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Sasot finally gets interviewed by internat’l media but netizens noted she got burned in the process



Duterte supporter and Manila Times columnist Sass Rogando Sasot became a part of a panel in an interview on a Turkey-based news channel talking about the Philippines’ and President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs, but the netizens noted that she got burned by the host and other panel members.

Sasot’s interview on the Turkish channel TRT World came after her controversial confrontation of BBC’s Southeast Asia correspondent Jonathan Head on November 13, 2017 during the ASEAN Summit. Sasot questioned Head about why the BBC gave a “minor blogger” like Duterte critic Jover Laurio an interview, while she wasn’t when she had a previous interaction with Head on Facebook and her engagement on the social media site is “way, way higher” than Laurio’s.

In the TRT World panel discussion on the program Roundtable hosted by David Foster, Sasot, via Skype, joined former ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel (TFC) reporter Gene Alcantara and International Drug Policy Unit executive director John Collins.

The host Foster asked Sasot why she has written in her column that what “mass murderer” Duterte was doing was not only right but was necessary.

Sasot started off explaining how the US State Department has reports as far back as 2009 or 2010 that showed that foreign drug cartels have reached the Philippines, but Foster interrupted her, saying there were surely other measures to stop drugs other than “shooting” the suspected drug personalities.

Collins noted that the Filipino citizens are the ones getting murdered, not the foreign drug traffickers cited by Sasot.

During the discussion, Sasot clarified that Duterte did not order to just “arbitrarily kill anyone” but ordered law enforcers to “only shoot if their life is in danger.”

Sasot then cited statistics – over 1 million people surrendered alive; 121,087 people were arrested alive; and 4,021 died during operations.  She underscored that drug pushers are armed, hence the cops’ need to defend themselves.

Foster butted in, saying that kids were also killed in the drug war, but Sasot cited how 618 minors were “rescued” from the illegal drug trade, a number that was not being cited by international media. She prompted, “Why is that?”

Collins told Sasot he did not know what she meant by “rescued” when pertaining to the minors, but what he knew, based on “lots and lots of evidence,” was that there were kids who could barely buy Snickers but were caught with a Glock pistol. He hit the fact that the same line of defense, the “nanlaban” defense, has been used by the cops over and over again.

“There is clearly a lot of impropriety happening around these extrajudicial killings,” Collins said.


When Alcantara joined the discussion, he accused Sasot of leading the attack against him for condemning the killings in the Philippines, which she denied. She, in turn, accused him of threatening to deport Filipinos in the UK for supporting Duterte, which Alcantara denied.

Foster directed the discussion back to the Philippines’ war against drugs and how Collins is not in favor of Duterte’s drug war because he thought it won’t work.

Collins enumerated these reasons from the point of view of an academic who has been studying international drug policy for over a decade:

  •         Duterte’s drug war method has been proven to be ineffective as seen in the US with its incarceration of drug users and Thailand with its open killings in the early 2000s.
  •         It’s not about drugs. He said that as an external observer, he thinks Duterte’s drug war was about power play, his way of “solidifying his place at home” and his pursuit of “strongman politics.” He said that in the process, Duterte’s model of fighting the drug problem was about targeting “the most vulnerable” group that is also “the most loathed” group in society.

Sasot admitted that Duterte’s kind of drug war has been tried before, but in the case of the Philippines, it has led to over 1 million people surrendering to get rehabilitated.

Collins retorted, “It is not voluntary when the government is threatening to murder you if you don’t hand yourself in.”

Sasot tried to rebut that argument, saying Duterte did not threaten the drug addicts, but Foster also chimed in, saying he just recently watched an interview with Duterte where he said, “You destroy my country, I will kill you.”

Foster added, “That is threatening to murder somebody, isn’t it?”

Collins also cited how Duterte once said that Adolf Hitler murdered 3 million Jews and that he wanted to do the same, but Sasot explained it as Duterte’s way of playing along with the logic of the opposition who kept on comparing him to Hitler. The Philippine leader later apologized to the Jews for that remark.

Foster once again asked Sasot if Duterte was threatening to kill anyone, but she said it was Duterte’s way of expressing his intention to protect the country from anyone who would want to destroy it.

The host further pressed Sasot if Duterte’s recent remark can be interpreted as a threat to murder people, eventually prompting Sasot to ask, “But has he murdered anyone?”

Collins was quick to say, “By his own acknowledgment, yes.”

Foster also piped in, “Well, he says while he was mayor, he shot people.”

Alcantara also brought up how two witnesses, referring to Edgar Matobato and Arturo Lascañas, admitted to being members of the Davao Death Squad and confessed to Duterte’s involvement in the group.

Foster brought up another point of discussion in Sasot’s column about how some Filipinos are “disgusted” by Duterte’s method in dealing with the drug problem.

Prompted by Foster, Sasot said she understood the disgust, but that what Duterte is doing should be understood within the context of the circumstances in the Philippines.

Addressing Collins, she asked him if he speaks Filipino (no, he doesn’t); if he understands the Filipino culture (he has visited the Philippines, but won’t claim to say he has an expertise on the country); how many times he has visited the country (once); and if he has studied Philippine history, but Foster interrupted Sasot’s questioning.

As for the 1 million surrenderees, Foster said Duterte himself admitted that the Philippines cannot afford to build rehabilitation facilities. So, what is going to happen to the surrenderees, he asked.

Sasot said the surrenderees are going to “wait” to be rehabilitated and that this is when the international community should help the Philippines instead of condemning it.

Foster shot back, saying, “So you are saying that the international community must pay to follow through a policy, with which it disagrees, which is being brought upon by a President who is quite okay with killing people?”

Sasot then described the presence of the 1 million drug addicts in the Philippines as an “international humanitarian crisis.”

Collins addressed Sasot, saying that she “basically negated the idea” that he shouldn’t have any opinion on the drug war in the Philippines because he is not a Philippine expert. He went on to discuss about how drug treatment should be voluntary and community-based, something that the community should work on to manage their drug dependency.

He called the idea of rounding up a million surrenderees and asking the international community to help solve it as “ludicrous,” especially since people surrendered because they were scared of being murdered.

Alcantara joined in the discussion, accusing Duterte of not looking into the drug lords, citing how the P6.4 billion worth of drugs smuggled into the Philippines was even linked to Duterte’s son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte. He also talked about Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s allegation of Duterte hiding P2 billion in his bank account, something that the President denied.

Foster asked whether there is a possibility that the drug problem would resurface after Duterte’s term would end.

Sasot cited Duterte has a comprehensive policy to fight drug addiction and uplift the lives of ordinary Filipinos with the help of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Health.

But Collins posed a question to Sasot, asking her how the Philippines would become an economically and politically stable country without following the rule of law, citing violations such as the police’s lack of oversight, the rise of vigilantism because it seems to be encouraged, the murder on the streets, and the people being rounded up.

Sasot went back to her argument about how Duterte did not order cops to kill people, but only to protect themselves against criminals. She also clarified that vigilantism can be linked to the drug cartels, not to Duterte.

Foster ended the program noting the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s preliminary investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity committed by Duterte in his war against drugs, but without any recent word on whether or not it has jurisdiction over the communication or whether it has started interviewing people for the investigation.

Netizens react

Facebook page PRISM noted how Sasot “finally got the interview she has always wanted” but that “it did not go the way she wanted it to.”

Other netizens noted how Sasot initially told Collins his opinion on the drug war in the Philippines does not matter because he is not Filipino, but later said the international community should step in to help the 1 million drug surrenderees.

This is also something that Collins pointed out in the discussion.


Some hit Sasot’s logic in questioning Collins.

“By Sasot’s and DDS logic, we can’t condemn nor should form an opinion on Hitler and Germany since we can’t speak German nor an expert in German culture,” a Twitter user said. “Extending it farther, they curtail empathy for presumption of knowledge. Theirs is a very dangerous reasoning.”

Award-winning author Miguel Syjuco also slammed Sasot’s “shallow answers” during the Roundtable discussion to justify the killings in the country.

One thing he pointed out was this:

“If she spent any time in the streets, she’d know that many of the so-called 1-million surrenderees were motivated by fear as well as ignorance (many thought they’d be given handouts, and didn’t consider themselves addicts); she’d also know that drug rehab programs came from the Catholic Church, NGOs, and local communities because the national government hardly did anything beyond enforcing a law-and-order solution to a public health problem. (For example, the nation’s largest drug rehab program, in Bicutan, can still only service capacity of 600 patients.) How do I know? I went and witnessed.”

Sources: ( )


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Comedienne Ethel Booba on dealing with fake news: ‘Libre ang Google, ‘wag kayong tanga’



While appearing as guest on a comedy talk show, comedienne Ethel Booba touched on the topic of fake news and politics.

Booba, whose real name is Ethyl Gabison, has become known for her tweets ending with her expression, “Charot!”

During her guest appearance on “Gandang Gabi Vice” aired on March 4 with fellow comedienne Ruffa Mae Quinto and with the host being Vice Ganda, Booba said she knows who the fake news peddlers are.

“Yung mga fake news talaga, kilala ko kayo,” she said.

The host prompted her by asking who they are.

“Starts with the letter ‘m,’” Booba replied.

Answering Vice’s question as to what letter it ends with, she jokingly said, “C.”

“Charot lang,” Booba said.

Despite her jokes, Booba offered a piece of advice on how to deal with fake news.

“Libre ang Google, ‘wag kayong tanga. Samantalahin ninyo,” she said.

“Alamin ang totoo kasi ‘di naman talaga yan ia-approve ng PAMET bago pumasok sa Google,” she added.

The PAMET she was referring to was the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists.

Some netizens noted that Booba might have thrown shade at Communications Assistant Mocha Uson.

“Ethel Booba shading @MochaUson as peddler of #fakenews on national TV,” tweeted @krizzy_kalerqui.

Just a few days ago, Booba made her own version of Uson’s survey on Twitter by asking the Twitterverse if they believed the survey Uson made asking people if EDSA People Power I was a product of fake news was also a product of fake news.

She also talked about TokHang when she said that if she were to be the voice behind Waze, she would tell the app users to avoid a cop so as not to fall victim to TokHang.

“Don’t turn right, there’s a policeman. Just turn left, para di ka matokhang,” Booba joked.

In one of her tweets on February 24, Booba also hit how fake news is similar to the drug problem – a plague to society.

“Same with drugs eh salot din sa lipunan yang fake news dahil madami ng utak ang sinira nyan. Charot!” she tweeted.

She later offered a suggestion on how to stop fake news from spreading on Facebook.

“Dapat bago makapagcreate ng @facebook account may exam. Papakitaan sila ng news then identify kung fake or legit. Kapag bumagsak di pwede create account. Charot!” Booba tweeted.

Sources: ( )


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PCG says Diño may face criminal raps for wearing Coast Guard uniform after falling for ‘bogus’ PCGA org



Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Martin Diño may face criminal charges and usurpation of authority for donning a Rear Admiral uniform when he was not entitled to do so after falling for a “bogus” Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) group.

The Philippine Coast Guard released a statement on March 4 saying Diño is not a member of their volunteer arm group.

“Records from the PCG Auxiliary membership disclosed that USEC Dino is not a legitimate member of the organization and hence not entitled to wear the PCGA uniform,” said PCG in their statement.

“The PCG has the right to file a formal complaint for usurpation of authority and other criminal laws that may be violated by the improper wearing of the organization’s rank and uniform,” it added.

Diño may have been victimized by a fake PCG Auxiliary group with its founder being connected to the Manila Yacht Club.

“[Diño] may have been misled and recruited by bogus PCG Auxiliary organization known for collecting money from its recruits. PCG is also checking reports that a certain Admiral Villanueva from Manila Yacht Club is behind this scheme,” the PCG statement read.


ABS-CBN asked for Diño’s side, but he referred them to “Admiral Villanueva,” who identified himself as Admiral Fred Villanueva of PCGA’s 101st Manila Yacht Club Squadron.

“Kami (101st MYC Squadron) ang kauna-unahang PCGA sa buong Pilipinas. Na-organize kami March 10, 1973,” Villanueva explained.

He also accused the current PCGA National Director and a former member of their organization, Valentine Prieto, of stealing the documents of the 101st MYC Squadron around 8 years ago. Villanueva said it was due to personal enmity after Prieto and other men were “kicked out of the Manila Yacht Club.” He added that Prieto then established their own auxiliary group at the Cultural Center.

Villanueva then turned to the PCG and threatened to sue them for accepting Prieto and his group.

“Ito namang Coast Guard, tinanggap sila (Prieto) na sila ang 101. Kaya ang gagawin namin idedemanda namin ang Coast Guard pati ang 101 PCGA, sina Prieto, sa ginawa nila sa amin,” he said.

After keeping their silence for years, Villanueva said that this publicized issue will now push their group to file charges against the PCG and PCGA.

“Huwag nila sasabihibn bogus kami. Kami ang kaunauan, sa amin nanggaling ‘yan (PCGA). We have hard evidence. Lahat ng dokumento hawak namin,” he said.

Villanueva also confirmed that he inducted Diño to his PCGA organization on January 25, 2018.

Under the Republic Act 9933 (PCG Law of 2010), only the PCG has the sole authority and responsibility over the PCGA membership and activities, said PCG spokesman Capt. Armand Balilo.

The PCG said that they will coordinate with Diño, who may have been recruited into a fake PCGA group known for collecting money from recruits.

Balilo added that Diño is welcome to join the PCGA if he so wishes.

A statement was released by the PCG after a photo of Diño in a Rear Admiral uniform, complete with two stars on the shoulder insignia, popped up on social media, leading some netizens to question his qualification in donning the uniform.

Sources: ( )


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Duterte supporters score Robredo over meme saying she’s ready to replace Duterte when needed, but that’s her mandate



Some supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte slammed Vice President Leni Robredo over a meme showing her saying that she is ready to replace the Philippine leader when needed.

The meme in question bore the words, “Handa akong palitan si Pangulong Duterte kung kinakailangan – VP Leni Robredo,” with a photo of her doing a salute that was taken during the 2017 celebration of the Philippine Independence Day.

It was shared on February 28 by the Facebook page “Duterte Solid Supporters” and has since been shared over a 100 times, as of writing.

Most of the over 200 comments on the post showed the President’s supporters hitting Robredo for saying what she allegedly said in the meme.

But we also found the meme being shared by other Facebook pages in July, September and November of last year.

This July 2017 post by the page “Resign Leni Robredo Resign” even got over a thousand shares.

It was then shared by Facebook pages “Solid Duterte OFW Supporters,” “Duterte Anti-Biased Media,” “Pres. Rody Duterte ‘Partner for Change,’” “Duterte-Marcos Tandem,” “Team Rody Duterte,” and “Duterte Solid Supporters.”

To get to the bottom of whether Robredo said what she allegedly said in the meme, MemeBuster found an article on published on May 9, 2017 that said, “’Am ready to replace DU30.”


The article quoted what Robredo said during an event called TERETalks in St. Theresa’s College on May 6, 2017. She was reported to have said: “Pero sa akin naman it’s part of the mandate. When I ran, nandoon na po iyong obligation ko, na if anything happens, I should be prepared to lead. Hindi ko nakakalimutan iyong mandato ko. Iyong mandato ko is that I should always be prepared.”

We found a transcript of the open forum during TERETalks and confirmed that Robredo did make that response.

Here’s a longer part of the transcript related to the one quoted above by Journal:

Q: Good afternoon, Madame VP. I represent part of your social media support team. We are the ones making bakbak there in social media. But my question is, we wanted to ask you, we all know that the old man in Malacanang is not very well and in case something happens to him, are you ready to ready to take over?

VP LENI: Ako naman po, I do not want to wish anything ill sa ating pangulo.

Q: We don’t wish that but it can happen, so actually I wish it.

VP LENI: Well I think I will get into trouble after this afternoon. Pero sa akin naman it’s part of the mandate. When I ran, nandoon na po iyong obligation ko, na if anything happens, I should be prepared to lead. Pero sa akin kasi, mas mabuti sana na nothing happens. Iyon na iyong ideal world. Nothing happens to the President, the President and the Vice president work well together. For the benefit of the nation.

Pero sa akin nama hindi ko nakakalimutan iyong mandato ko. Iyong mandato ko is that I should always be prepared.

What Robredo was trying to say that as vice president, it is in her mandate to be prepared in case something happens to the president. It comes as part of her duties as the “spare tire.”

Since the Duterte supporters scored her for saying that she is prepared to replace President Duterte when needed, are they saying Robredo should not do what she was mandated to do?

Months before this TERETalks response that Robredo made, her spokesperson Georgina Hernandez clarified that Robredo was not “in a hurry” to become President, as per President Duterte’s claims then.

“Alam naman po nating lahat na hindi ‘yan totoo dahil si VP Leni mismo ang nagsasabi na wala ‘yan sa kanyang mga plano at hindi po niya ‘yan kailanman gagawin,” Hernandez told GMA’s Unang Balita on March 20, 2017.

“Sana tingnan rin kung saan nanggagaling, wala naman po talagang ganu’ng plano at hindi nag-aapura si VP Leni sa kung anuman, kundi apurahin lang ‘yung mga sinimulan namin na programa para sa anti-poverty,” Hernandez clarified with the media at the sidelines of the Quezon City’s celebration of women’s month that was attended by Robredo.

“Wala sa kaniyang plano na magmadali o maging Pangulo,” she added.

In August 2016, a malicious spin was also given to Robredo’s response when she said that the Philippine Constitution does not give the VP real powers, “except to wait for something to happen to the President.”

This was spun by her detractors into how Robredo was practically saying that she was “waiting for Duterte to die.

Even Communications Asec. Mocha Uson, before she got the PCOO position, shared that spliced video of Robredo summarizing what the Constitution basically said about her mandate as VP.

One of Duterte’s supporters and Uson’s followers called her out for sharing the spliced video that was taken out of context and urged her to be a responsible Duterte supporter. She also agreed with Robredo’s rephrased version of a VP’s duty.

Sources: ( , )


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