Vice President Leni Robredo has admitted the opposition’s lack of efforts to counter the massive amounts of “propaganda” purportedly being dished out by President Duterte and his allies.
“Malaking-malaki iyong pagkukulang namin, ng political opposition, na hindi kami nakapagbigay ng parang alternative truths (We have a lot of shortcomings, the political opposition, that we were not able to provide alternative truths),” she said in an interview with GMA News’ “The Mangahas Interviews.”
Robredo said they were probably complacent in thinking that the people will not believe the propaganda.
Back in 2016, the vice president said that her stand was not to dignify fake news with a response. This was during the height of the fake news propagated against her by pro-administration political bloggers.
“Dapat noon pa lang, sinagot ko na siya nang harapan, para nagkaroon na ng, iyon nga, ng alternate truths iyong mga tao. Kasi dahil hindi kami nag-offer ng katotohanan, pinaniwalaan ng marami iyong (kasinungalingan). At iyon iyong dala-dala na nila ngayon. So kung pagkukulang lang, malaki iyong pagkukulang (Back then, I should have provided alternate truths for the people. Because we are not offering truths, many believed the fake news. They carry those until today. So if we’re talking about shortcomings, we have a lot of those).”
Fake news was a new phenomenon, Robredo admitted, saying that it wasn’t “how things worked” before. So now, the opposition is trying to counter the fake news with the truth.
The vice president lamented that the phenomenon of propagating fake news formed the thinking of many Filipinos back then and now.
In the months before the May 2019 midterm elections, the Liberal Party launched Project Makinig in an aim to hear the testimonies of Filipinos experiencing difficulty in their lives.
During the process, Robredo said they found out that people will believe what information is offered to them because it is what’s available. However, the Party was “late in the day” and they weren’t able to use that information for the election campaign. None of the Liberal Party’s bets went on to win a seat in Senate.
That prompted her to start releasing clarifications when there are erroneous news being peddled about her.
“So ngayon, we’re doing our part, pero tingin ko kasi, hindi din namin kaya na kami lang. Kailangan marami ring grupo na mag-resolve na ganito din iyong gagawin (Right now, we’re doing our part, but I think, we cannot do it ourselves. A lot of groups should be resolved in doing the same thing, too),” she said.
However, business groups in particular fear the repercussions of speaking against the administration because of what happened to media giant ABS-CBN who had its license renewal denied, prompting it to find other ways to air its shows.