Fake news victim Pacquiao seeks police help in war vs trolls

Published August 3, 2021, 6:10 PM

by Mario Casayuran

`Senator Emmanuel ‘’Manny’’ D. Pacquiao on Tuesday, July 3 sought police help in identifying the persons behind a social media (socmed) ‘’fake news’’ that linked him to an alleged P3.5 billion corruption in the construction of Sarangani Sports complex.

Pacquiao said he is determined to hold the social media trolls accountable for spreading lies about him hoping that this would empower more Filipinos to rise up against the irresponsible and reckless use of the social media.

“ Many of these SocMed trolls are making a lot of money at the expense of honest and hard-working citizens. I’ll make it my mission to stop them at all costs,” he stressed.

Eight-time world division boxing champion Pacquiao is in Los Angeles training for his upcoming fight with unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in Las Vegas on August 21.

Through his legal team from the Cuison, Daguinod, Mendoza-Martelino Law offices, Pacquiao requested the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Cyber Crime Group to identify the owners and administrators of 27 fake news sites which carried or shared the fake news that tagged him in an alleged P3.5- billion corruption for the construction of the Sarangani Sports Complex.

Pacquiao’s action stemmed from a social media post made by President Duterte’s spiritual adviser, Pastor Quiboloy of SMNI who falsely claimed that the senator was behind the unfinished Sarangani Sports Complex that eventually became a “white elephant.”

Quibuloy also claimed that the project had cost the government P3.5 billion as he showed pictures of a dilapidated bleachers and overgrown grass, Pacquiao pointed out.

The post of Quibuloy, who claims to be the Appointed Son of God, was quickly shared and discussed by various social media trolls that include self-confessed Duterte die-hard loyalist Bryan Cristobal, who is better known Banat B(o)y in at least 27 fake news sites, he added.

“The post is libelous and was malicious to destroy the good reputation of the Senator. For the benefit of the public, I would like to remind everyone the Senate is part of the legislative branch of government. Their role is primarily to create bills and resolutions which may become laws later on. It is because of this that the senator, being a strong advocate for sports development, proposed the creation of a world class sports complex in Sarangani to further develop athletes in the region.

Pacquiao proposed this in 2018 and it was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on February 22, 2019, lawyer Atty. Pelagio Lawrence Cuison said.

“The full implementation of the project will be done by the local government through province of Sarangani and the municipality of Alabel where the land is located, while the budget will be coming from the national government.

‘’The contractor selected by the bidding committee of the province also has no relation to the senator,” Cuison added.

Cuison said that in reality, the P3.5 billion that was being cited by Quibuloy as the budget for the Sarangani Sports Complex was actually the budget allocated for the construction of the Philippine Sports and Training Center to be located in Bataan under Republic Act 11214 (Philippine Sports Training Center Act).

He said that the construction of the Sarangani Sports Complex was made possible with the enactment of Republic 11224 (An Act Establishing the Sarangani Sports Training Center) which Pacquiao authored but it’s allocation was not fully realized since the budget has to realigned for COVID-19 response.

“The obviously malicious intent of these fake news outlets is to smear the good name of the senator should not go unpunished and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Cuison said.