Questions continue to pile up over the source and veracity of the controversial “ouster plot” matrix as Malacañang has yet to give further details on the alleged plan to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte.
In his media briefing Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo seemingly backtracked on his statement against “Bikoy”—the anonymous man who tagged Duterte’s children and former aide in the illegal trade. He now said he “does not know” whether Bikoy had a hand in the supposed destabilization plot against the chief executive.
“Exactly, I don’t know his participation,” Panelo told reporters when asked of Bikoy’s role in the matrix.
The spokesman last week tagged the man behind the controversial video series as the supposed “starting point” of the matrix, which also linked journalists, news organizations, and lawyers to the ouster plot.
“Ang ibig sabihin, the source is Bikoy. Gumawa siya ng fake news… Pinadala niya kay (Ellen) Tordesillas.Pinadala naman ni Tordesillas sa tatlo, tapos kinalat na nila. ‘Yun lang naman ang ibig sabihin nito eh,” he said in his April 22 briefing.
[Translation: What it means is that the source is Bikoy. He created fake news, forwarded it to Tordesillas. Tordesillas, on the other hand, forwarded it to the others and it was already spread. That’s what it means.]
Panelo likewise admitted he only received a copy of the matrix through text message from an unknown number. He added he also cross-checked the matrix with the one published on The Manila Times.
“I reasonably assumed that was the matrix mentioned by the President. And since he did not dispute that or corrected me, it means it’s the same matrix he referred to me to touch upon during the news briefing,” he said.
“Actually di ko rin alam yung mga pangalan diba, kasi yung padala sa akin, ang labo. That is why I asked my staff, kumuha kayo ng klaro. How will you get it? Sa Manila Times, klaro,” Panelo added.
[Translation: Actually I was not able to see the names, because what they sent me was blurry and unclear. That is why I asked my staff, get a clear copy. How will you get it? The Manila Times copy is clear.]
The spokesman also stressed the matrix is not propaganda, as the information came from the chief executive himself.
“He has unlimited sources of information. I don’t have to verify what the President told me. Because he’s the president, the president does not lie about these things,” Panelo noted.
News organization VERA Files on Monday slammed the matrix released by the Palace, and pointed out how there’s still no concrete evidence to back up the allegations.
Malacañang on Wednesday, however, said it is not their responsibility to show proof for the claims.
Meanwhile, the man who allegedly helped circulate the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” series has been arrested by authorities, the Justice Department said Thursday.