She was apparently thrown out of a Berlin Conference Hall, slapped by her arch nemesis, the secretary of justice, and pole-danced for a high-profile convict. Queen Elizabeth purportedly congratulated the Senate for ousting her, while former United State President Barack Obama even called her “abnormal” for standing firm against the Duterte administration’s drug war.
These are just some of the things that Sen. Leila de Lima, among lawmakers most frequently attacked on social media, learned about herself online in the seeming parallel universe of fake news.
Alarmed at the “deliberate” escalation and deceptive power of false reports, Sen. Leila de Lima called on Tuesday for an inquiry into the spread of untruths online, noting that the deliberate spread of such stories have destroyed reputations, threatened families, damaged political careers and endangered the freedom of choice.
“I am here to say enough is enough,” said De Lima, citing hurtful false stories that have targeted not just herself but her family.
“I am fortunate to have the strength to stand up and defend myself, but my relatives and family members who have done nothing to deserve being at the receiving end of these lies should not have to be obliged to even acknowledge these lies. More importantly, I will not stand here and wait for them to invent hurtful and damaging rumors about my special child, Israel, or my ailing mother,” De Lima said.
In a privilege speech, De Lima expressed support for separate resolutions that Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Francis Pangilinan earlier filed also seeking a legislative investigation into the spread of fake news.
“People’s morals are degraded by fake news, some of which thrive on plain salaciousness o kabastusan at kalaswaan. Nothing is off limits. The personal life, good name and reputation of women, and even men, are fair game,” said De Lima.
“It’s open season for anyone who dares criticize this government, and it’s severely skewing the moral compass of our people, not to mention our youth,” she said.
De Lima, a fierce administration critic, linked the spread of fake news to President Duterte’s oft-changing statements. She noted his recent friendliness to China even while he promised during the campaign that he would jet ski to the disputed Spratlys to plant the Philippine flag.
“Fake news, the outrageous, the half-truths, the outright lies, the misleading headlines, and even the crass jokes and the profanity that accompany the President’s every appearance on our television screens – these are all nothing but the sticks that make up the broom that this Administration and its supporters use to sweep under the rug their crimes, their incompetencies, their laziness, their lack of dedication to the public’s interests, their broken campaign promises,” said De Lima.
She said addressing fake news was “a matter needing legislative attention,” saying fake information has become a “weapon that is being wielded against the Filipino people and their exercise of their rights.”
The lawmaker, who has repeatedly denied drug allegations thrown against her by the Duterte administration, called on the public to be discerning about information they get online, and check the crediblity of their news sources.
“We are faced with the situation where there are elements in our society who are deliberately poisoning the well of information that is readily available to the Filipino people and to us, their public servants,” the lawmaker said.
“Every lie, every piece of fake news, every form of propaganda that is manufactured and shared by people is like a disease or a poison that will kill everything that is good and just about our beautiful nation. It does not matter that not everyone is fooled. It only matters that there are people being fooled,” she said.
De Lima said false information has led to deaths, as in the case of the innocent who have been slain in the drug war.
“I call on our people not to believe everything they hear or read; but, instead, to be critical and to be inquisitive. Magtanong. Magmatiyag. Magsaliksik. Mag-isip.
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SOURCE: YOUTUBE, INQUIRER