VP camp condemns ‘fake news’ vs Robredo after drug czar appointment
MANILA, Philippines — The influx of memes meant to deceive people about Vice President Leni Robredo’s plans to combat illegal drugs in the country should be investigated.
This was the call of Atty. Barry Gutierrez, a spokesman of Robredo, as he explained that such misinformation on social media does not only undermine the Vice President but also erodes the government’s approach to resolve the nation’s perennial drug problem.
“Mukhang itong mga paninira ng fake news, hindi ko alam kung ang batayan ba nito ay political disagreement lang o talagang pakana ito ng mga taong may pakinabang sa industriya ng droga,” Gutierrez said in a forum in Manila on Wednesday.
(Looks like this disinformation of fake news, I don’t know if the basis for this was only political disagreement or actually the effort of people benefitting from the illegal drugs industry.)
“In fact ako, hindi malayo na dapat imbestigahan ito ng ating mga ahensya,” he asked.
(In fact, for me, it should be investigated by our government agencies.)
Days after Robredo accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s designation of her as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), she posted screenshots of the misleading posts on her personal Facebook account.
“Trolls have been activated big time. Please report and send us what you have gathered so we can take the appropriate steps,” Robredo said in her post on Monday.
Among the things the memes mentioned are Robredo’s supposed order for police officers to shun guns in the conduct of anti-drug operations, and an alleged warning from Malacañang over her absence in a Cabinet meeting – none of which are true.
CLAIM 1: VP Leni proposed to ban guns in police drug operations. CLAIM 2: VP Leni proposed to "survey" drug lords and…
“Dalawang araw pa lang si VP Leni sa trabaho ang dami nang fake news na lumalabas eh. On social media, may lumalabas na mga fake na mga quote na sabi daw nila dapat disarmahan ang mga pulis, dapat kapag may mga operation walang baril. Wala namang gano’n,” Gutierrez said.
(Just two days into her work as drug czar, a lot of fake news against VP Leni has already come out. On social media, there are fake quotes saying allegedly that policemen must be disarmed, that there should be no guns during operations. But there were not such things.)
“Malacañang has made it very clear: the success of the Vice President here is the success of the government. So who will want to sabotage? Madali lang ang sagot (The answer is easy), mga drug lord (the drug lords), mga sindikato na pinangako ni VP Leni na hahabulin niya (the syndicates that VP Leni promised to run after,” he added.
Gutierrez also clarified the issue about the usage of body cameras. According to him, people should understand the difference between intelligence gathering where officers need to go undercover, and actual operations.
“Well, we should make a distinction between intelligence work, ‘yong confidential na informants na kinakausap where obviously, hindi ka gagamit ng camera recording dahil sa secrecy (where confidential informants obviously should not use camera recording due to secrecy),” he said.
“Doon sa mga operations, ang raid kasi ibang usapan ‘yon (As for operations, raids these are different), you’re already arresting, you’re already breaking up a crime,” he also noted.
He then advised critics of body camera requirements to think of the device as an aid for police officers, who may be accused of abusing their authorities.
“In many countries all over the world, talagang SOP ang body cam (In many countries all over the world, the use of body came is really standard operating procedure). Ang tingin ko kasi ang maling conception sa (I think the wrong conception about the use of) body cam [ay] para malaman kung may ginagawang mali ‘yong pulis eh (is that it’s to know if a policeman is doing something wrong),” Gutierrez explained.
“Actually, hindi (it’s not). It’s also for the protection of police officers. Para kung nagreklamo ‘yong mga tao na naaresto or may napatay tapos sasabihin pinatay ‘yan hindi naman talaga nanlalaban ‘yan (So that in case the person arrested complains or somebody was killed and then they will say the suspect was killed even if he was not resisting arrest), you have evidence that the operation was actually conducted in accordance with the policies,” he added.
As for the Philippine National Police, the body camera issue has been a hot topic as three officials may be relieved for allegedly trying to extort P5 million from one of the bidders for the supply of body cameras.
Edited by KGA
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