Poe likens Aguirre to a ‘troll’ for spreading fake news linking opposition lawmakers to Marawi crisis

Senator Grace Poe slammed Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II after he used an old photo to link opposition lawmakers to the fighting in Marawi City.
As the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, she expressed alarm over the proliferation of fake news online, which she described to be “adversely affecting public and private interest” and made worse when Aguirre acted “like a troll.”

“What makes it worse is when the Justice Secretary himself willingly exploits and amplifies such fake news like a troll without a modicum of effort to at least verify the same just to malign political opponents,” Poe said in her statement.

Poe was referring to Aguirre’s claim that Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino, as well as former PNoy political adviser Ronald Llamas allegedly had a meeting with the political families in Marawi City on May 2, a few weeks before the Maute terror group attacked the city. Aguirre even showed a glimpse of the photo to the media, which turned out to be a 2015 photo.
Aguirre later apologized to the Marawi political families that he mentioned and to Senator Aquino and said that he was “confused” by the reports he had been getting. He even recanted his statements against the Marawi clans and claimed that he was misquoted by the media, although the media groups disputed his claim and insisted that they quoted him verbatim and that Aguirre’s claims were recorded.

“He was at it again when he recklessly linked several of our colleagues in Congress to the Maute group, only to backtrack and offer excuses,” Poe said.

The senator urged Aguirre to “faithfully do his duty to serve public interest, and that requires siding with the truth.

She also called for a Congress inquiry into the spread of fake news online.

“Congress should look into these pernicious acts and hopefully come up with legislation to address this phenomenon and penalize perpetrators, referring to both authors of fake news as well as sites wittingly hosting the same,” Poe said.

Sources: ( , , )

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