Two issues stood out in the eminent F. Sionil Jose’s critique of the Nobel Peace Prize award on Rappler founder Maria Ressa which are that the “Nobel judges were taken for a ride” and the question he posed, “Who is funding her?”
Based on the statement of the Norwegian Nobel Committee that handed the award, Ressa, “as a journalist and the Rappler’s CEO, has shown herself to be a fearless defender of freedom of expression.”
“Rappler has focused critical attention on the Duterte regime’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign. The number of deaths is so high that the campaign resembles a war waged against the country’s own population,” it offered.
Rappler has been the conduit of the 20,000 extrajudicial killings figure which demagogue Antonio Trillanes IV had admitted manufacturing out of the police records of murders and homicides since the ascension of President Duterte, most of which are not even related to the anti-drug operations.
The number, however, was circulated worldwide and was the basis of the crimes against humanity complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) that was filed by a henchman of Trillanes, lawyer Jude Sabio.
Sabio and Trillanes later on would have a falling out resulting in the lawyer’s revelation that everything contained in the ICC filing was merely concocted by the group of Trillanes.
The data on the war on drugs using the assumptions of Trillanes and Rappler, thus, was a distortion of the truth that foreign groups with no appreciation of the real situation swallowed hook, line, and sinker.
So, who will fit the entities behind Ressa to answer Jose’s question?
After the victory of US President Joe Biden, the liberal democrats of the world rejoiced and had ratcheted efforts to obliterate all the strongman rulers, in which category Mr. Duterte is included.
Mr. Duterte was pilloried as the poster boy of populist leaders who are not in the mold of the heads of state based on the standards of the hypocritical mob.
“President (Donald) Trump, Marcos, and Duterte have much in common: The promise of greatness, the assault on facts, the stoking of fear, the erasure of memory. They even have the same aesthetic: Loud, bombastic, hypermasculine,” Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism dean Sheila Coronel wrote in Washington Post.
The defeat of Trump in the recent US polls inspired a stronger push to cleanse the world of populist leaders.
In accepting a “Press Freedom Award” from the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, Ressa gave a scathing attack on Mr. Duterte’s administration as having suppressed press freedom.
It was Coronel who backed Ressa for the award by depicting Rappler and its staff as being perpetually harassed which was the same script used in the Nobel judging.
The real score, however, is that never was Rappler’s operations halted but it faced complaints of violating Constitutional provisions on media ownership that is still being adjudicated.
It was also sued by a businessman for cyber libel. Both legal cases are being connected by Ressa and her supporters to the President and a supposed effort to silence her while she freely toured the world crying suppression of press freedom.
Coronel and Ressa frequently used the word “weaponized” in describing how technology and government influence were employed against Rappler.
Coronel and United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard were schoolmates at Columbia University.
The connections were key to the string of awards given to Ressa over the singular task of being an irritant to President Duterte.
For next year, the bet is that either Trillanes or detained Senator Leila de Lima will be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize to make it back-to-back victories for the purveyors of deception.