong hindi mo kailangan iyong pamahalaan, iyong pamahalaan iyong nangangailangan sa iyo, parang ito ba tayo bilang Pilipino? Hindi tayo ganito eh," said the Vice President. 

(For you to say that you don't need the government, that the government needs you more, is that how we are as Filipinos? We're not like this.)

"Kaya sa akin lang, siguro iyong realization ko lang habang pinapanood ko: Papayagan ba natin na iyong kasamaang ganito iyong magpe-prevail?" she added.

(This is my realization when I was watching yesterday: Are we going to let evil like this prevail?)

This view was not shared by former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, who had accused Robredo of cheating in the May 2016 polls and filed an electoral protest against her.

Marcos said readers should just avoid reading blogs and posts they believe are spreading false information, instead of telling bloggers to be more responsible and accountable for their posts. He also said the Marcos family has long been a victim of fake news. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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