Rappler took to Facebook to correct Rigoberto Tiglao’s claims in his “inaccurate” column for The Manila Times, where he pointed to Rappler as an anti-Duterte site that provided the list of fake news sites to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
“Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao claims Rappler is an anti-Duterte site that was behind the list of fake news sites released by the CBCP. This is FALSE. Rappler was not involved in the creation of the CBCP’s list, and is neither pro- nor anti-Duterte,” Rappler posted on their Facebook page on June 28.
“Please refrain from sharing Tiglao’s inaccurate column,” Rappler added.
It was in response to Tiglao’s June 28 article for his The Manila Times column, where he slammed the CBCP for undermining President Rodrigo Duterte “using religion as a smokescreen.” He accused them for “meddling in secular affairs” when they released a list of fake news sites through a pastoral letter signed by CBCP president, Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
Tiglao also hit the CBPCP and Villegas for acting as “God’s representative” in determining what Filipinos should read because of the letter’s text saying that Filipinos should not visit the sites in question or they will sin. In the pastoral letter, Villegas noted: “Not only does this offend against the orientation of the human intellect to the truth. It is, more fundamentally, a sin against charity because it hinders persons from making right and sound decisions and induces them, instead, to make faulty ones!”
Tiglao questioned the inclusion of some of the websites he has become familiar with and which he has identified as supportive of Duterte, including getrealphilippines.com, thinkingpinoy.com, and mindanation.com. He dared the CBCP to give him instances when Get Real Philippines and Thinking Pinoy posted fake news.
He noted how the CBCP has “practically no staff that could have done research” on the various fake news sites online, which is when he revealed that a “source” has claimed that it was Maria Ressa, Rappler’s editor in chief, who gave the list to CBCP. Tiglao also described the move as “clever” since Mocha Uson and Sass Rogando Sassot, both fierce critics of Ressa, were not included in the list. He mentioned Ressa’s fight against fake news and how she previously said, “Time to take back the Internet.”
For the second time in his column, Tiglao dared the CBCP to explain how it compiled its list of fake news sites and deny that they got the list from Ressa.
“I dare the CBCP to tell us exactly how it compiled the list of alleged “fake news” site—what criteria was used for a site’s inclusion in the list— and to deny that it got its list from a Rappler editor,” he wrote.
Don’t worry about fake news on social media, he said. He then proceeded to give tips on how to avoid fake news sites, starting with identifying shocking claims that mainstream media have not reported, checking the background and URL of the website, and blocking them.
Before wrapping up his article, he advised his readers not to worry about “pygmy fake news sites,” but be concerned about Big Media and their fake news instead.
This is not the first time Rappler and Tiglao have confronted each other through articles. On March 20, Rappler wrote “Tiglao’s fake news” to fact-check his claims about how Rappler got PNP’s war on drugs figures wrong. This was Rappler’s response to Tiglao’s March 20 column, “How Rappler misled EU, Human Rights Watch, CNN, Time, BBC – the world.”
Even the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) also wrote an article to debunk Tiglao’s claims that they wrote “fake news” based on a “fake journal” by retired police Arturo Lascañas and that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV managed its release. They stood by their story and called Tiglao’s claims “unfounded.”
For our part, we released two articles compiling a list of fake and satire sites, along with samples of fake or satirical pieces that they published. The first one can be found here, while the second one can be read here.