Salvador Panelo, the presidential spokesperson, denounced a satirical meme featuring himself apparently endorsing senatorial candidates from the opposition.
The photo original shows Panelo baring the expanded matrix of personalities and organizations allegedly part of an ouster plot at a press conference at Malacañang earlier this week.
The photo was shared by a parody Facebook page Malacañang Events and Catering Services on Thursday, May 9.
The candidates listed were Gary Alejano, Bam Aquino, Neri Colemenares, Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, Florin Hilbay, Romulo Macalintal, Mar Roxas, Erin Tañada and Leody de Guzman.
The image is an obvious meme typical on social media, but Panelo considered the post a form of “black propaganda” and “political mudslinging.”
“It is a given fact that there are still netizens who believe in what they see or read on the internet, including images that have been obviously altered, edited or photoshopped. It is for this reason that I strongly denounce the malicious use of my image for black propaganda and political mudslinging,” he said.
“While we understand that the post is a political meme, which is the norm in this campaign season, the same however amounts to a defamatory imputation,” he added.
Panelo dismissed the meme as false news and quipped that the image should be fact checked.
“This is nothing but false news dished out by the supporters of the political opposition which by its reckoning is headed for a resounding debacle,” he said.
Some Filipinos online poked fun of Panalo’s presentation of diagrams on a piece of cartolina and taped on a white board.
Aside from known critics of the president and a random lawyer, Olympic athlete Hidilyn Diaz and broadcaster Gretchen Ho are also dragged into the latest alleged destabilization plot.
This development came as local authorities are investigating the people behind the controversial “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos which allege that some members of the Duterte family and allies are involved in the illegal drug trade. The personalities have denied it.
Lawmakers not convinced
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the people listed in the latest matrix may not be out to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Ang tingin ko yan yung mga listahan ng mga tingin nila, asar kay president,” he said in a phone interview with CNN Philippines.
Sotto also said that Ho and Diaz are impossible to be destabilizers.
“They might not like the president but they will never be involved in anything to destabilize the government. I doubt it,” he said.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson also previously perceived the inclusion of both public figures as ridiculous.
“Their inclusion in the matrix either involved excellent intelligence work or Bikoy had infiltrated NSA,” he said on Twitter.
Panelo, himself, also could not explain why Ho and Diaz were implicated in the controversy.
“I did not make the matrix, I just presented it per instruction of the President,” he said via text message to a media outfit.
Lacson and Sotto were also suspicious of Peter Joemel Advincula, the man who surfaced as “Bikoy” or a hooded figure speaking in the controversial viral videos.
Sotto found out that Advincula, who claimed to be part of the drug syndicate, was also the same person who accused former President Benigno Aquino and his allies of being involved in illegal drug activities.
Lacson canceled the Senate probe into Advincula’s allegations after Sotto released the documents on him.