Still no evidence to back up alleged ouster plot vs. Duterte – VERA Files

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 29) — Fact-checking group VERA Files on Monday said there’s still no concrete evidence to back up the alleged ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte -- which the government claimed is backed by several critics of his administration. 

“One week has passed and Malacañang and the Manila Times have not come up with anything to back up their false report alleging that journalists, news organizations and a lawyers’ group were involved in an oust-Duterte plot,” the news organization said in its statement.

VERA Files condemned the claim, adding that authorities “didn’t even bother to verify the information” in the matrix.

“The matrix story would have been laughable if it was not deliberately manufactured to muddle the mind of the public with lies and endanger the lives of the persons named in that diagram,” it added.

The organization likewise called for an end of the intimidation of independent media.

“If there is any orchestration being done, it is by Malacañang and Manila Times to intimidate media who are holding Duterte accountable for his questionable decisions and actions,” the statement further read.

The Palace last week tagged journalists, news-related organizations and a lawyers’ group as among those involved in the alleged ongoing destabilization plot against Duterte.

RELATED: Manila Times managing editor resigns over 'Oust Duterte plot' matrix publication

The matrix’s alleged starting point is "Bikoy," the anonymous man who tagged Duterte's children and former aide in the illegal drug trade. Bikoy claims to be a former drug syndicate operator.

It then leads to the name of veteran journalist and blogger Ellen Tordesillas. Malacañang claimed Tordesillas sent Bikoy's videos to media outfits Rappler and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. The nonprofit organization recently came out with a series of reports on the Duterte family’s alleged sudden rise in income.

Tordesillas also allegedly sent the information from Bikoy to the National Union of People’s Lawyers, the group that filed a complaint against Duterte before the International Criminal Court.

The journalists and news organizations have denied and slammed the allegations.