Senate wants to subpoena founder of anti-government blogs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — Senators want the person behind websites critical of the government to explain his alleged involvement in the spread of fake news during the next Senate probe.

During the Senate investigation on fake news on Wednesday, the founder of Thinking Pinoy blog, Rey Joseph "RJ" Nieto, bared the identity of the founder of the blog who tagged seven senators who did not sign a resolution against state-sponsored killings as "Malacañang dogs."

Related: Senators figure in heated exchange over blog post

"I discovered na 'yung websites na Silent No More, ng Madam Claudia, and lots of other websites share a similar characteristic: All those websites serve advertisements from a single account. I found out who the account holder is, si Edward Angelo Dayao," he said.

He said this means only one group is handling the anti-government sites. He added Dayao, also known as Cocoy Dayao, is behind over 20 websites critical of the government, including ProPinoy.net.

"He is the web administrator of these websites, not necessarily creating the content. Pero may control siya sa lahat ng websites, Nieto said. He added Dayao's LinkedIn account links these affiliations under his name.

Dayao was invited as a resource person, but he did not attend the probe.

Senator Grace Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, said they may subpoena Dayao.

"It's ironic that his blog is 'Silent No More PH' when he is so silent now. We will probably issue a subpoena if we will have another hearing," Poe said.

Poe hit bloggers who are hiding their identities, while commending Nieto and Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson for showing their identities on their blogs.

"We need accountability," the senator said.

The National Bureau of Investigation said the posts published by 'Silent No More PH' could be established as libelous. They added an investigation is ongoing.

More allegations, names dropped

Nieto, who described his website as a "political opinion blog," alleged digital influencers were used during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.

He said former Interior Secretary and losing presidential candidate Mar Roxas hired a certain Joyce Ramirez, a public relations officer, to pin the Mamasapano incident on Aquino.

Poe looked shocked because Roxas ran under Aquino's political party, Liberal Party. She asked Nieto to elaborate.

"The 'Nasaan Ang Pangulo' campaign is a campaign that's intended to pin down all the blame on the Mamasapano incident on PNoy, so that if Mar runs for the presidency, he can be shielded from the bad PR," he said.

#NasaanAngPangulo trended on Twitter in Jaunuary 2015, when Aquino did not attend the heroes' welcome for the slain SAF forces.

In a post on his Twitter account, Roxas denied Nieto's claims and challenged the blogger to provide evidence.

"Hindi ko kilala at wala akong kinalaman kahit katiting sa iyo, kay Joyce Ramirez o sa sinasabi mong "Nasaan ang Pangulo." May ebidensya ka?" Roxas said. "Deretso akong tao, Hindi ako pailalim kumilos," he added.

(translation: I don't know and am not involved even the slightest bit with you, Joyce Ramirez, or the "Nasaan ang Pangulo" campaign you mentioned. Do you have evidence? I am a straightforward person. I don't act in secret.)

Roxas said Nieto's accusations lacked logic, as it did not make sense for him to hurt Aquino's reputation when he was counting on the latter's endorsement.

"Bakit ko sya sisiraan eh inaasahan ko nga ang endorsement nya. Konting thinking naman, diba?" Roxas tweeted. "P.S. ikaw ang fake news!"

(translation: Why would I damage his reputation when I was hoping for his endorsement. Think a little, will you. P.S. You're the one who's fake news!)

Aquino's former spokesman Edwin Lacierda, who was present during the hearing, said Nieto's allegations are malicious and baseless.

Nieto also tagged a certain Pete Silva as the person who circulated online information to shield Vice President Leni Robredo from criticisms.

The Thinking Pinoy blogger clarified he is not an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, but he is Duterte "aligned."