Journalist Ellen Tordesillas and Duterte supporter Trixie Cruz-Angeles talk fake news on 'Headstart'

By Media Newser Philippines | Thursday, October 05, 2017

Screenshot: ANC
On ANC's Headstart this morning, Karen Davila invited two of the resource persons at Wednesday's Senate hearing on fake news, veteran journalist Ellen Tordesillas and die-hard Duterte supporter and now PCOO social media strategist Trixie Cruz-Angeles.

Davila began her program by asking the two about the outcome of the hearing chaired by Senator Grace Poe.

Echoing the sentiments of viewers and netizens, Tordesillas said she was "disappointed" with the probe, noting that Poe "could've controlled the discussion."

"Disappointed. Talagang malaking disappointment. Pero nakita ko doon kahapon 'yung depth of the ignorance of some senators and the height of arrogance of some public officials who were there," Tordesillas said.

"One, bilib na bilib siya (Poe) kay Thinking Pinoy. Diyos ko naman! Paano ka naman bibilib? Well-researched [daw]. Ano ba 'yun?" she added. "Makikita mo 'yung values na nilalabas ni Thinking Pinoy — arrogance, tsaka 'yung tuwang-tuwa siya doon sa ginawa niya kay De Lima, to think that they are paid by the government."

Poe during the hearing praised RJ Nieto, the man behind the propaganda blog Thinking Pinoy, for his "excellent research" on his blog postings.

For Cruz-Angeles, who is a suspended lawyer, the hearing was an opportunity for the Duterte bloggers to explain to the public what they do in the digital world.

"Let's face it, it's a new medium and some people are still grappling with the different standards. It's a whole different world and some people are already very good at it," she said.

Asked about PCOO Asec Mocha Uson, who is notorious for spreading fake news and misinformation online, Cruz-Angeles defended her fellow ka-DDS, saying that "in all the instances where she was wrong, she retracted or she explained."

Trixie Cruz-Angeles and Ellen Tordesillas
Screenshot: ANC
"Define for me what is fake news. Is an honest mistake fake news? We punish something if there's damage that is caused," she said, noting that there is Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code which punishes those who will disseminate fake news that can endanger the public. "Otherwise, all is good, all is allowed."

When asked if Uson's behavior fits the standards of a government official, with Davila mentioning her relentless attacks on journalists, Cruz-Angeles tried to sidestep the question by saying that she was appointed to be exactly the way she is.

"Doesn't it really sounds strange that you get her for some reason and then expect her to change once you got her into government?" she said.

"So are you saying that technically the administration got her as a propagandist?" Davila retorted.

When asked about the instances where Uson was less than truthful, Tordesillas said: "Maraming instances eh kapag isa-isahin natin mahaba na. Pero tama 'yun, she mirrors the government's stand. Sa akin kasi, what Mocha Uson is embodies the Duterte administration. Ako kasi tutumbukin mo si Presidente because we have Mocha Uson there because of the President."

''Your President [Duterte] is the number one source of fake news. Vehicle lang 'yan silang mga bloggers niya. So ang sinasabi ko kahapon, mas worried ako doon sa government officials na sources ng fake news," Tordesillas added, noting that Justice Secretary Vitalliano Aguirre is "another prolific source of fake news."

At the latter part of the program, Davila also asked the Vera Files founder about Nieto and the behavior he displayed during yesterday's hearing.

Tordesillas said it was "appalling" that the known Duterte propagandist would repeat his accusation against journalist Jes Aznar, whom he accused of compromising the lives of soldiers in Marawi.

"Ang yabang niya! Ang ano ko lang kasi bilib na bilib 'yung ibang senador sa kanya. Hindi ako bilib kay Thinking Pinoy eh. Tapos si-nite niya 'yung aming fact-check kay Jes Aznar sa Marawi. May statement nga ang NUJP for resurrecting that. He never learns his lesson," Tordesillas said.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines earlier released a statement slamming Nieto "for attempting to resurrect his utterly discredited accusation" against Aznar during the hearing.

Watch the interview below:

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