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Mocha runs blog on her own? Why was it 'live' as she spoke?

MANILA, Philippines – "Meron ka bang filter? Meron ka bang nagre-review ng mga pino-post mo?" (Do you have a filter? Does anyone review your posts?) Senator Antonio Trillanes IV asked.

"Ako lang po, Sir (It's just me, Sir)," Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson answered.

"Ikaw lang?" (Just you?)

"Wala pong nagre-review." (No one reviews it.)

"So walang nagve-vet ng veracity ng mga pino-post mo?" Trillanes asked again. (So no one vets the veracity of your posts?)

"Ano lang naman po 'yan, personal opinion ko lang 'yan, Sir," Uson said. (It's just my personal opinion, Sir.)

At the Senate hearing on fake news on Wednesday, October 4, pro-Duterte blogger Uson insisted that she alone handles her propaganda blog. Uson made these statements under oath.

The activities on her Facebook page, however, contradicted her own statements.

A screenshot taken by Rappler at 2:42 pm on Wednesday showed that Mocha Uson Blog was live on Facebook while the hearing was taking place. 

Mocha Uson Blog was rebroadcasting, not just sharing, a live feed from state-run PTV. 

The "Cignal" watermark on Uson's live feed indicates that the video was rebroadcast from a TV connected to satellite provider Cignal. Uson did not have a Cignal-connected TV beside her during the Senate hearing. What she had was a smartphone. 

Therefore Uson, who was seated in the Senate's Recto Room throughout the 5-hour hearing, could not have done this complicated broadcast process on her own.

Rebroadcasting video on Facebook

Based on broadcast experience, this process of rebroadcasting requires at least a computer, a video capturing device, and livestream software. The total cost would range from P62,000 to P150,000.

This process too would require at least another person controlling Uson's account from the back end. 

The process of rebroadcasting PTV video to Uson's Facebook page would involve the following steps:

Uson did not have these equipment with her during Wednesday's hearing.

In the early parts of the hearing, before Mocha Uson Blog shifted to a rebroadcast of PTV video, there was another Facebook Live video on Mocha Uson Blog.

SEATED ACROSS. Who was handling and taking Facebook Live video on Mocha Uson Blog while its owner was seated across the broadcast gadget? Screenshot from Mocha Uson Blog

SEATED ACROSS.

Who was handling and taking Facebook Live video on Mocha Uson Blog while its owner was seated across the broadcast gadget? Screenshot from Mocha Uson Blog

 

The earlier Facebook Live video had shaky footage – from a simpler gadget such as a smartphone or a tablet – and was handled by a person other than Uson.

The person handling the gadget was seated in a row across the blogger. 

This means at least two other people – one handling the gadget at the Senate, and another controlling the rebroadcast of Facebook video from a Cignal-connected TV – had authority not just to "review" posts on Uson's blog, but also to air and publish Facebook Live video.

Links to the administration

The Senate hearing on Wednesday revealed links between the Duterte administration and pro-Duterte bloggers, such as Uson, who have propagated many pieces of fake news.

During the hearing, Malacañang consultant and suspended lawyer Trixie Cruz Angeles admitted that she helps "feed" information for Uson's propaganda blog. 

Blogger Rey Joseph Nieto, also called Thinking Pinoy, said he is a consultant for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Nieto works for the office headed by Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola, who was Duterte running mate Alan Peter Cayetano's chief of staff at the Senate.

A day after the Senate hearing, a viral social media post, which was verified by Rappler, revealed that Nieto also won a consultancy deal at the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) on top of his job at the DFA.

BCDA claimed that Nieto eventually refused this job, in a statement issued after the webpage containing Nieto's contract suddenly became a dead link. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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