Journalists, lawyers in ‘ouster plot matrix’ may face cases — PNP chief
MANILA, Philippines — Journalists, lawyers, and other personalities in the matrix released by Malacañang on the alleged plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte may face cases if proven that they are trying to destabilize the government.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde issued the statement on Tuesday, as he added that the PNP is already investigating the alleged matrix.
“If evidence warrants, they can always be [sued and have] cases filed against them. Ang ano dito is always we go for evidence. We go for evidence, ‘yung talagang substantial evidence that will stand in court,” he said in a press briefing.
(If evidence warrants, they can always be sued and have cases filed against them. We always go for evidence, a substantial evidence that will stand in court.)
Albayalde, however, cannot specify which cases those tagged in the matrix will be facing, as they have yet to receive any directive from the President on the matter.
Albayalde also said that the PNP has not been ordered to place under surveillance those personalities tagged in the alleged matrix either, with the ongoing investigation being an initiative of the agency.
The matrix which was first published in a local newspaper linked to the alleged ouster plot news agency Rappler, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Vera Files, the National Union of People’s Lawyers, and “Bikoy,” the hooded man in the series of videos who tagged close allies and relatives of the President to a drug syndicate.
Albayalde also cannot confirm if the PNP had any part in the creation of the matrix as he has yet to confer with the PNP Directorate for Intelligence, although he said it is possible that part of the information came from the police.
“Probably a portion. I have not talked with the Directorate for Intelligence yet because pwede naman siyang magreport directly to the President pag may mga specific na instructions or may mga specific na gustong itanong ang Pangulo,” he said.
(Probably a portion. I have not talked with the Director for Intelligence yet because he can report directly to the President if the chief executive has specific instructions or questions.)
Palace Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said that the matrix he released in a press briefing with Malacañang reporters on Monday came from the President himself. He however said he does not know where the President got the information.
The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) has dismissed the reliability of the matrix, saying it is “wrong on many points.”
Rappler’s Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa has likewise called out the government for spreading what she called “lies to manipulate its people.” /muf
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