MANILA, Philippines – Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr said he and his family have long been victims of fake news.
Marcos was asked on Thursday, October 5, to react to the Senate hearing on the proliferation of false information online held the day before.
“Sanay na kami diyan sa fake news. Kami mismo sa pamilya ko, 30 taon na naming tinitiis ‘yung mga kasinungalingan ng fake news na ‘yan eh,” said Marcos during a forum at the Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City. (We’re used to fake news. My family has suffered from fake news for 30 years.)
The former senator is the only son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose 21-year rule was marred by corruption, disappearances, killings, torture, and media repression.
The late dictator’s wife, Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda, and their children Bongbong, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee, and Irene have not acknowledged the abuses under Martial Law. Instead, the family is urging Filipinos to move on. (READ: Why is it difficult for Bongbong Marcos to apologize?)
The younger Marcos then mentioned the recent gathering of their supporters at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, where attendees were promised a share of the family’s ill-gotten wealth. Marcos denied his family had organized the gathering and described it as a “well-funded, political action” designed by their critics to discredit them.
On Thursday, Marcos said bloggers should not be stopped from expressing their thoughts online – whether or not they spout truthful statements. He believes the responsibility rests on the readers to stop reading blogs and posts they know are making false claims.
“I think mali ‘yung approach kasi bakit mo pipigilan ang mga blogger?… Sinasabi ko pabayaan ‘nyo because the internet is the great equalizer eh. Kung ayaw mo, halimbawa, may nagba-blog. Binasa mo ‘yung blog tapos sabihin mo puro kasinungalingan ito, eh di ‘wag mo nang basahin! That is an opinion. Everybody is allowed to express their opinion,” said Marcos.
(I think the approach is wrong, because why would you suppress bloggers?… I’ve been saying to just let them be because the internet is the great equalizer. For example, someone blogs. If you read the blog and you see it’s full of lies, then don’t read it! That’s an opinion. Everyone is allowed to express their opinion.)
He said the responsibility rests on readers to read online posts with a grain of salt.
“So if you don’t know what they’re saying, if you believe that they’re lying or this person is just masyadong mahina ang ulo, hindi tama ang kanyang pag-iisip, eh ‘di ‘wag ‘nyong basahin o ‘wag ‘nyong sundan! Pakinggan ninyo ‘yung alam ninyong marurunong (If the person is not in their right mind, then don’t read! Just listen to the people who you know are wise). You have to allow people to express themselves,” he added.
The Senate committee on public information and mass media conducted a hearing on the proliferation of fake, misleading news and false information online on Wednesday.
The panel, particularly its chairperson Senator Grace Poe, has been criticized for inviting several bloggers supporting President Rodrigo Duterte as resource persons, including Rey Joseph Nieto of Thinking Pinoy and Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson. – Rappler.com
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