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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, August 10, 2018
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with Carlos Antonio L. Leonardia



Everyone has been discussing the vomit-inducing “pepe” “dede” “ralism” of Mocha Uson and her friend so I will limit my comments on the topic before I lose my sanity.

The Filipino people pay Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson upwards of P130k a month, and despite producing nothing of note over her many months of collecting her atrocious paycheck and joining junkets on the Filipino people’s dime, she is still in no danger of losing her job. Whoever hired that woman has been tolerating the fake news and lies and the non-performance that makes the government hiring policy of #BestAndBrightest the laughing stock of critical thinkers in this country.

The horror of her Pepe Dede Ralism jingle and her boss being “cool” with such a tasteless and useless contribution to public discourse and Filipino society, summarizes why it has become exceedingly difficult to believe that whatever change that was promised is going to be good for this country.

I do not know how anyone who still believes in the unorthodox methods of this administration can justify the wisdom of Mr. Duterte keeping such a creature under the payroll of the Filipino people. She should be fired like Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang who was dismissed from service, complete with cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, being barred from taking civil service examinations and perpetual disqualification from office.

While we are on the topic of government incompetence, how about that state-run People’s Television Network using a fake photograph of a supposed Filipino warship that President Duterte supposedly plans to send to Libya?

PTV-4 used a photoshopped photo of a Chinese Type 054A frigate that was originally taken from Wikipedia and modified to sport the Philippine flag instead of China’s. The original video has been taken down after it was called out by fact checkers and PTV posted an erratum and an apology, explaining that the photo was “downloaded from the internet by an Ulat Bayan video editor.”

The video editor has supposedly been sanctioned, probably for doing such a terrible photoshop job, and other staff have been warned against repeating the error.

The news is already iffy: Mr. Duterte did say he would send a warship for 3 kidnapped Filipino engineers in Libya but knowing the president, it was probably just another joke. However, if you come to think of it, if I were president and I had an imaginary warship, I would probably send it halfway across the globe to save three of my countrymen even if it were fiscally irresponsible.

But it is the photoshopped photo of a Chinese warship that takes the cake. How incompetent must a government-employed video editor be to accidentally download that particular photoshopped photo if that photo is extremely hard to find using casual search methods? Do they expect us to believe the excuse that the photo was accidentally found in the internet? What search string was used?

Note that I tried different search strings to come up with that same hoax photo and it proved to be almost impossible to come up with a first-page result showing that photo. It would’ve required a special degree of incompetence and bad luck to find that photoshopped warship photo on your first try.

The more believable explanation is that it was no mistake. The only explanation that makes sense is the video editor must’ve sought out the photoshopped photo. Maybe he wanted the Philippines to look good. Maybe he thought real photos of actual Philippine warships didn’t look impressive enough and they wouldn’t make Mr. Duterte look gwapo and macho enough. Either he scrolled through hundreds of photos of Philippine warships before finding that fake one or he had a hand in the photoshop job that produced the fake photo that they consciously and deliberately put in their news.

The way Pepe Dede Ralism cheerleader Mocha Uson uses fake news and how PTV-4 people can be so casual in using fake photos is very alarming. Out of the 101 million Filipinos in the country, these are the kind of people our government hires and keeps. What kind of government agencies whose focus is on communication keep people who have no sense of responsibility to the truth and have no qualms on using fake anything to make their country and their dear leader look good?

It is hard to trust people who are fake and people who dish out fakery without even blinking. Those of us who don’t want drama or scams know better and avoid contact with such toxic people. But when government employees and TV networks start peddling fakery, it is harder to ignore and tune them out so it becomes our duty to call them out while we still can and hope for end of this disgusting culture of fakery, especially when it is powered by our taxes.*  

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