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Busted: Vera Files shows photojourno Jes Aznar did not post live update of Marawi operations, contrary to Thinking Pinoy’s claim



Photojournalist Jes Aznar was accused by Rey Joseph Nieto, also known as Thinking Pinoy, of posting live updates of the military operations in Marawi City last May. However, Vera Files fact-checking showed that Aznar did not post the video live.

On June 16, Thinking Pinoy wrote: “NYtimes/Inq photographer Jes Aznar posts live updates from Marawi, revealing the positions of government snipers to any terrorist with a Smartphone.”

This is the Instagram video in question.

A post shared by JES AZNAR (@jeszmann) on


Aznar responded to Thinking Pinoy’s claim on June 17, disputing the blogger’s “vile and malicious post” that his video was posted live. He added that logically, putting the soldiers’ lives in danger would put him in danger, too.

“It has come to my attention that there’s this certain RJ Nieto, who is behind the FB page ThinkingPinoy, that is spreading a vile and malicious post against me. The post is a screen grab of my Instagram post in Marawi taken more than three weeks ago, then claiming it as a live feed of a military maneuver. Mr Nieto, while inside the comfort of his home, did not think about looking at the dates of the post but instead maliciously claiming it as happening live,” he said.

“The scene depicts soldiers exiting from a position which we were holed in after taking enemy sniper fire for hours. Thus, the troops were not there anymore when the post was made. If one would think logically, putting the soldier’s life in danger in this situation would definitely put me in harm’s way as well,” Aznar wrote.

He also clarified that unlike Thinking Pinoy’s claim, he is not working for the Inquirer and is not employed by the New York Times.

TP shot back at Aznar and expressed how much he did not believe Aznar’s defense that it was a late post given the Instagram video’s May 25 time stamp.

“Late post daw pero May 25 ang time stamp? Tapos, Sasabihin mong “In the middle of fighting” tapos hindi live post?” TP wrote.

He also showed Aznar’s original caption of the video before the photojournalist added “NOT A LIVE FEED #latepost” to it.

On June 18, Thinking Pinoy followed up his post about Aznar, urging the photojournalist to “get out of Mindanao for (his) own good.” He also described Aznar as “the guy who posted on Instagram on May 25 a freshly filmed video of government snipers in the middle of an encounter in the #MarawiClash.”

Unlike his first claim about Aznar’s video being a “live” update from Marawi, TP then described it as a “freshly filmed video.”

Thinking Pinoy emphasized that the video was posted on the same day on May 25, not “three weeks old,” as per Aznar’s claim in his June 17 post.

However, we think TP was confused with the “three weeks old” timeframe that Aznar gave. His confusion about this timeframe was made even more apparent when he posted a screenshot of another photojournalist’s Facebook post of a video similar to Aznar on June 20. Aznar was even tagged in it.

TP simply captioned it, “Three weeks old.”

But we think TP might have simply been confused how Aznar described his Instagram video that TP questioned in his June 16 post. The May 25 video Aznar took and posted to IG was indeed around “three weeks old” from June 17, 24 days, when Aznar took to Facebook to defend himself against TP’s accusation.

It seemed like some of those who commented on TP’s “three weeks old” post were also confused by the timeframe.

On June 20, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned TP for “endangering” Aznar’s life.

“We condemn Thinking Pinoy and Mr. Nieto for endangering a journalist, more so on unfounded reasons.  We likewise condemn those who threaten our colleague who was simply doing his job,” NUJP said in a statement.

“Aznar has repeatedly clarified he posted the photo in question when they were already out of the area, thus he could not have endangered the soldiers at that time,” it said. “He also said that he only had good intentions in posting the photo on his Facebook social media account, such as showing the public how active the government troops were in quelling the Maute and Abu Sayyaf.”

GMA News Online reported TP’s email to them about how he said his claim against Aznar was based on the Instagram video’s May 25 timestamp. He added that the video “gave terrorists insights on AFP’s entry points.”

TP also said that he welcomed Aznar’s threat of a lawsuit. He also emphasized the AFP’s earlier request to the public to stop from posting on social media information that may worsen the Marawi conflict.

“Aznar’s post exacerbated the situation as it limited AFP’s tactical options vis-a-vis its Marawi operations,” TP said.

In his own blog, TP answered NUJP’s statement, saying that what Aznar did was put the soldiers at risk for posting a video that was “less than five hours old.”

“Aznar’s controversial video was posted at 6:13 AM UTC, which translates to 2:13 PM Manila. Judging by the amount of sunlight in the video, along with the length of the shadows outside the structure, the photo must have been taken around noon of that day, i.e. between 9:00 AM and 2:13 PM,” TP wrote.

“In short, Aznar posted that video that was less than five hours old when it was uploaded. It was just the second day of fighting, and enemies are all over the place, so that Armed Forces personnel could not have gotten too far from where the video was taken,” TP said.

TP was right. Based on this preview as the IG video was posted on Facebook, it was indeed uploaded at 6:16 AM UTC.

But with Vera Files fact-checking, the point of contention was TP’s June 16 post, when he accused Aznar of posting “live updates from Marawi.”

Vera Files interviewed Prof. Al Tompkins, a senior faculty of The Poynter Institute, who defined “live” as something that is actually happening right now.

Tompkins said, “If it is recorded, it is not live.”

Vera Files then posted the file information of Aznar’s video that the photojournalist sent to the media company and it showed that the video was taken with an iPhone and uploaded to an Apple computer.

Image: Vera Files


Based on the file information, the video was created on May 25, 2017 at 1:19 pm. And by “created,” it meant the time when the video was transferred or saved on the computer.

Aznar told Vera Files that the video was taken at 1pm.

Vera Files noted the embed code of the Instagram video to show the exact time it was posted on Instagram.

“Looking at the embed code of the 17-second video uploaded on Aznar’s Instagram, the time stamp reflected “2017-05-25T06:13:18+00:00″>May 24, 2017 at 11:13pm PDT.” It means the video was uploaded at 2:13 p.m., Philippine time on May 25, 2017,” Vera Files wrote.

So, was Aznar posting “live updates” in Marawi City when he uploaded his video on Instagram on May 25, as per Thinking Pinoy’s June 16 accusation? Vera Files’ fact-checking said he didn’t. They wrote, “The video was uploaded on the internet 73 minutes after it was taken.”

Sources: ( , , )



Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’



President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks


His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show



Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.


Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal



Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.


In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

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