Palace ‘matrix’ boo-boo draws quit calls
Opposition lawmakers on Friday called for the resignation of President Duterte and his spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, over the alleged “irresponsible” exposé linking a lawyers’ group and several media outfits to an alleged destabilization plot.
Senatorial candidate and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano blasted Panelo for supposedly misleading the public that the “matrix” showing links among alleged plotters against the government was culled from reliable intelligence information.
‘A grave disservice’
“The fact that they (Duterte and Panelo) made it appear that the matrix was culled from serious intelligence gathering when it was not already spells dishonesty. They are fooling the people,” he said.
“They have done a grave disservice to the Filipino people. I call on spokesperson Panelo and President Duterte to resign,” he added.
In a press briefing on April 22, Panelo revealed a diagram which showed the persons behind a supposed plot to oust the President.
It tagged the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), nonprofit news outfits Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Vera Files and Rappler, as well as a number of key media personalities, to be behind the production of a video that supposedly linked the President and members of his family to drug syndicates.
Panelo then said the “Oust Duterte” matrix came from President Duterte himself, and was provided to him by intelligence agents of a foreign country, which he did not identify.
On Friday, Panelo backtracked from his statement, and said the information was sent to him as a text message from an unknown mobile number.
According to Alejano, for Malacañang to accuse groups and personalities without basis is “utterly irresponsible.”
“The Office of the President has billions of intelligence funds yet their office did not exercise due diligence to verify the ‘intelligence’ reports that they release to the public. Is this how low the standards of our officials have come, that they get intelligence information from text message of unknown sender?” he said.
NUPL chair and Makabayan senatorial bet Neri Colmenares said that for the President and his spokesperson to make “baseless and obviously fictitious allegations of an ouster plot” is “completely irresponsible, unacceptable and dangerous.”
“Lawyers build their case based on evidence. Attorney Duterte and Attorney Panelo based their allegations on something worse than hearsay—a mysterious matrix that we are now told was unverified and whose source is unknown,” he said.
“Malacañang exposé is worse than street gossip,” he added.
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