Everything fake

>> Thursday, October 26, 2017

March L. Fianza

BAGUIO CITY -- Decades ago when colleagues in the world of newspapering and I caught deadlines with typewriters, landlines and facsimile machines; I can recall wishing to high heavens that my name appeared on the byline or be at the end of the story as tagline.
Although the correspondent or news contributor was not told, it was understood that reading his or her name on the story revealed the thoughts of the editors that he or she deserved the byline because the article was accurately written.
Today, the internet has changed the mode of communicating to the public with the use of bogus names or anonymous sites. And because of this, articles may be written irresponsibly; and any author can just write fake news and libelous statements because he feels secured under the blanket of fake identity.
Compared to using a true name as in traditional newspaper writing, what the anonymous writer in the internet wants is to espouse fake news and defamatory views, wants freedom of expression and freedom to destroy the character of individuals, but at the same time wants freedom from responsibility. They can’t be identified, so you can’t sue them.
Another way by which fake news gets published is when the source or the person interviewed by a reporter does not tell the truth like one mayor I know. Naturally, what comes out in news print and broadcast media are lies and a lot of hot air which many will consider now as fake news.
It’s trending. First, we had fake Levis jeans, then fake Johnny Walker Double Black. Now we have fake news, fake newspapers, fake writers, fake news sources, fake internet bloggers, manufactured videos of politicians, you name it – we have it in the Philippines.
Not to be outdone, even judges render decisions out of fake theft court cases. Take the case of Roger Sinot, the genuine and duly selected indigenous peoples’ mandatory representative (IPMR) to the city council of Baguio. Honestly, he admitted being jailed for three months for a crime he did not do.
This writer is privy to that because I personally know what transpired in that fake theft case. More than a decade ago, barangay officials of Baan, Kayapa, Nueva Viscaya delivered loads of sand and gravel right inside the titled property of Roger Sinot, allegedly for the construction of a barangay hall.
After so many arguments and since the sand and gravel which they themselves delivered was inside Sinot’s property, they charged him for theft.
By the way, while the case was being heard, Kayapa and Aritao were already tangled in a long drawn boundary conflict case, particularly in Barangay Baan where Sinot’s property is located. In fact, there are two sets of barangay officials in Barangay Baan – one set for Kayapa, the other for Aritao.  
In an actual inspection of the site, the judge told the barangay officials that Sinot was willing to pay more than double for the aggregates intentionally left by them. They did not want payment. Obviously, the theft case was a smokescreen because what they wanted was to occupy the land.
Several court proceedings were heard but sometime later, Sinot’s lawyer failed to appear in court and did not even notify him about the scheduled hearing. The judge technically sentenced Sinot to serve a short jail term for the crime of theft which he did not do.
Since the jail term was only three months, Sinot chose to take the “short vacation” from August 4 to November 4 in 2013. The case is not over. To finally settle things, Sinot filed for “Quieting of Title” over the land he inherited from his parents.   
On Nov. 4, 2016, exactly three years after his jail term, he was selected IPMR to the city council after having acquired the minimum requirements of a nominee listed in the guidelines ratified by the assembly which are: a descendant of an original or early Ibaloy tribe in Baguio, a resident and registered voter in the city and an ancestral land claimant. Roger Dalisdis Sinot was all of that.
But before the NCIP could issue a certificate of affirmation, an obscure group of personalities who claimed to be representatives of other IP tribes complained that they were excluded from the selection process.
In the first place, the petitioners against the affirmation of Sinot were fake personalities since the guidelines clearly stated that complainants should be any of the losing nominees.
Instead of throwing out the fake petition filed by the fake personalities, the NCIP acting director Roland Calde entertained it for reasons known only to him. This is why almost a year now after Sinot’s selection on November 4, 2016, the IPs are deprived of a representative in the city council. Calde not only violated the guidelines, he sinned against the IPs.
Up to now, the guidelines have not been questioned in any court which could have enlightened all parties, but knowing the opposite side, they would not do something that would definitely make them lose their case.
To make matters worse, the fake opposition in coordination with an anonymous politician in City Hall capitalized on Sinot’s fake theft case, saying it was a violation against the guidelines provision on Moral Turpitude.
Again, the guidelines provision that can be understood by any high school graduate cleared Sinot. Imprisonment based on the prohibition provision should at least be ONE YEAR that has been served within the PAST TWO YEARS prior to the IPMR selection. Sinot admitted that he took his unwanted vacation in jail for only THREE MONTHS in 2013, and THREE YEARS prior to his selection.     
Another violation that the fake petitioners accused him of was his Comelec registration in Nueva Vizcaya. This was also cleared when Sinot came back to register in Baguio. In fact, the Comelec issued a certification in favor of Sinot, saying that there was no need to register again since he was still a registered voter in Baguio.
From fake news, comes now the fake assembly where participants are convinced to attend by telling them that the issues to be discussed are about their land claims and solutions to their problems on their mining activities.
When the NCIP-sponsored assembly last October 7 failed because participants found out that the issues being discussed were not the same issues that were vowed to be settled, the NCIP acting director came out with an interview saying that the participants who supported Sinot walked out because they did not succeed in questioning the assembly proceedings.
That was fake information that was fed to the NCIP acting director that he in turn paraphrased in a news interview. The truth was that in the notice of assembly that the participants read, it was stated that lunch would be served.
But the participants noticed that while the NCIP acting director admitted that the assembly was an activity sponsored by NCIP, lunch was being served only to those who had meal tickets – not to all participants.
Since they did not have meal tickets and were not served lunch, they had no choice but to look for food somewhere.
They also noticed that the other participants who had meal tickets went home after partaking of the food. Nobody walked out as stated by acting director Calde in his news interview.
By the way, during the discussions, a participant claimed they were instructed by NCIP acting director Calde to reiterate their complaint against Sinot so that he will have basis to hold the issuance of the certificate of affirmation.
What does that make of him as the head of the office that is tasked to unite and protect the IPs? Fake news and fake assemblies? Now, do we have a director who divides and makes IPs wrangle against each other? PDu30 should be told about this.


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