Matrix, a bad omen for democracy

The “association matrix” exposed by President Duterte’s PR man, Manila Times President Emeritus Dante Ang, has not only been criticized but also laughed at by many, including those who are being accused as “conspirators” to the so-called “Oust Duterte” plot.

Without naming the source of the matrix and the dubious illustration connecting Bikoy, the anonymous uploader of the video series called “Ang Totoong Narco List” to Vera Files President Ellen Tordesillas, National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), Rappler, and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), we can say that the “revelations” are patently false.

Since Day 1, President Rodrigo Duterte has been discrediting the media in his attempt to bury the ugly truth in his deadly “war on drugs.” Rappler has been slapped with numerous legal charges while Vera Files and PCIJ were subjected to distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) aiming to shut down their websites after publishing stories about the undeclared BPI accounts of Duterte and his daughter Sara and the drug war and “Know Your Rights” advisories.

Recently, PCIJ released a three-part investigative report on Duterte family’s big spike in wealth. When sought for comment before the publication of the series, the Dutertes did not bother to answer, according to the PCIJ. Again, Duterte resorted to discrediting the media, branding investigative journalists as “pera-pera lang” (only after the money) instead of explaining to the public the exponential rise in his family’s wealth. Downplaying the PCIJ’s matrix of the first family’s undisclosed businesses, Duterte’s PR man produced the incredible matrix containing an unbelievable domain name server (DNS). (Maximum DNS server is only 255; therefore 266 DNS server is non-existent, according to IT experts.)

The NUPL, on the other hand, has been publicly vilified and red tagged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for being critical of Duterte’s drug war and other repressive policies. Some of its members were killed; many others have been under surveillance and have experienced other forms of harassment from state security forces.

Painting a conspiracy among the media groups and lawyers — all perceived as enemies by Duterte — might be used to justify further draconian measures and blatant attacks.

That the release of matrix came a few days before the elections is a cause for alarm. What if the administration’s candidates lose? After ousting Supreme Court Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, making the House of Representatives his stamp pad, Duterte is eyeing the Senate to be under his control. Just because he could not subjugate the Fourth Estate, he wields the state propaganda machinery to spread lies, including fake surveys favorable to his bets.

Remember that Duterte’s idol, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, cited “an organized conspiracy to overthrow the government” to justify the declaration of martial law.

Duterte already threatened to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and declare a “revolutionary government” if he would be “pushed to the extreme.”

Even without the formal declaration of nationwide martial law, extrajudicial killings in the name of “drug war” and “counterinsurgency,” arrests and detention of activists, bombings in rural communities, forced evacuations and other atrocities are so appalling that the Duterte administration has surpassed the late dictator in terms of the number of victims.

How can this administration get even more monstrous? The mere thought of it is chilling but also enraging.

We must continue to be vigilant and fight tyranny. (

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  1. Duterte’s hatred of intellectual discourses made possible by egalitarian press only aggravates the division among different sectors in our society. While his popularity is equated with legitimacy, trolls and others who are convinced to go with the flow continue to weaken others, confirming the damage that can be done when “epistemic violence”would be imposed in a society. Releasing a matrix without basis actually pulled down Digong from his claim that his premise is the only reliable one. Propaganda technique of oversimplification by imposing the dichotomy between his camp and his perceived foes without resorting to critical conversation is, in the long run, dangerous to the very underpinnings of the freedom that makes apathetic mob ( the trolls) carry out their agenda. This is pathetic!

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