After being slammed for a misleading post using the photo of a victim in Brazil who was raped and killed in 2014 and presenting it as though the incident happened in the Philippines, Peter Tiu Laviña is at it again. This time, his “extremely worrying” post, as how a journalist called it, was targeting the administration’s political opposition.
On Saturday, September 3, after the night market bombing in Davao City on Friday night, Laviña took to Facebook to post his speculations and theories on who could be behind the bombing.
On early Saturday morning, pointing fingers to three possible suspects who planned the attack, which include the following:
- “Those hurting from the anti-drug war and avenge their losses”
- ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) terrorists out to divert attention from the on-going total war against them in Southwestern Mindanao
- Political opposition out to destabilize and derail the advances of the new administration
As if that was not enough, Laviña, who acted as President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign spokesperson and now Deputy Cabinet Secretary, decided to change his conspiracy theory.
“There is a fourth group. One that is a collusion of these three suspects. An alliance of the anti-Duterte forces,” he wrote.
He even wrote in detail just what he thought each suspect’s function would be in the “collusion.”
“Drug lords providing the funds, Abu Sayyaf providing the muscle, and the political opposition providing the brains and hecklers,” Laviña added.
Journalist Raissa Robles called Laviña’s post “extremely worrying.”
On her website, Robles said that she would have let Laviña’s conspiracy theory pass if he were an ordinary citizen. However, he is a Malacañang official “who can influence policy and direction and action.”
She also cited how Laviña led Duterte’s social media team during the election campaign, making his Facebook post “worrying.”
“For me, this kind of FB post is deeply worrying because it talks of a dark conspiracy,” Robles wrote.
“Peter Tiu Laviña does not define what he means by ‘political opposition’ but he claims that this ‘political opposition’ is the one ‘providing the brains and hecklers’,” she added.
So she asked, “Do these ‘hecklers’ include those posting critical comments about Duterte on Facebook and Twitter?’”
Robles explained why she worried about someone of Laviña’s position posting such a conspiracy on social media.
“The danger here – and one that I had seen during the 2016 presidential campaign- is that for many supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte, what Peter Tiu Laviña says is true, a fact, the reality – and not a propaganda or a spin,” she said.
Given Laviña’s theory, is he accusing hecklers on social media of conspiring with the Abu Sayyaf and drug lords?
“Set this against President Duterte’s declaration of a ‘state of lawlessness’ and you can start thinking about government reprisals against its opponents,” Robles wrote.
She also wanted Laviña to clarify certain points:
- Whether a “state of lawless violence” nationwide bans rallies
- Whether Duterte will punish protesters who are against Ferdinand Marcos’ hero’s burial
- Whether violence caused by protesters fighting against crackdowns be labeled “lawless violence”
- Whether “lawless violence” may level up into “rebellion,” warranting the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus that can have anyone arrested or detained, or whether the current declaration will lead into the declaration of Martial Law
Robles said Laviña has to make these issues clear to avoid sowing panic among the Filipinos.