By Raïssa Robles
Yesterday I was surprised when one of my sources told me there was word going around that I was the “Little Lady” who had leaked the bank documents of Chief Justice Corona to a House prosecutor.
I realized then I had just become part of the story.
By the way, for the record, I am NOT the Little Lady and I tweeted this yesterday.
Anyway as yesterday progressed, I watched in morbid fascination as the story grew on Twitter, FB and some websites.
For instance, this one which originated from a site that consistently insults its own name – Getrealphihlippines – said:
And then there were these tweets:
Then it got worse –
Doing what any real journalist would do, I researched the story. I tried to look for the origin of the lie. Someone referred me to an anonymous Facebook page named Showbiz Government:
I have never met nor interviewed Associate Justice Antonio Carpio in my life.
I have never been a “girl friday”, whatever that poster means.
I am not moonlighting as a journalist. I AM a journalist.
I have never handed any envelope to Cong. Umali nor have I ever met him.
I’m providing a list at the end of this piece of all the magistrates of the Supreme Court whom I’ve interviewed or met on a personal basis. So next time anyone links me to a magistrate, you can pick one of those names and you’d be more credible.
What happened next? Well, today, someone named Wilfred Avila still posted the story on a site called blogwatch, without also posting my denial. This is how Avila wrote the story:
Here is Avila’s story about what happened yesterday:
Dear Wilfred Avila,
I don’t know what you know about journalism. But based on what you wrote maybe I should follow your sterling example. Should I get anonymous information on the Internet saying that you’re a child-abusing rapist serial killer, I will immediately post it on my website and say – “I really have no idea as to its veracity but am copying it as is for your information.”
And also end it by saying – “The public should know.”
Two other things, Wilfred Avila, I find the ending of your post interesting. Why, I would even suspect you were trying to start a bank run when you said –
What was telling about today’s hearing is that NO BANK ACCOUNT IS SAFE!
Also, do you really think that anybody with such a sensational story like the bank documents would immediately give it to someone else and lose the scoop? In case you don’t know, this is the way a real journalist works: a real journalist first verifies the information to see whether it’s true or not.
Why I believe there’s a systematic and malicious attempt to blacken me in order to discredit my stories
I tried to trace the source of the Little Lady story. Apparently, as far as I know, it came from Facebook and was then transmitted through Twitter.
But someone also took the trouble to send the same via text messages (SMS) to mobile phones of media personalities. For instance, Gang Badoy of Rock Ed Philippines radio posted this on Twitter:
And this morning, I got this e-mail from Malaya and Abante columnist Ducky Paredes:
Text from 09278794541
I received this text from that number: “FWD- Raissa Robles, justice Carpio’s girl friday moonlighting as a journalist, s d short lady who handed d envelope 2 cong umali. Ipasubpoena na yan ngSenado pls pass. Gil of cvte.”
I love your blog as you may have figured csidering how much I had stolen from you. Best regards. Ducky
This morning, a friend also texted me saying:
Hi. U r n d news as d girl friday of justice Carpio.
I asked my friend where she had heard it. She said she heard the anchor on radio station DZRH identify me by name as Carpio’s “Girl Friday”. She quoted the radio anchor as saying that every Friday, I would stay at the office of Justice Carpio as his secretary.
Anatomy of a lie
This first-hand experience has given me a ringside view of how gossip turns viral and mutates in the process. And how people feel they can say anything on the Internet without any consequences or care.
I am not one to lobby for censorship of the Internet. Just the opposite.
But I would like to point out how it seems plenty of people are gullible enough to believe unverified reports.
For instance –
It got downright personal –
However, there were those on Twitter and Facebook who tried to verify and did not believe the lie –
But one brave soul posted this on the same wall-
Today the story persisted and this badly-done ho-hum photo was added:
Some one on FB even tried to use the story to try to annoy my hubby Alan:
My husband says this character is a loser. Perhaps he just needs attention.
Now, let me take this opportunity to stress something about the things I write here. The reports are VERIFIABLE.
Last week, Securities and Exchange Commission senior officer Benito Cataran verified my piece on Basa-Guidote Enterprises entiteld CJ Corona’s P11M ‘cash advance’.
Cataran confirmed under oath that the SEC had considered BGE dissolved in 2003 when CJ Corona had obtained the P11 million loan from it.
Lawyers and judges have also verified my report entitled “From his own mouth: CJ Corona’s guidelines in the use of SALNs & ITRs to prove ill-gotten wealth”
In this second piece, I discussed how CJ Corona wrote the landmark decision on the Marcos loot and Corona’s method of computing a government official’s ill-gotten wealth could also be used in his own case.
Personally, I just feel I have to write about CJ Corona. That is the instinct of the journalist in me kicking in whenever I see contradictions between what a state official says and does.
Who could be behind this lie linking me to Justice Carpio and the bank documents?
The fabricated bogus story is very specifically targeted — both against myself and Carpio.
I ask myself, who could possibly have hostility towards myself and Carpio? What do you think?
People have warned me to be extra careful.
I am not taking such advice lightly because of certain affidavits I have which make chilling claims about how CJ Corona operates.
I’m only starting to verify these, but meanwhile I have sent copies to a lawyer for safekeeping.
These are magistrates I’ve personally interviewed. So next time, you know whose name you can link to mine:
Chief Justice Renato Corona
Retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno
The late Chief Justice Roberto Concepion The late Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan
The late Chief Justice Pedro Yap
The magistrates I personally know:
The late Chief Justice Ramon Aquino
The late Associate Justice Irene Cortes (my ninang)
Retired Associate Justice Carolina Griño-Aquino
Retired Associate Justice Leonardo Quisumbing
It’s an remarkable piece of writing in support of all
the web viewers; they will get advantage from it I am sure.
Much have been written about Corona and Aquino, especially their “exchange of words” not expected of them both. But there is one specifically important issue that has to be taken up seriously — whether it behooves them, including us ordinary John Does, to respect the law. Corona, being the Chief Justice, and Aquino, being the President, as well as their cohorts and the kibitzers, like us, should not (if they do) use the gullible among us to further their own vested interest in the interest of maintaining respect due their offices. We all want that corruption be stamped out and corrupt officials be made accountable. But perhaps, we all agree that this should be done within the ambit of the law. If Corona is found guilty by the Impeachment Court, then he should be removed from office. If he isn’t, then he should remain as Chief Justice. Yes, indeed we ought to follow the law. If we don’t trust the senators serving as judges in the Impeachment Court, then we are partly to blame for voting them as senators. Ours is a country operating under a representative democracy, whereby our voice as a people is entrusted to our elected leaders. For as long as they try and decide the impeachment complaint against Corona (though rammed through the Senate without a hearing conducted by the House of Representatives, as required by the Constitution) based on the law, there is, I think, no reason for us to cry foul over their decision. Let’s speak and write with sobriety, circumspection, and propriety. Values Education 101 tells us to do so. Let’s prove we have learned from it.