Alejano dares Duterte, Panelo: Resign over ‘irresponsible Oust Duterte matrix’
MANILA, Philippines — Opposition senatorial candidate Gary Alejano on Friday challenged President Rodrigo Duterte and his spokesperson Salvador Panelo to resign over the so-called “Oust Duterte matrix,” which the staunch critic branded as “utterly irresponsible” and unverified.
READ: Panelo admits his copy of ‘Oust Duterte’ matrix came from unknown number
“The actions of Malacañang regarding the ‘Oust Duterte’ matrix are utterly irresponsible,” Alejano said in a statement. “I call on the Spokesperson Panelo and President Duterte to resign.”
Panelo presented the controversial matrix in a press briefing with members of the Malacañang Press Corps on April 22 and said that it came from the President. On Thursday, however, Panelo backtracked and said the “Oust Duterte matrix” did not directly come from the President but from an unknown source.
When asked why he did not verify the diagram before relaying it to the media, the presidential mouthpiece who also serves as chief legal counsel of Duterte said: “I don’t have to verify what the President told me because he is the President.”
“The President does not lie about these things… The President does not lie on anything, on serious matters especially it involves the work of the President. He is a very honest man,” he claimed.
But Alejano lamented this, saying Panelo has done a “grave disservice to the Filipino people” by not verifying the matrix.
Other Otso Diretso candidates have also criticized Panelo over the issue.
On the same day Panelo showed the matrix to the media, a major broadsheet published an article titled “Oust-Duterte plot bared,” which included a diagram called “Association Matrix Between Bikoy and Ellen Tordesillas.”
The so-called matrix showed the alleged links among a certain “Bikoy,” news site Rappler, media nonprofit Vera Files, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), and other journalists and lawyers as allegedly behind an attempt to unseat Duterte.
Those tagged in the matrix have denied the allegations, with NUPL calling it “putrid garbage” that is “not worth the paper it is written on.”
Bikoy, on the other hand, is the hooded personality in the series of “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos that allege the involvement of presidential son and former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte’s husband Manases Carpio, and the President’s long-time aide Bong Go, among others, in the illegal drug trade.
Malacañang has dismissed the claims as black propaganda.
On Thursday, May 2, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said it arrested Rodel Jayme, administrator and registrant of the website, metrobalita.net, which “consistently” shared the controversial videos on social media. Justice Secretary Menardo Gueverra said an inciting to sedition complaint has already been filed against Jayme.
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