Fake News and Black Propaganda

Fake News and Black Propaganda

Manila mayoral aspirant Alex Lopez says he believes former senator Bongbong Marcos will make the best president for the Philippines. In this file photo, Lopez is seen with the UniTeam’s front-running standard-bearer BBM in a campaign sortie in Manila.

The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means.

— French novelist Georges Bernanos

TODAY’S candidates conduct black propaganda against their political opponents for a few reasons. By disguising their direct involvement, a candidate may be more likely to succeed in convincing an otherwise unbelieving target audience. There are also personal reasons behind the use of black propaganda. Black propaganda is necessary to obfuscate one’s involvement in activities that may be detrimental to his or her political ambitions.

Black propaganda can be done through the proliferation of falsehoods or so-called ‘fake news’ against a certain individual. A good example is how political propagandists, known as PR (press relations) men, promote their candidates through propaganda while also using lies to distort the image of their client’s rivals.

Victims of such are a number of aspirants in the presidential race as well as some in the senatorial, congressional, and even local positions who will soon fill up the whole structure of government bureaucracy after May 9, and they are sworn into office.

Even before the campaign period for the May 9 election had begun in February, former senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. had been the target of black propaganda, as seen in the various attacks thrown against him, including his alleged failure to pay real estate taxes.

To the accusation, the UniTeam’s standard-bearer replied by claiming “there’s a lot of fake news involved” in his family’s unpaid estate taxes, despite the 1997 Supreme Court ruling that they must settle their tax liabilities. The issue involves the Marcos family’s unsettled estate tax liabilities that may have reached ₱203 billion as of 2021 from ₱23 billion in 1997.

Marcos Jr. pointed out that “the so-called facts that they call (concerning unpaid taxes) are not facts at all (because) they are just presumptions.”

And the former senator is not the only one who is a victim of black propaganda. In Manila, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) mayoral candidate Alex Lopez, who is the son of the late mayor Mel Lopez, has also been targeted by his foe, incumbent vice mayor Dra. Maria Sheilah ‘Honey’ Lacuna-Pangan, is upping her stakes by aiming to be the local chief executive of the city.

The Lacuna camp claims that it was the father of the younger Lopez who actually instigated the sale of the Divisoria Market, although the deal was done during the term of incumbent Manila mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso.

Reacting to propaganda against his father over alleged ‘political gains’ in the low rentals being paid by tenants and vendors in public markets, Lopez asked his rivals to refrain from disrespecting those who served the city in order to gain media mileage and promote their candidacy.

In an interview, he enthused that it is unbecoming for any Filipino to lambast someone who is unable to reply to criticism thrown against him. The issue of low rentals against the late mayor was triggered by the controversial sale of the Divisoria Market that of late earned the ire of vendors plying their trade in the said area.

The mayoral bet, who is running under the wing of BBM’s presidential bid, said he was dismayed by the allegations against his father whilst admitting that he did not expect his political opponents to stoop so low by disrespecting the dead and departed just to tarnish his candidacy and at the same time gain whatever support they can gain from Manila voters.

He even mentioned how his rival, Dra. Lacuna-Pangan, led the inauguration of Mel Lopez Boulevard in Tondo, Manila.

He warned that any attempt to fool the electorate would soon be discovered and backfire to explode in their faces.

And so it shall . . .

Latest surveys have shown that Lopez is leading Lacuna in the mayoral race by almost double-digit percentage points, similar to what has been tallied by several survey firms in the presidential derby, where Marcos Jr. has scored an insurmountable lead over his closest rivals for the presidency.


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