‘LeniLeaks’? Cabinet has ‘more important matters’ to discuss – Esperon

Pia Ranada
‘LeniLeaks’? Cabinet has ‘more important matters’ to discuss – Esperon
(UPDATED) This is despite Communications Secretary Martin Andanar’s determination to have the alleged 'destabilization' plot – based on bloggers' information – taken up

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The “leak” of online messages about supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo planning propaganda against President Rodrigo Duterte will not be discussed during the Cabinet meeting on Monday, January 9.

This was despite Communications Secretary Martin Andanar’s determination to have it taken up in the meeting after he received a copy of the “leaked” messages from two bloggers, one of them anonymous.

While Andanar takes the “destabilization” plot seriously, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr and at least two other Cabinet secretaries dismissed the issue, saying there are more important matters to discuss.

“We have a Cabinet meeting. It happens that it will not be one of the matters that will be taken up. That just tells you that we have other more important matters [to discuss],” Esperon told reporters right before the start of the meeting.

Another Cabinet secretary, who did not want to be named, believes taking up the supposed plot would only “give it legitimacy.”

Another Cabinet official simply said, “If it were me, I would dismiss it outright.”

Esperon, however, said the plot is important “in the sense that we have to know the veracity of some things as they affect, of course, our stability, kung kaya nila (if they are capable).”

Determining ‘veracity’

Reacting to how an anonymous blogger was among those who released the report, Esperon said any investigation into the matter would merit a probe into the identity of these bloggers.

“That could be part of the overall work,” he said. 

The National Security Adviser thinks that the best way to deal with any plot against the administration is for the government to fulfill President Duterte’s promises. 

“The the best way to address this is to show that we are effective in anti-drugs, that we could address the problems that they are concerned with,” said Esperon. 

Andanar, in an interview on Sunday, January 8, said he believes the so-called “LeniLeaks” is important enough to be discussed in a Cabinet meeting.

“Yes, because it could be – it could lead into destabilization,” he said.

Andanar recalled that he told Esperon the issue was worth looking into because the issue “is already viral.”

On January 7, Andanar interviewed the two bloggers during his Facebook Live podcast supposedly to determine the “veracity” of the reports. The communications secretary did not ask the anonymous blogger to reveal his identity.

According to such reports, the group Global Filipino Diaspora Council discussed in their Yahoo! Groups page ways to defend Robredo from criticism from the supporters of Duterte and defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The pro-Duterte bloggers concluded, based on these, that the Vice President was conniving with plotters to oust the President.  Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.