#NagaLeaks, anonymity and Leni’s love for Jesse

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ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

ROBREDO partisans can belittle the impact of #NagaLeaks until their faces turn blue, but they can never deny that the expose created a devastating dent on the mythology of Jesse Robredo.

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Speculations were thrown from all directions as to who could be the source of the leaks. Partisan apologists and critics were their usual selves, defending their side and demeaning the other.

The FB page of “We Are Collective” which published #NagaLeaks has been taken down due to a well-orchestrated mass reporting coordinated by social media accounts supportive of Leni Robredo and the opposition. Someone must now be in a state of panic.

Defenders of Leni and Jesse were quick to point out the serious flaws of the expose, from its verbosity and alleged lack of rigor, to the fact that it has no accountability by virtue of the anonymity of its author or authors. For many, this was a fatal flaw.

But this view rests on the assumption that identifiable authorship and accountability directly imply truth. Hence, any anonymous attack would be automatically rendered as a lie.

However, this is not always the case, considering that even the Office of the Ombudsman entertains anonymous complaints. The Philippine National Police (PNP) is also tasked to pursue anonymous leads, and the government has set up a complaints desk where citizens, who are not obliged to reveal their identities, can report anomalies and irregularities.

In the age of the internet, the concept of authorship has become a contested construct. It is indeed convenient to associate lies and fakery with the ease by which social media denizens can hide behind creative pseudonyms to launch attacks on persons and institutions. But it is not entirely correct to assume that just because a post comes from an anonymous source that it is a lie. What can only be concluded is that the author could not be held accountable, but it is a big leap of logic to make a blanket judgment that the one escaping identification is also necessarily a liar.

Anonymity, in fact, is a strategic weapon in political warfare.

James Scott, in his analysis of everyday forms of resistance, has pointed to anonymity as a source of power, a weapon of people who are oppressed. The purpose of an anonymous attack is not to become a basis for a legal action to hold accountable those who are being ridiculed, or accused of wrongdoing. Instead, its purpose is to erode the legitimacy of the latter, and to create a discourse of doubt. It is the fear not only of being targeted for physical repression, but also of being sued for libel, that turn anonymity as a weapon against persons and institutions that have the ability to inflict harm on the weak and the powerless.

The hegemony of the Robredo dynasty rests on the propagation of a brand, a mythology that rested not on the affirmation according to legal processes, but through ideological blinders that made people believe the myth, and turn any dissent as akin to political blasphemy.

Hence, an expose such as #NagaLeaks would have the power to directly attack the foundations of that mythology, by undermining it using the leverage of anonymity, and without due regard to accountability. To expect that a narrative that excavates buried secrets, or articulate the unsaid and inconvenient knowledge silently stored in the consciousness of people, would put a premium on accountability and legality, would be missing the point that it is in fact a subversive text.

The power of dismantling the mythology lies in the anonymity of the attacker, as a way of escaping the retributive power of the Robredo dynasty and its local political machinery in Naga City, more so that the authors of #NagaLeaks are likely natives of the city.

In the end, the validation of the claims will lie in the people themselves. It capitalizes on the fact that people in Naga would probably have known all along the truth that lies beneath the brand of Jesse Robredo.

Thus, the purpose of #NagaLeaks is not legal, but political.

Its goal is to undermine monuments built on lies. And it looks like other than Jesse’s brand being scrutinized, #NagaLeaks also gave the public the opportunity to examine the authenticity of the affection his widow claims to show towards him.

Jesse Robredo was practically accused of being a crook and a hypocrite by the anonymous writers of #NagaLeaks. Any woman who loved her dead husband dearly would have vehemently protested and accused the accusers of lying.

But it took Leni Robredo days before she could give a weak denial. Her initial response was not to declare loyalty to the memory of her husband, whom she claimed to have loved dearly and from whom she could not move on.

Jesse’s memory was being attacked, and Leni’s initial response was to say that such could not silence her. This response betrayed her as a woman who is more interested in protecting her political investments, than fiercely defending her husband’s name and honor.

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30 Comments

  1. Hindi dapat pinapatulan si anonymous. Puros demolition ito. Between you and Leni Robredo e I guess mas may credibility si Leni Robredo. Siguro the more pukulin ng Kung ano ano the more mamahalin.

    • Cite your reason/s why Robredo has more credibility than Mr. Contreras. You yourself said “I GUESS mas may credibility” si Leni Robredo. Why “I guess”. Aren’t you certain of her credibility? Here’s your chance to tell all the credibilities you want about the OVP. And please don’t start by saying, “I cannot be silenced.”

      Go, start…..

    • Alexander Demetria on

      Please come to Naga City and you can ascertain that the claims mentioned by nagaleaks are true. Most of the entire nation was hoodwinked by Pogi (may his soul rest in peace). MOst of us here in Naga know the real score. The problem with the yellowtards is that they accept “hook, line and sinker” what their good for nothing leaders woould tell them. I hope that the mainsream media would report the truth.

    • Wag Kang bulag! Watch the body language of Leni Robredo, the way she plays as a public servant (all fake) and check what she have done as a VP (nothing di ba). She is totally UNRELIABLE!!

  2. pablo sanchez on

    Gabby, if you are pointing out that the facts by anonymous is not credible, then why dont you ask the OVP why some of their trolls dont want to reveeal their identity? the reason for WAC’s anonymity should not be questioned if those trolls from the liberal party cannot reveal themselves. also, if you are blindsided you don’t need to comment contrary to Sir Contreras every post not unless you are paid to do that. well its not possible because the OPPOSITION have lots of sponsors to waste.

    • Hi Pablo,

      Greetings! Its amazing how one can stereotype (or label) someone he does not personally know; I am surprised at your false conclusions about me; fyi I am not a troll and will never be one; it leaves a bad taste on you; second I am not affiliated with any political party – so that should set the stage clear and third you have your facts wrong when you said “you don’t need to comment contrary to Sir Contreras every post” where “every” implies “all”.

      Occasionally, I do give a critical analysis and feedback on what Dr. Contreras writes on, when there is a need to. All part of the democratic space.

      Salamat

  3. Linking issue.. Di kaya may kinalaman din ang past and present sa pagsulpot ni Ric Puno don sa QC Condominium??

    Big big???????? LInking good???

    • Try searching /google Ricardo Puno & Jesse Robredo and youll see some sensitive issues wherein De Lima as DOJ Head secured sensitive documents..

      Ano kaya talaga ang mga yon???

    • pablo sanchez on

      Si Ric Puno ay pumunta dun para kunin and mga docs to prove that some of cabinet secretaries are involve in illegal activities specially drugs.

  4. Adelfa Akapulko on

    Mr Contreras, and why would you want a decent lady such as VP Robredo stoop down to trash news? And you seriously expect her to be in the news right away fuming mad and showing extreme emotions? Seriously?

    You should know better that such news deserve no attention at all. Trash right? And its exactly what you like. Hmmmm….

    • A citizen who dearly loves his country should never resort to undermining the war on drugs.A vice to the President when she was voted to office should be more loyal to the good intentions of the President. That decent lady is more loyal to the party that groomed her. Bayan o sarili nga. She portrays herself as a decent, unassuming lady but the truth is coming out the surface. Just like how her husband had manipulated his image first to get the public’s sentiment. That is deceit. And you call the woman decent? It is good to have ambitions but what Shakespeare had said: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

      Fuming mad. Nah. She should answer the accusations with her iconic smile. Not mad. Just the truth. She spent her time talking about EJKs but had not performed her functions as the housing czar. That to me is murder when you can not build a decent housing to the Yolanda victims.Seriously. Hmnnn.

    • Trash expose? Tell us which part of these are trash….

      1.) Chinglo (now in jail), brother of the head of Dangerous Drug Board at the time of Robredo’s term.

      2.) Rudy Guinhawa, the dummy person and alleged owner of the Lansbergh condo building, who is a good friend of the Robredos (where did he get the money for that building?).

      3.) Butch Robredo’s connection to the drug activities and jueteng in Naga?

      4.) Jesse’s “no investigation” death.

      5.) Ricardo Puno’s entry to the Robredo’s condo after his death

      6.) Gaby Bordado’s prolific writing in order to win the Magsaysay award in behalf of Jesse

      There’s more, but those are good start for you to counteract your claim of “trash expose”. It would be nice if you can refute those claims. Readers would love to know.

    • “Decent lady” is an opinion – there are many others who believe otherwise. No one needs a hysterical denial from Leni. What we expect is a swift and strong denial, not a pathetic attempt to avoid the issue by declaring no one can silence her and then just as quickly, launching a (rather stupid) war against trolls.Ignoring this issue won’t make it go away, and silencing her critics will only serve to fuel the fire of disapproval that’s already growing against her.

  5. Ogie de Guzman on

    Good choice of word..MYTH. The myth that Jesse Robredo was a knight in shining armor has been undone..he is now a knight in a rusting armor. Sayang I was an admirer of Jeese because he chose not to be a close minion of PNOy when he was DILG secretary. I am not from Naga and wouldn’t really know what’s the real score there but if there’s smoke there’s fire and WAC ignited a fire that the OVP or other parties on the other side of the coin tried to fizzle out. The response of the OVP “that we will not be silenced” was really a lame response. The alleged-VP has poor support in her alleged-OVP. (Hahaha i put in “alleged” since I really do not believe she won fairly. A no name entity candidate to the 2nd highest public office of the Phils. winning the election is really just what was termed….a myth).

  6. From Rizal to the heroes of the Katipunan, to the guerilla press in WW-II, to the underground press in Martial Law, they wrote under the protection on anonymity.

    Is the named more credible than the unnamed, well it usually depend on what they are fighting for.

    • Dear Millenials! Mahiingat po kayo sa sasamahan na mga Dilawan, magaral, magbasa, magsaliksik, magtanong at alamin mabuti ang kasaysayan. General Luna, Andres Bonifacio, Jose Rizal, Gregorio Del Pilar and many more during Spanish era have their pen name or anonimity.

      Mga Millenials, magaral mabuti, magsikap mapabuti ang sariling buhay at pamilya, dumiretso sa Panginoong Maykapal pra sa kaliwanagan. Pagbuthin ang sarili at pamilya.

      In short Mga Millenials! Wag magpagamit at masayang ang pagiging Millenials ninyo. Hanapin ang katotohanan san napunta ang kaban ng yaman ng Malolos Convention ng ipapatay si General Luna, bakit naglaho ang mga Bonifacio pagtapos ng digmaan ng Amerikano-Kastila-Plilipino sino ang nagpapatay kay Andres Bonifacio at gumahasa sa butihing may asawa nya… panahon ng gyerang Hapon nasaan si Emilio Aguinaldo san pumanig, sabi nila ibalik ng Marcos ang ninakaw sa bayan, asan ang bilyong bilyong halaga ibinayad ng Hapon sa Pilipinas sa panahon ni Manuel Roxas, lahat ng bansang sinakop ng Hapon umasenso na. Tayo? Anu ang kaso ni Aguinaldo at Roxas sa panahon ni Gen. Mcarthur?

      Magingat mga Millenials! Please Millenials magingat po kayo… please…

  7. We are collective, whyhide in anonymity? We are in a free country. Is it not highly questionable? How about Contreras? Has he not been so anti-Robredo in the first place? A paid lapdog? Just asking.

    • How about juan nationalist, silent no more, pinoy ako etc.? Those are rabid but anonymous anti-du30 fb pages. Are they paid lapdogs by “yellows” (i refuse to call them senseless critics or destabilizers by by the color but i’ll stoop to your level this time)? Just asking, too.

  8. I wondered

    I admire Jesse’s political career. When he died at the height of his career and no apt investigation done.. I wondered

    I have read Nagaleaks… With all of its contents… I hugely wondered…

    I was waiting for the other side of the coin to answer it… No response was made… I wondered

    Days later, We are collective was shutdown, I really, really wondered…

    Spectators like me would not remain as keen observers when these things happen…
    We will not remain wondering….

  9. sol villamin on

    Well thought out and well presented article by Prof. Contreras article that pictured the questionable character and behavior of Leni very logically!

    Jesse Robredo was practically accused of being a crook and a hypocrite by the anonymous writers of #NagaLeaks. Any woman who loved her dead husband dearly would have vehemently protested and accused the accusers of lying.

    But it took Leni Robredo days before she could give a weak denial. Her initial response was not to declare loyalty to the memory of her husband, whom she claimed to have loved dearly and from whom she could not move on.

    Jesse’s memory was being attacked, and Leni’s initial response was to say that such could not silence her. This response betrayed her as a woman who is more interested in protecting her political investments, than fiercely defending her husband’s name and honor.

  10. Lea Hetherington on

    Well said. This kind of behavior is the example of a very selfish person. I am not surprised because selfishness was ingrained in her, and people will see more of her selfishness in the future as long as she is still in as a public official. She will not contribute anything for the good of the country unless it will benefit her too.

  11. I couldn’t agree more on the power of anonymity considering the hot political climate/arena in the Philippines. There’s gargantuan power of influence involved in this political scene that the only way to sometimes arm the ammunition is through anonymity. Of course it is incumbent upon the people to either believe any exposes or not. Nobody’s holding a gun to their head, and force them to swallow any rumored publicity. No one. We all are vested with the power to either believe or not. It is that simple. It is for this similar reason that we have a judicial system – to either believe the factual or circumstantial evidence. The WAC expose or rather, the NAGALEAKS expose, is a publication clearly laced with political intent; and that is to discredit the Robredos because of the fabricated image they’ve portrayed that is already busting in its seams. They are the epitome of what we call wolves in sheep’s clothing if we are to believe the NAGALEAKS. Do I believe it? Here’s my 2 cents. The fact that names, events, and places are mentioned, it is somewhat difficult not to. Everyone can fact-check them. Look them up. In this day and age, we have the internet and social media. I have questions:

    1.) Why did people aforementioned in the expose deactivate their FB pages (the alleged bag lady and the dummy account person)?

    2.) Why are majority of the Nagauenos keeping their trap shut about the expose?

    3.) Why was the page shut down?

    4.) Why did it take the OVP 5 days to counteract about the nagaleak?

    By the way, as of today, OVP HAS NOT addressed point-by-point the alleged druglord issues, the connection with Butch Robredo’s drug activities in NAGA, the jueteng controlled by their family friend Mercado, etc. So many unanswered questions. When one goes to court, there’s always the prosecution and defense rebuttals. There’s always 2 sides of the coin.

    However, the way I look at how things are unfolding, OVP CHOSE to be a one-sided coin when in fact she promotes expression of voice of dissent.

    THAT to me is highly questionable which leads me to think that despite the anonymity of the NAGALEAKS, there could be indeed a dose of truth in there.

    • maria cristina quinto on

      I am a Nagaeno, and yes, I am keeping my mouth shut (#5).Why?Because the accusations being thrown at this couple are all false. Now,don’t start accusing me of being “dilawan” or fanatic. I and majority of ordinary Nagaenos are smart enough not to believe this Nagaleaks crap.

    • to maria, can you provide some factual or concrete rebuttals to the accusations above?

      no offense but anyone can say those are lies or crap. anyone can say that they are nagauenos.

      and nobody is calling you dilawan.

  12. Has Ton-Ton become Tonto?

    For someone who hails from the academe, it is amusing (or utterly distasteful) to justify anonymity to be intellectual and factual — truly an extreme twist of logical thinking.

    Imagine students arguing reality based on anonymous facts! Allowing such action is detrimental to scientific study and with disastrous consequences.

    No real and decent professor will do that. You may be an exception.

    It is crystal clear from the statement of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation — the claims within Naga Leaks of irregularities in Jesse’s RMAF award are not true — and so are the rest. It’s a dud and I sense you know it.

    So let me ask — has Ton-Ton become Tonto, a rabid follower and spokesperson of a (losing) “Lone Ranger” proclaiming to be on the side righteousness and truth intending to rewrite history but in reality — a poor, defective and deceptive fortune teller at best?

    Scholar? No way.

    • I think you have misread the article and have used a more dichotomized view in understanding the discourse.

      I think Prof. Contreras gave a well-thought out view of the playing field in politics of the Philippines.

      In my understanding, he is merely providing discourse in the impact of anonimity in the current times and gives premise on the importance of such anonimity as a tool in today’s politics.

      I think it would have been better if he placed the perspective in a Historical Discourse Analysis, where he could have compared various instances of anonimity used as a political tool as suggested by Red Planet herein.

      But in this article, he merely provides a premise that not all claims made in anonimity is false. But that doesn’t suggest that statement then made anonimously are true. He is merely stating that anonimity here is used as a political tool and VP Leni Robredo failed in responding properly to such political attacks. VP Robredo instead knew it was political but nonetheless treated it as merely political attacks and not as an attack of honor which taints her image.

    • At the time that Laong Laan wrote for La Solidaridad, only the persons of authority who felt offended had wanted to know the identity of Laong Laan. The other people silently agreed with Laong Laan but could not air their grievances because they feared the authorities… But if we follow your logic, then those anonymous facebook pages that support leni and attack duterte should also be deemed to be not intellectual and not factual, thus unbelievable.