Letters From Davao
By Jun Ledesma
Don’t f–k with facts. Pardon me for using this gutter lingo but it is the only language that seemed familiar to Rappler and its patrons. Coming this late with a statement from Omidyar Network (ON) that the huge sum of $1.5-million dollars was a donation to 14 Rappler beneficiaries is nothing but a tomfoolery and they expect the Philippine Courts to believe that hogwash.
What would that prove anyway? It merely confirmed that Rappler and its staff are paid by Omidyar.
And there goes their much ballyhooed “independent press”. In trying to wiggle out of the legal bind, the pretense and facade of independence of Ressa et. al crumbled into a heap stinking garbage.
Rappler or Ressa is stuck in a virtual quagmire. Every desperate move pulls her deeper in the abysmal pit. Omidyar Network had been unmasked too. An outfit that was involved in the plot to demonize the President of Ukraine who quit his post amidst the magma of issues and lies contrived by his critics who were reported to be funded by ON. The strategy is similarly used to discredit Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte. The mistake that Rappler committed, however, is that they harped on the trite and twisted issues surrounding extra-judicial killings and the Davao Death Squad which were the favorite fare of jailed Sen. Leila De Lima and the incorrigible political adversaries of Duterte.
Rappler conveniently used the “confessions” of perjured witnesses Matobato and Lascanas and compounded the incredible claim of the two that between them they killed over 1,200 victims on orders of Duterte, who they said organized the Davao Death Squad. Rappler biggest lie was to raise this figures to 7,000 EJK victims. Before its demise, Time Magazine was using the same statistics invented by Rappler. Shortly before the ASEAN summit, Amnesty International tried another fraud announcing to the world that 30-million Filipinos were victims of EJK. When the summit was over, they apologized.
Maria Ressa was deliriously happy Stephen King, Head of the Global Governance and Citizens Engagement of Omidyar Network issued a letter that it is donating the $1.5-million to the 14 staff members of Rappler. This, to resolve the foreign ownership issue.
Rappler’s identity with ON, as investor with veto power or as a donor does not erase the doubt it will not yield its “independence” from this network that had toppled Ukraine President Victor Yanukovych who was pro-Russian. Do not ever think that ON is a benign philanthrophic outfit. It tied up with USAID that granted aid to non-government organizations that purportedly seek to promote democracy, transparency, free speech and human rights. Sounds familiar?
Yanukovych was a helpless prey. USAID money earmarked for the NGOs and journalists was coursed through a conduit and received by an innocuous center. As though that was not enough, the Renaissance Foundation of George Soros and National Endowment for Democracy of the US Congress co-financed the overthrow of Yanukovych. If ON has Rappler in the Philippines, it has Intercept in Ukraine.
In the usual flair of arrogance ON Stephen King asserts: “We strongly believe that the company (Rappler) should be allowed to continue operating unhindered in the Philippines”, adding further that “ON is not cutting ties with Rappler”.
In Ukraine, Yanukovych was ousted by what they call Orange Revolution. It was the same uprising that Yanukovych was installed before. In the Philippines, remnants of what we now call the Yellowtards attempted the revival of the People Power to destabilize the Duterte government. The coterie failed miserably. Their revolution was pipsqueak. Maria Ressa and Pia Ranada are the only pair of journalists that complained their press freedom is suppressed. EDSA, the venue from where the organizers planned another sequel of People Power, was empty on the day the rally was supposed to held.
Omidyar misread the pulse of the Filipinos who just came from the nightmarish rule of an inept and corrupt Aquino government. Omidyar, which runs the e-Bay empire, believed the distorted lies that was fed him by Rappler, Time Magazine and pan-handling human rights watch enterprises that abound in the country and some with inter-locking directors and members. He was not aware that the trust and popularity rating of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte is unprecedented in Philippine politics.
Consider these. Yesterday the leader of the opposition, Vice Pres. Leni Robredo, expressed her desire to rejoin the Duterte cabinet. Last week the European Union has agreed to delete the strings attached to its aid to the Philippines.
People are celebrating the untouchable oligarchy are paying back taxes by the billions of pesos. A rabid critic of the Duterte government had seen the light of day after leafing through the list of mega-projects which are on the pipeline and for implementation starting this year under the administration “BUILD, BUILD, BUILD” program.
What is it for me? The Appelate Court can actually lift the sanction on Rappler. It has become irrelevant.