By Genalyn Kabiling
NONTHABURI, Thailand – Denouncing the bogus story about the King of Thailand and President Duterte, the Philippine government has called for a moratorium on the “campaign on hate” while the Chief Executives visits Thailand for the regional summit of Southeast Asian leaders.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo issued the call to the anti-Duterte forces after supporting prison term for the peddlers of a false story that the Philippine leader was told to behave by King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand during the regional summit here.
“The Office of the President expresses its indignation over this cheap political stunt aimed at embarrassing PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte), thereby humiliating our country which he represents, before the global audience,” he said.
“These raucous anti-Duterte forces should be educated that when the Head of State and the Chief Executive of the government of the Philippines is on an official trip overseas, we set aside politics – even the bitterest one amongst foes,” he added.
Panelo added: “If this group cannot rally behind a nation’s mandated leader, as he represents not only his office but the image of the nation as a whole, it should at least observe moratorium on their campaign on hate.”
Earlier, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar branded as “fake news” an article with the title “King orders PH Duterte, behave during ASEAN summit” that was allegedly published by the Bangkok Post. Andanar said he would ask the National Bureau of Investigation to track down the culprit of the bogus story. He likewise warned that those behind the fake story could face imprisonment for their offense under local law. Under Article 112 of Thailand’s criminal code, any person who defames, insults, or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent, or the regent will be punished with a jail term between three and 15 years.
Panelo said the release of the bogus story was “deliberate and malicious” since it went viral on the day the President arrived in Thailand for the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related summits this weekend.
“The Palace condemns the latest black propaganda waged by the President’s fierce and unthinking critics and detractors by peddling a bogus news story,”he said.
He agreed that those behind the bogus story should face the “grim but deserving consequence” of landing in jail under the local law.
“Peddlers of false information must be reminded that Thailand has one of the strictest lese-majeste laws in the world. Harming Philippine-Thai bilateral relations by defaming the monarchy through lies and falsehoods is punishable by prison term, and those behind this recent insolence must face such a grim but deserving consequence,” he said.
The President is scheduled to participate in several summit talks in Thailand this weekend, mainly to push for greater peace, security and prosperity in the region. He is expected to return to the country on November 4.