July 19, 2016

Dear Aika Robredo

Aika, I am writing this article not for your sake, but for the sake of your great father Jesse Robredo.

Tara at nang matapos na ito. Maglalaba pa ako.

But first, let me provide some context.

At around 4:00 PM of 18 July 2016, ABS-CBN reporter Alfonso Tomas “Atom” Araullo wrote a facebook post [FB] that reads:

Every once in a while, I would encounter posts in my feed from a certain online outfit called "The Maharlikan," usually through the Facebook group "Juan Nationalist." It is becoming so common that I feel I should start a discussion.

Please know that many of their posts appear completely made up. I know because I tried verifying claims from their site on a few occasions. I am sure that some headlines are fabricated, some quotations are pulled out of thin air, and some photos are misrepresented. These are then deftly mixed with authentic news gathered from other organizations to create an illusion of legitimacy.

The group does not have a published set of editors or writers. It is also impossible to get in touch with them for feedback. Judging from their content, I think it may be a sophisticated black propaganda operation. What worries me is they have hundreds of thousands of followers, some of them friends and even colleagues from the news. Guys, if you know better, please prove me wrong.

There are many more groups and sites that engage in the same racket. The proliferation of fake news on the internet has become an epidemic, and anyone can fall victim. We have to take extra precaution before spreading these things, as responsible social media users.

Scrolling down the comments section, I found your reply posted at around 5:00 PM of the same day that reads:

Aika Robredo: Thinking Pinoy and Get Real Philippines!

After receiving some rectification from some Facebook users, you edited your post to remove the exclamation point.

So let me just state the issue more clearly:
  • Some social media entities publish news that are completely made up, but they are “deftly mixed” with authentic news from other sources to create an illusion of legitimacy, and you think ThinkingPinoy is one of these.
  • These social media entities do not publish the names of their editors and writers and there’s no way to contact them for feedback, and you think ThinkingPinoy is one of these.
  • They are most likely sophisticated black propaganda operations, and you think ThinkingPinoy is one of these.
Now, Aika, let me address those points one by one.

A: On TP is “completely made up”

You graduated from the Ateneo so I think you are well-versed in Logic. Having to write this section pains me because I thought you are one of the last people who needs to be schooled on it. Oh well, let’s just get on with it.

Every article can be broken down into a collection of premise-conclusion pairs, and an article becomes dubious if one of the following is true:
  1. The premises are false.
  2. The logic used to arrive at the conclusion is faulty.

ThinkingPinoy derives his premises from two sources:

1. Websites that are generally regarded as reputable. The following is an exhaustive list of TP sources:
a. Major news sites
b. Peer-reviewed scholarly publications
c. Material from .gov (government institution) and .edu (educational institution) sources
d. Official websites of reputable organizations

2. Things that are generally regarded as too obvious to even warrant citations.

Adding the fact that I meticulously cite every premise that I use, I believe that any self-respecting college graduate cannot argue against the acceptability of those premises.

I am not immune to error and I publicly apologize and issue errata when necessary. So far, there have been two instances of such:
First, on “Roxas and Corruption: Campaign Planes, Election Spending, Mining Interests and Lumad Rights”, which was republished in the Manila Times in two parts [MT 1, MT 2], when I erroneously tagged Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate as an “LP Stalwart”. I issued an erratum which stated that it was actually Zarate who raised the Roxas campaign funds issue, and I apologized for the error [TP FB].

Second, on “#BangkoSerye: 5 Scenarios in Monday's BPI Julia Vargas Meet (Part 2 of 2)”, where I erroneously encoded the date of a set of Duterte bank transactions. I issued an erratum and apologized for the error [TP FB].

Thus, the only reasonable attack on the credibility of TP content should be based on faulty logic.And criticism about my logic is something that I warmly welcome.

For example, I heavily criticized Miriam Defensor-Santiago in my article "Here's Miriam Defensor-Santiago, only because you insist" and I received a strongly worded rebuttal from the MDS for President Page.
How did I respond? I issued a counter-rebuttal in "On the Rebuttal from MDS for Pres FB Page". And now, I am doing the same to you.

Let’s take this excerpt from “How Leni Robredo and Malacañan crippled Freedom of Information
Leni’s six-page Full Disclosure Bill bill filed in July 2013 [HB 19] was a very straightforward piece of legislation. If enacted, HB 19 would have forced the entire government to disclose everything about its finances. Period. It was a short, simple, and brilliant FOI bill.

After prodding from the Liberal Party-led Malacañan, Leni filed a revised FOI bill [HB 3237] on October 2013, a mere two months after she filed HB 19. The new bill, while still about Freedom of Information, is but a toothless shadow of its predecessor.

The 15-page HB 3237, or the revised Robredo FOI bill, included a two-page section entitled “Exceptions”, is what made her new FOI bill lose its teeth. Leni’s HB 3237, while including the wording of HB 19, includes PNoy’s executive privilege as a legitimate excuse for withholding information from the public.

As you can see, I have included links to your mom’s HB 19 and HB 3237. If you’ve actually read those two bills, the difference between them should be undeniably obvious. This is why I do not understand where you’re coming from.

Or is it because of cognitive bias on your part because I grilled your mom?

Walang personalan ang article ko, Aika. Kaya lang kasi, mga kababayan ko ang naleleche sa political compromises na pinapasok ng nanay mo.

Obviously, hindi mo naitatama ang nanay mo sa isyu na yan, kaya ako na ang gumawa. Walang ibang gagawa e, takot kasing masibak sa pwesto.

Or is it because I mentioned you before?

Sa #HarapanBise noong linggo, mapapansing hindi lantarang mapuna ni LP VP candidate Leni Robredo ang DOTC.

Alam ng...
Posted by Thinking Pinoy on Monday, April 18, 2016

E paano gagawin ko e naging big boss mo talaga si Secretary Abaya? Ikaw naglagay niyan sa LinkedIn profile mo tapos ako sisisihin mo? Ini-hide mo pa nga saglit yang profile mo noong nilabas ko yan e. Guilty lang?

Miss Robredo, I challenge you to cite a single premise used in this article, or any ThinkingPinoy.net article for that matter, which came from unreliable sources.

If you’re right, I’ll write the most apologetic self-deprecating erratum possible.

If not, let me borrow the words of your mom’s endorser as I say, “Shut up ka na lang.”

B: Second, on TP’s anonymity and unreachability

Let's talk about anonymity muna. From the onset, TP chose to be “sufficiently anonymous” for several reasons:

First, TP does NOT provide first-hand information, so that dubious premises are best verified by contacting TP’s sources, whose contact information can be easily obtained.

Second, TP had his personal security to consider. I write about topics that most major news and op-ed organizations wouldn’t even dare to write (or are incapable of writing due to lower neuron count).
I actually received death threats when I wrote the Trillanes-Magdalo Hacker article [TP] tapos partida, anonymous pa ako ng lagay na yan, kaya paano na lang kung hindi? I even had to call several people to get a request for a Writ of Amparo drafted, just in case I go missing. Yung partido nga ng nanay mo, dinededma ang mga extrajudicial killings ng mga katutubong kritiko ng minahan sa Mindanao [Karapatan], o e pano pa akong may malaking audience? Aika, your father was one of the greatest Filipinos who ever lived in the past two decades, and I consider him to be a prime example of what Filipinos should aspire to be. But look at him, dead at such an early age, at DILG secretary pa yan [TP: Narcopolitics], at ang masama pa dyan, puchu-puchu na imbestigasyon lang ang ginawa.

Gusto kong gayahin ang ginawa ni Jesse Robredo, pero hindi ko gusto mangyari ang maaaring ginawa sa kanya.

Aika, sa lahat ng tao sa Pilipinas, ikaw ang isa mga inaasahan kong makaiintindi niyan.
Third, because I do not yearn for validation. I created ThinkingPinoy to provide the public with a different way to view issues of national importance. I do not give a shit about not being recognized. If I did, I would have resorted to half-researched articles that would’ve gotten me far more traffic than I get.
Nine months old na ang TP but I only have 50,000 likes because I purposely decided to stick to facts, so my content is far less interesting than other sites.

Keri lang, hindi ako sinungaling e. Masakit magsalita minsan, oo, pero hindi ako sinungaling.

Let’s talk about unreachability naman.

I am not unreachable.

First, I have a message button on my Facebook page and anyone can contact me. I have actually granted two interviews with Cherie Mercado on Radyo5 (TV5’s radio arm) in December 2015 and in May 2016. Yes, I can be reached for feedback.

Second, anyone can post comments on my facebook page or contact me on Twitter or email me at akosithinkingpinoy [at] gmail.com.
Kaya nga nagtataka ako kung bakit yung Rappler e kung kani-kaninong page nagdedepensa ng sarili when I criticized their half-assed Duterte P. Guevarra article and their bait-and-switch tactic, samantalang they are free to contact me or post rebuttals on my page.
So no, that allegation doesn’t hold water.

Guni-guni mo lang ‘yan, Aika.

C: On TP being a “black propagandist”

First, Black propaganda is propaganda that does not come from the source it claims to come from [Dict], so please cite ONE SINGLE INSTANCE in any of my ONE HUNDRED TWENTY articles where that happened.

You know I have the option to sue you for libel, so please, for your own sake, cite one instance.

Kahit isa lang, madam.

Second, black propaganda, in the context of contemporary Philippine Politics, serve the interest of a particular presidential contender. I have criticized Roxas [TP: Philex], Duterte [TP: Rape], Miriam [TP: Miriam], Poe [TP: Danding], and Binay [TP: Corruption].
I have criticized five of the six presidential candidates, so that leaves the late Roy Señeres. So logic dictates na black propagandist ako ni Señeres?
Susmarya Aika, umayos ka nga.

Third, I think it’s a given that I leaned towards the Duterte camp during the elections. However, that didn’t mean that they are immune from my critiques. Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a disparaging article against Duterte’s communications group.

Guni-guni mo lang yan Aika.


Aika, ThinkingPinoy is not news site in the traditional sense of the word and it never claimed to be one. Instead, it’s a collection of well-researched observations by a regular Filipino who happens to be gifted with lots of common sense.

If you’ll take a closer look, I describe TP as “A Thinking Pinoy's take on the latest issues in Philippine Politics, with a dash of common sense, Pinoy flavor.”

Now, which part of that description suggested that I am an Inquirer-wannabe?

Guni-guni mo lang yan, Aika.

And just because we’re already at it, are you telling me that you base your Philippine Political reality solely on what the big networks tell you because they have hordes of editors and writers?

Is that the same reason why you just believed whatever the authorities told you about your father’s death? Hindi man na lang inautopsy ang tatay mo e, tapos bilib na bilib ka nang aksidente lang ang lahat?

Alam mo, Aika, may sinabi si Gloria Steinem dati na akmang-akma sa kalagayan mo.
“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.”
I see that you’re pissed off right now, so just give it time, at mangyayari rin yung part na “set you free.”

For the meantime, be careful about your words, because you are not just Aika Robredo anymore. Your words represent your father’s legacy. And lately, your words are quite disappointing.

Diyos ko, Aika, natuto akong tingalain ang tatay mo.  Alam mo bang naiyak pa ako nung mabalitaan kong namatay siya? Naawa ako sa bansa natin, iilan na lang ang matino, namatay pa agad.

Tapos heto ka, nagkakaganyan.

But if you insist on posting irresponsible public comments, I sincerely suggest that you drop by the Ateneo and get a refund. Sayang e.

TP: O siya, maglalaba na ako

UPDATE: My readers are asking why I bothered to rebut something that simple. I answered,"It comes from the daughter of the vice president, that's what made it matter.  Kung asungot lang yan sa kanto, dedma."

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