• Breaking News

    Wednesday, July 12, 2017

    EXPOSED: A traitor in Malacañang?

    Last June 22, 2017, Presidential Task Force on Media Security or PTFoMS, issued an official statement raising concerns over the security of Jes Aznar a news reporter deployed in Marawi who covers the ongoing terrorism crisis. 

    The said “official” statement by the PTFoMS had also blatantly “parroted” the so-called “advocacy” of the mainstream media, particularly that of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) against the spread of “fake news” where it said:

    “To debunk rumors and fake news, the Philippine National Police, a member of the Task Force, has not served a warrant of arrest to Aznar.”

    The said PTFoMS statement had triggered RJ Nieto, the man behind the Thinking Pinoy Blog who claims that the said pronouncement made by the PTFoMS had used his June 20 article as a blatant reference, and for that Thinking Pinoy was therefore the one being implicitly referred to as the “culprit” spreading rumors and fake news.

    “The PTFoMS essentially allowed itself to be used by Big Media to forward its desperate agenda of de-legitimizing independent social media publishers like me, at a time when Big Media companies continue to lose influence as their social media engagement figures continue to dwindle,” Thinking Pinoy said.

    The major point of speculation, however, was not the issues presented above. Rather it is the “unsigned” statement publicized by PTFoMS which, according to Thinking Pinoy, is “uncharacteristic” of official press statements issued by the government.

    Wary of the possible violations committed along the publication of the said PTFoMS statement, Thinking Pinoy began to speculate. 

    In its article entitled “A Traitor in Malacañang? Media Security USec. Egco usurps Sec. Andanar’s authority”, Thinking Pinoy laid out an irrevocable premise which constitutionally asserts Usec. Egco’s lack of authority to issue or conduct official public statements.

    To reinforce this claim, Thinking Pinoy cited a particular provision on President Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 1, whose Section 5 reads:

    “Section 5. The Presidential Task Force Spokesperson. The Secretary of the PCOO alone shall be authorized to make public statements on matters concerning the activities of the Presidential Task Force.”

    With that, it can be implied that PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar alone has the lone authority to issue public statements. The issue was even set ablaze after Sec. Andanar affirmed his unawareness of such press release authored by Usec. Egco.

    “For the record… I was not aware about Usec. Egco’s press release… (and) …. There was no one from PCOO during the deliberation of Egco et. Al,” Andanar claimed in response to an inquiry on the matter.

    For that alone, the allegation regarding Usec. Egco’s usurpation of Andanar’s authority can be connoted. Thinking Pinoy, eager to obtain further clarification on the issue being discoursed upon, chose to solicit the side of Usec Egco.

    “He [referring to Sec. Andanar] was not there….And represented doon, DOJ was there…So si Sec. Martin..Yes..He is out of this,” said Usec Egco in an interview with Thinking Pinoy.

    When confronted about the possibility of him facing constitutional liabilities Usec. Egco stated:

    “It’s the decision of the Task Force kasi…Ganito kasi, pag nakita mo yung mga statements ko before, may reference yon if it was my own statement, na ipapaalam k okay Secretary,” said Usec. Egco as if implying that long before, he had already been issuing and making announcements on behalf of the Task Force.

    After consulting with some law practitioners who analyzed the situation, Thinking Pinoy have come up with three possible violations which provides a “mere preview of what may happen should anyone pursue legal remedies”.

    First, with Usec. Egco’s negligence of due process by failing to solicit the side of the journalists and other social media writers regarding the NUJP complaint, Thinking Pinoy claims that Usec. Egco might be charged with “Grave Abuse of Discretion”.

    “Egco did not even bother to contact me [or others]…effectively abridging our right to Free Speech…This amounts to the administrative violation of Grave Abuse of Discretion that may be considered grounds for his dismissal from his government position,” Thinking Pinoy further wrote.

    Second, with Egco allowing the illegal issuance of the said PTFoMS press statement, Thinking Pinoy claimed that he violated Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or RA 3019.

    “The illegally issued PTFoMS, in consideration of the surrounding circumstances, caused injury to my reputation," claimed Thinking Pinoy. And by doing so Egco can be charged, based on relevant clauses of the RA 3019, with “a penalty of imprisonment for 6-15 years and perpetual disqualification from public office,” Thinking Pinoy added.

    Finally, by failing to adhere to the constitutionally mandated specification of powers and authority, particularly enshrined in the Administrative Order No. 1, Usec. Egco is bound to face charges against “Usurpation of Authority or Official Functions.

    “With or without Andanar’s permission, Egco still has no authority to issue non-administrative statements. There is no enabling law that allows him to do so. Thus, Egco may have violated RPC Art 177 multiple times.”

    Note that violation of this particular provision entitles the offender 2-10 years of imprisonment.

    Concluding his post, Thinking Pinoy claimed that:

    “Hindi ba nakakatawa na ang complaint kong ila-lodge sa Task Force ay laban sa task Force?...Daddy D [referring to President Duterte], tanggalin mo na ‘yan diyan. Mas maraming mas kwalipikaddo – at mas may loyalty – kaysa kay Usec. Egco…Kung ang simpleng pagbabasa lang, pag intindi at pakikipagusap sa lahat ng involved ay hindi niya magawa. Kailangan siya palitan at managot sa mga paglabag niya”.

    This is supported by a significant question raised by Thinking Pinoy himself, on the earlier part of his long speculative article against Usec. Joel Egco which reads:

    “Should we entrust media security to someone who does not have a clear understanding of what his Executive Director position entails, of what he can and cannot do?”

    Source: Thinking Pinoy

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