AFP condemns accusation against army member over fake Facebook accounts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 25, 2020   •   411

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has condemned the accusation against one of their members over several fake accounts recently shut down by Facebook.

United States-based Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research (DFR), identified Philippine Army Captain Alexandre Cabales as operator of the social media pages that Facebook took down for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” targeting domestic audiences in the Philippines.

AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgar Arevalo said Facebook and the said digital forensic group should review their policies on privacy carefully since identifying Cabales violated his privacy. Arevalo said this has placed the reputation and safety of Cabales at risk.

“This is a breach of his personal identity and personal security, dahil po sa paglabas na ito ng kanyang pangalan at hindi naman sya nabibigyan ng pagkakataon na ipaliwanag ang kanyang panig, (because they released his name and [Cabales] was not able to explain his side)” he said.

The AFP also defended Cabales by explaining that the information posted in official accounts linked to the Philippine Army is legitimate and authentic.

Cabales heads the social media center of the AFP and is reportedly connected to ‘Hands Off Our Children’ page which has been taken down by Facebook.

“Sa pagtake-down nito ang naapektuhan ng malaki at parang napaboran pa ay itong pagre-recruit ng communist terrorist group, (By taking down these pages it will greatly favor the recruitment of the communist terrorist group),” Arevalo said.

Facebook took down over 100 accounts and pages in their social media due to violation in their policy. These include 31 pages and 77 Facebook and Instagram accounts allegedly linked to individuals affiliated with the Philippine military.

“They posted in Filipino and English about local news and events including domestic politics, military activities against terrorism, the pending anti-terrorism bill, criticism of communism, youth activists and opposition, the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines […] our investigation found links to Philippine military and Philippine police,” Facebook said in a statement. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

DILG to meet with Facebook execs to discuss takedown of accounts

Robie de Guzman   •   October 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it is set to meet with Facebook executives next week to discuss the takedown of some pages and accounts, including those that are found with links to the military and police.

“The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will meet with Facebook executives next week to discuss differences arising from the takedown of some PH-based FB pages and accounts without prior consultation and due notice,” the DILG said in a statement Thursday.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the meeting will discuss how Facebook uses content-based restrictions. He also hopes that the two sides will come up with solutions on how to fight fake news and disinformation.

The social media giant previously closed down several accounts and pages that are linked to some members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

Facebook said it took down these pages for their “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

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AFP official says not fair to red tag Liza Soberano but warns vs. ties with Gabriela

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A military official has warned actress Liza Soberano against associating with Gabriela Women’s Party for its alleged links to the New People’s Army (NPA).

In a statement Wednesday night, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command (SolCom) chief Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. said it is not fair to red-tag Soberano as “she is merely supporting advocacy for women’s rights.”

Parlade said Soberano should be protected in the exercise of her rights and that she is “not yet” a member of the NPA.

However, Parlade pointed out that she and other celebrities should be educated on the “hidden violent agenda” of the Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA).

MAKIBAKA is an underground mass organization hiding under Gabriela Women’s Party, according to the military official.

“Let us not red-tag Liza Soberano. It’s not fair to her. She is merely supporting advocacy for women’s rights. She has to be protected in the exercise of her rights,” he said in a statement posted on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) Facebook account.

“Is she an NPA? No, of course not. Not yet. So let’s help educate her and the other celebrity targets of Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA), the Underground Mass Organization hiding under Gabriela Women’s Party,” he added.

Parlade also advised the actress to stop supporting Gabriela.

“Liza Soberano, there’ s still a chance to abdicate that group. If you don’t, you will suffer the same fate as Josephine Anne Lapira @ELLA, former Deputy Secretary General of Gabriela Youth of UP, Manila and defender of women’s rights, even against sexual predators amongst her comrades in the NPA unit she joined which is clearly stated in her handwritten letter addressed to a certain @EMIL,” he said.

The AFP official also issued the same warning to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and told them not the follow the path of a certain Ka Ella Colmenares.

“The choice is yours Liza. And so with you Catriona,” he said.

“I am sure Angel Locsin and Neri Colmenares will not tell you this,” he added.

In the same statement, Parlade also slammed the Gabriella party for not informing their recruits about their group’s agenda.

“So, Rep. Arlene Brosas and Gabriela, shame on you if you haven’t informed your recruits about your hidden violent agenda,” he said.

In response to the statement, Gabriela party-list Rep. Brosas criticized Parlade for red tagging and “mansplaining” Soberana.

“Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade’s appeal to stop red-tagging Liza Soberano is starkly ironic because he actually red tagged Soberano in his statement. By saying that Soberano is ‘not yet an NPA,’ he is maliciously associating the actress with the armed movement when what she did in the youth forum was to only speak up for all the victims of gender-based violence and abused,” she said in a statement.

“It is clear that Parlade, the NTF-ELCAC and the paid trolls are the ones who are rabidly red-tagging Liza Soberano and other female celebrities and influencers who are taking a stand and speaking out against the macho-facism under the Duterte regime. How come these macho-fascists have the audacity to mansplain strong women and lecture them on what to do? And why do they seem so afraid of women using their platform to defend other women?” she added.

The issue came after Soberano joined a Gabriela Youth online forum to discuss issues being faced by girls and women amid the pandemic.

“These rabid NTF-ELCAC executives are using their rehashed script to discredit Gabriela Women’s Party despite our long track record of advocating women’s rights. Our 20 years of advancing women and children’s rights inside and outside of Congress cannot be smeared by their repeated lies,” Brosas said.

11 Abu Sayyaf members surrender in Sulu

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 19, 2020

Eleven members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) surrendered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Sulu on Saturday (October 17).

The 1101st Infantry Brigade of the AFP identified the surrenderers in their aliases as: Alji, Gaspar, Amz, Ardin, Bebs, Madz, Uyong, Bahad, Navin, Allon, and Asir.

According to Western Mindanao Command Spokesperson Lt. Colonel Alaric delos Santos, the holistic approach of the Joint Task Force in Sulu paved the way for the former ASG members’ surrender.

The 11 members also surrendered five M16 rifle and one M1 grenade launcher. After surrendering, they will undergo rehabilitation program for them to be able to receive the benefits from the government under the Localized Social Integration Program.

Last October, over 100 ex-ASG members in Sulu were given P15,000 cash assistance. AAC (with reports from Val Villaflor)

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