MANILA, Philippines – It’s a farce. It’s insane. It’s a big lie.
Journalists, citizens, and public officials whose names appeared in the latest set of conspiracy diagrams presented by Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Wednesday, May 8, mocked Malacañang for spending time on what they described as lies.
“It officially verifies the level of idiocy and incompetence in Malacañang,” said journalist Inday Espina Varona, who was one of those identified in the diagrams as conniving with the Magdalo party to discredit President Rodrigo Duterte.
“People who know the Magdalo guys and who know me probably have aching tummies from laughing. It’s not even a Z-movie. Panelo isn’t just a liar. He’s an IQ-challenged liar," she added.
Panelo said they presented the diagrams to illustrate the “intelligence information” received by the President about a “deliberate conspiracy between certain groups to discredit this administration for the purpose of the election.”
The midterm elections are happening on Monday, May 13.
Veteran journalist and Vera Files president Ellen Tordesillas challenged Malacañang to “present evidence, not just silly diagrams.”
Some names were put in the diagrams merely for spreading anti-Duterte sentiments online, Panelo conceded.
One of those named in the diagram is Edwin Lacierda, who served as presidential spokesperson of former president Benigno Aquino III. Lacierda poked fun at what he called the “new technology” discovered by government – “The Grade School Matrix.”
Lacierda said: “I understand that my name was linked because I am an active liker of Gary Alejano’s posts on FB. If that is true, this government has all abandoned its sanity.”
Malacañang also again showed the diagram that lumped Rappler with other so-called destabilizers.
Rappler said: "We've long moved from laughable to farce. These moves are insidious and dangerous. As technology has proven, a lie told a million times becomes the truth. More so when it's a concerted campaign from social media, government co-opted media, and from the podium of power, Malacanang. It's clear there will be consequences if journalists keep asking questions. But independent media will not be silenced or intimidated by silly diagrams and lousy scripts."
Below are the reactions of other people named in the diagrams:
Opposition senatorial candidate Florin Hilbay
I categorically deny being involved in efforts to destabilize the government, and I'm confident that my Otso Diretso running mates can say the same. Unless Panelo can prove the matrix with credible evidence, tsismis na naman ito (it's just gossip). The release of the "Matrix 2.0" is just a desperate attempt to undermine the opposition's groundswell in the coming elections.
Opposition senatorial candidate and incumbent Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano
I categorically state that I am not involved in the Bikoy videos and have not conspired with anybody to produce such videos. I do not know Bikoy and have not met him ever. The new “matrix” that Malacañang released is meant to destroy the image of the opposition before the electorate as what the President has been doing in campaign sorties. Do they feel threatened by us to resort to such ludicrous and cowardly acts?