Robredo warns foreign-sourced info in 'oust-Duterte matrix' is illegal

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Vice President Leni Robredo (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 24) — Vice President Leni Robredo wanted to clarify where President Rodrigo Duterte got the information linking journalists to a massive government destabilization plot, and warned that it would be illegal to source those information from foreign surveillance.

"Nakakatakot iyong pahayag ng Pangulo na iyong pinagmulan ng kaniyang source ay produkto ng pag-eespiya ng isang foreign government sa mga Pilipino. Unang una, bawal iyon. Sa ilalim ng batas, hindi iyon pinapayagan," Robredo was quoted saying in the Ahon Laylayan Koalisyon Provincial Launch in Cagayan de Oro City.

[Translation: It's scary to hear from the President that his information was sourced from a foreign government's espionage on Filipinos. First off, that's illegal. The Constitution does not allow this.]

Under the Constitution's Bill of Rights, "the privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law." Evidence obtained violating this provision will be inadmissible for purposes in proceedings. The Philippines also has an anti-wiretapping law.

"‘Di ba dapat kapag opisyal ka ng pamahalaan, iyong pinaka-pangunahing kailangan mong proteksyunan iyong mga tao, iyong mga Pilipino, dahil ito iyong mga umaasa at humihiling ng proteksyon laban sa iyo. Pero kapag hinahayaan mo na isang foreign government ang, parang, magva-violate ng ating karapatan sa privacy, masamang signal ito," she said.

[Translation: Isn't it that when you are a government official, your primary job is to protect your people, because these are the people depending on you for protection. But if you let a foreign government to violate our right to privacy, that's a bad sign.]

She added the President must clarify how the information was sourced.

"Kasi kung galing talaga ito sa ibang bansa, at galing sa pag-eespiya, krimen ito [If it really came from another country and it came from espionage, this is crime]," she explained.

Robredo added that this was not the first matrix Duterte had released.

"Kung maaalala natin, may pinalabas din na isang matrix, na iyon, sigurado akong hindi iyon totoo, kasi nandoon iyong pangalan ko at wala akong kinalaman sa kahit anong bagay na magde-destabilize ng pamahalaang ito. Ngayon mayroon na namang bagong matrix, at pareho iyong kuwento: na galing ito sa pag-eespiya ng ibang pamahalaan," the Vice President explained.

[Translation: If we can remember, a matrix was previously released, and I'm sure that matrix was fabricated since my name was there and I am not involved in anything that destabilizes this government. Now that there's a new matrix, the story is the same: that it came from foreign government's intel.]

Duterte earlier said he had intelligence information — which came from an unidentified foreign country — on those behind the viral videos by a certain "Bikoy" linking him, his family and friends to the drug trade.

"What you did not know is that you are being listened to habang ginagawa ninyo 'yang mga kalokohan niyo. … It was an intelligence report not from us but from another country," Duterte said.

On Monday, the Palace claimed there is an ongoing ouster plot against the President, tagging journalists, news-related firms and lawyers critical of the Duterte administration. It presented a matrix linking them to "Bikoy."

READ: Palace tags journalists, lawyers in alleged ouster plot vs. Duterte; PNP, AFP deny destabilization plan

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo explained only Duterte knows which country was involved in intel gathering. Through monitored phone conversations in the country, Malacañang said the matrix has been validated.