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NUPL, Bayan Muna eye raps vs those behind ‘Oust Duterte’ matrix

Updated @ 2:01 a.m., April 24, 2019, to add details

MANILA, Philippines — Representatives of Bayan Muna and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) on Tuesday said they were studying the possibility of filing charges against individuals behind the matrix that tagged them as being involved in an alleged plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

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“It is an option on our part, collectively or individually, to file legal cases against those who are responsible for this latest script that is absurd, funny, hilarious, if not life-threatening to those whose names are listed in the matrix,” Bayan Muna chair and Makabayan senatorial bet Neri Colmenares said in a press conference in Quezon City.

Colmenares called the President a “big disappointment to the legal profession,” having abandoned its basic tenets, particularly the credibility of evidence and witnesses.

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“Malacañang must have been so angry when I made an exposé on the Chinese loan for Chico Dam and the plight of our fisherfolk in Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal,” Colmenares said.

Red October’

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate compared the administration’s recent “exposé” of an ouster plot to the supposed “Red October” plot exposed by the military last year but which was later proven false.

“One can see the coordinated pattern of attacks against the opposition before the elections to camouflage and justify the dirty operations they plan to do during Election Day itself,” Zarate said.

While calling the matrix “fake” and “baseless,” lawyer Rey Cortez, NUPL secretary general, pointed out that it remained a “dangerous” allegation and a threat to the lawyers and other individuals named in it.

A major broadsheet on Monday published a diagram, titled “Association Matrix Between Bikoy and Ellen Tordesillas,” that showed the alleged links between the anonymous “Bikoy,” whose videos had accused the Dutertes of having ties with a drug syndicate, the NUPL and journalists from Rappler, Vera Files and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

The journalists have called the matrix “a lie” and have denied its accusations.

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs chief Col. Noel Detoyato said the AFP had not monitored any specific threat to overthrow the President.

The Philippine National Police, which earlier admitted it had no evidence of a plot, said it was validating the matrix even if the police had yet to receive an order to do so from the President.

Diversionary tactic

PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde, however, said there were no plans as yet to file any complaints against those named in the matrix.

In the Senate, opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the matrix and the alleged destabilization plot were a diversionary tactic meant to sow fear among the President’s critics.

In a television interview, the Liberal Party president noted that it was Mr. Duterte himself who once said that for every five things he says, three are untrue.

“I think this is one of them,” he said of the alleged ouster plot.

‘Share only truthful info’

In Malacañang, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar reminded the public of their civic responsibility “to share only truthful and correct information.”

At the same time, Andanar said the involvement of journalists and lawyers in a supposed plot to oust the President was “alarming,” and warned that the government was now equipped with the technology to track down the source of the “Bikoy” videos.

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/muf /pdi /atm

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TAGS: Bayan Muna, matrix, Media, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, NUPL, Ouster plot, President Rodrigo Duterte
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