May 2, 2016

#BangkoSerye: Inday Espina-Varona and ThinkingPinoy tweet about Ellen Tordesillas

ThinkingPinoy tweeted veteran journalist Inday Espina-Varona of ABS-CBN to ask for her opinion on the TP articles “#BangkoSerye: Sonny Trillanes and his Hacker-Friend” and “#BangkoSerye: How close is Tordesillas to Magdalo Hacker Bem Pontejos?

A twitter conversation ensued.

TP and Inday Tweet

The first tweet was:

 The second tweet was:

Inday: Here’s my response: I stand with @Tordesillas. [Espina-Varona: “I stand with Ellen Tordesillas / ABS-CBN”]

TP: Noted. Ms. @Tordesillas, why did you delete your blog post about Bem Pontejos’ wedding? We all have biases of course, no matter how subtle, but did you do it to make u look unbiased? Why did Bem feel the need to hide all his social media accounts?

Inday: Those questions do not make her story wrong. (sad smiley)

TP: To be honest, I am a big fan of yours (Espina-Varona). However, the veracity of Tordesillas’ story about the alleged Duterte bank accounts is not the main issue in my articles.

TP: The main issue is the potential violation of Bank Secrecy Law (RA 1405). No offense (again, I am a fan), but I got the idea from you.

Note: Inday's stance on the Duterte-Trillanes issue is this: (1) Duterte should answer the allegations, AND (2) Trillanes should also be investigated for a possible violation of the Bank Secrecy Law. ThinkingPinoy strongly agrees with both, from the very start.

Inday: I won't mind fierce arguments over RA 1405 (happy smiley), but ThinkingPinoy, your blog is being used by so many in abusive posts (sad smiley)

TP: I hope you saw how I worded the articles as gently as my limited education would allow.

Inday: I'm sure YOU didn't mean to have that result. [But] Ellen did not defend how Trillanes got his documents. Is that what you're pointing out?

TP: It’s more like she talks about just one facet of the story and not the other. For example, she writes pro-Nickel Asia articles [Tordesillas: Manicani] but she’s mum on Lumad killings [Interaksyon].

Inday: She wasn’t silent. [Tordesillas: Mga desaparecidos at mga Lumad sa Araw ng Kaluluwa]

TP: Yes, she condemned the executive branch and the military, but she did not mention mining companies (who are the root cause of the conflict).

Inday: I wouldn't come up with a sum for that. Ellen shared some of my stories (happy smiley). We can't all focus on the same things and it has nothing to do with a story she got right.

TP: I will give her the benefit of the doubt, as the articles contain nothing but circumstantial evidence anyway. (They are) just a lead for whoever (is interested to pursue the issue). My point, however, is if PNP needs leads, Trillanes doesn't squeal (about his sources), and Pontejos is missing, they can call Ellen for directions.

Inday: The hazard of the trade is that we sometimes have to deal with people hunted by government. MANY OF US. If we didn't, the Philippines would be in a much poorer state.

TP: If Tordesillas believes in it, I absolutely respect that. We all want the best for the Philippines. We just have different ideas on how to go about it. I’ll give her a few days to relax. Dutertrolls are probably irking her. I am annoyed by them too. But she still has to give a statement.

Inday: Do not speak for Tordesillas there. Many journalists cover conflict.

TP: Yes of course. Years ago, I had to quit a job (for a similar reason). And one last thing on abusive posts. Yes, it's sad, but it gives us more reason to fight for (better) education. (I am) still a diehard fan (of yours). No kidding. TTYL.



(NOTE: This is not part of the twitter conversation anymore.)

First, TP’s two articles did not even attempt to refute the validity of the bank deposit slips. They’re incontrovertible evidence.

Second, the blog posts aim to serve as a lead for law enforcement agents should the bank secrecy violation issue turn into a cold case. That is, in the event of Trillanes’ continued refusal to reveal his sources. Again, the operative word here is “lead”. The words “lead” and “suspect” are two very different things.

Third, I cannot press Inday for answers simply because she is not Ellen Tordesillas. Let Tordesillas do the talking for her own self, but let’s give her some time. I guess she hasn’t experienced this kind of backlash before, especially since social media is a relatively new thing.

Fourth, hard evidence, such as deposit slips, is virtually impossible to debunk. However, the fact remains that this may not be the last time that Tordesillas will write about the Duterte.
I believe that my article shows evidence suggesting that Tordesillas has a very close friendship with Pontejos, who, in turn, is sympathetic to Trillanes-Magdalo. Hence, the articles serve as a gentle reminder to Tordesillas’ readers that there may be a conflict of interest on Ellen’s part whenever she provides her opinion (not hard evidence, but opinion) about any rift between Duterte and Trillanes-Magdalo.
This bears repeating: the credibility of hard evidence (official documents like bank documents) provided by Tordesillas is not an issue: ThinkingPinoy willingly believes in them. However, the credibility of her opinion on any rift between Duterte and Trillanes-Magdalo, is now highly questionable given her personal links with a Magdalo member who’s sympathetic to Trillanes-Magdalo.
In short: Hard evidence from Tordesillas is OK. As for Opinion on Duterte vs Trillanes-Magdalo, not exactly OK. 

Fifth, and most importantly, I encourage my readers to keep the discussion civil. Name-calling and messages filled with utter hatred are not the best way to build this nation. Instead, it is through civilized discourse.

Inday and I disagree, but we respect each other. Ganon lang.

Final Note

Don’t you remember what a certain presidential candidate said?

“I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.”

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