From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 28): DND chief stands firm on fake news stance
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday defended his fake news stance against progressive group Gabriela, who claims that troops engaged in clearing operations in Marawi City are threatening women there with rape.
"I consider their allegations fake news because it appears from their actions that their purpose was not noble but to find fault," he added.
And in justifying his claims, Lorenzana said that if these allegations were true, the alleged targets of these threat never came out when they could have easily reported the incident first to the media covering the ongoing fighting.
"Second, I find it highly suspicious that during this first and only visit of Gabriela they would 'stumble' upon these girls? I suspect that they have planted those stories if not the girls themselves and went to Iligan under the guise of helping the evacuees but actually to mine and milk these fake allegations," he added.
Fighting in Marawi City is entering its sixth week with the government reporting that it has already gained strategic and tactical advantage against the Maute Group terrorists.
The conflict started when government security forces tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and ISIS "Emir" in Southeast Asia last May 23.
"Third, it is part of their grandstanding and limelight seeking tendencies as they now are asking Congress to investigate their fabricated allegations. Fourth, they don't want to divulge the names of their alleged subjects for security concerns kuno but we again suspect that they are non-existent or planted witnesses that can not pass legal scrutiny. Fifth, what is so laughable is that for lack of anything to throw at us they are accusing our soldiers of future rape by insinuations," the DND chief stressed.
He added that he was not inclined to dismiss these allegations if only done in the proper way, which is to inform defense and military officials of the claims, so that an investigation could be made to check its veracity.
"I don't want to dismiss this allegations if only it were done the proper way- inform us so that we can address it instead of going immediately to the media. This allegation is very serious and i myself will do everything in my power to punish those who committed it whether in jest only as it objectifies and degrades women in general. These acts if true goes against the Filipinos deep-seated respect for our mothers, sisters and womenfolk in general," Lorenzana said.