Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has denounced anew the resurgence of misleading content and fake news stories directed to her which she counts as a part of an obviously well-oiled and well-orchestrated campaign to discredit her.
De Lima, a former justice secretary, said the makers and purveyors of fake news have been working double time again to spread fake news against her as she continues to receive support from the international community, particularly from US lawmakers.
“After the passage into law of the United States 2020 Appropriations Bill which includes an amendment imposing an entry ban to government officials responsible for my wrongful imprisonment, there has been a resurgence of fake news against me, including false narratives and misleading headlines,” she said.
“These evil men and women who resort to the use of social media to spread outright lies and propagate hate speech online will stop at nothing to propel their political agendas to greater heights,” she added.
Recently, pro-Duterte pages are using various social media platforms, including Facebook, to share and re-share the link of an old YouTube video that ran a misleading headline implying that De Lima tolerates prison gangs who are exerting control over the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Uploaded by pro-Duterte YouTube channel “Duterte Latest News” three years ago, the video’s headline read: “Full story of Gangs control Bilibid prison in Manila with blessing of Leila de Lima.”
Upon careful fact-checking, the video was actually the 2013 documentary produced by Discovery Channel entitled “Inside the Gangster’s code,” showing ex-mafia insider Lou Ferrante revealing the untold secrets of prison gang culture, including his meeting with the world’s most ruthless prison gangs.
The trailer of the documentary series was originally uploaded on YouTube Channel of Discovery UK with the title “Gang Boss Conference – The Philippines – Inside the Gangster Code.”
De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte administration, pointed out that the purveyors of fake news are re-sharing the link to the old video in a desperate attempt to damage her reputation.
“As then justice secretary, I worked hard to combat illegal drugs and stop the luxurious culture of Bilibid inmates. These paid trolls are hell-bent on damaging my good reputation by discrediting my efforts and making me look an evil person,” she said.
“Whatever lies they spread about me, the good men and women who continue to support my good causes, including the defenders of human rights here and abroad, can never be fooled into believing fake news about me,” she added.
Last Dec. 20, US President Donald Trump signed into law the US Fiscal Year 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill which includes a provision banning the entry of Philippine government officials involved in De Lima’s wrongful detention.
The provision in the US Fiscal Year 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill was introduced by US Senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy last Sept. 27 and adopted at the committee level.
After Trump’s signing into law of the US 2020 Appropriations Bill, Mr. Duterte’s allies launched tirades against Senators Durbin and Leahy and other supporters of De Lima.