Malacañang has launched a major public relations salvo against the High Court for declaring the presidential pork barrel known as the Disbursement Acceleration Program illegal and unconstitutional.
Although the Palace has publicly vowed to respect the Supreme Court (SC)’s final verdict, their attack dogs in Congress and the Commission on Audit have launched a media onslaught to demonize the High Court’s use of its paltry P1.7-billion Judiciary Development Fund (JDF).
But it isn’t only the Palace and their confederates that are trying to put the squeeze on the High Court.
The powerful and well-funded Netherlands-based pressure group Greenpeace has reportedly stepped up its own PR assault on the SC on the issue of modern agriculture biotechnology, which has landed on the lap of our justices.
It will be recalled that the SC is set to review a writ of kalikasan issued by the Court of Appeals (CA). The writ stopped Filipino scientists led by researchers from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) from completing field trials for a pest-resistant, pesticide-free eggplant variety called “Bt Talong.”
Our scientists, joined by several government agencies and Filipino farmers, have appealed the writ’s issuance to the SC.
The other development is that Greenpeace has purportedly mobilized its local fronts as part of a stepped-up and well-funded counter-offensive. Based on media reports, Greenpeace is fielding so-called “consumer groups” and other radical organizations to add pressure on the SC into upholding the CA-issued writ.
Greenpeace’s recent move is significant. It’s meant to show the SC that the group’s vaunted global propaganda machinery is as strong as ever and that any Third World institution that dares stand on its way will be made to “pay a price.”
Greenpeace has apparently chosen the Philippines to be the showcase of its PR and financial muscle as it wages its unrelenting war against our scientists on the issue of modern agriculture biotechnology. Since the early 2000s, the powerful European lobby group was already blocking efforts by the government to show our farmers the value of using crop varieties that do not require the massive application of chemical pesticides due to the built-in resistance developed through plant biotechnology.
By mobilizing “consumer” and activist groups, it appears Greenpeace wants to send the chilling message to the SC that it faces a major public relations backlash should it side with Filipino scientists and farmers on the issue of the writ of kalikasan. Others say Greenpeace’s moves also serves notice to the SC justices that if and when the writ is lifted and field trials for “Bt Talong” resume, they face the grim prospect of becoming the subject of negative media attacks.
Many thinking Filipinos do not doubt the ability of Greenpeace to conduct such a vilification campaign. We’re told the European pressure group employs local propagandists who are adept at using activist language that can terrify the public.
In the early 200s, at the start of Greenpeace’s war against Filipino scientists, its propagandists “warned” that planting biotech crops in the country could result in millions of deaths, deformities, cancer and the like.
Of course, none of those threats have materialized but the terrifying effects of the propaganda remain in the minds of many people. Fortunately, highly respected science officials of the country, including Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), have demolished the frightening myths planted by Greenpeace’s propaganda experts. They have explained time and again that biotech food crops approved for commercialization are safe—if not safer—than conventional crops, which have mostly been sprayed with chemical pesticides.
But what is not a myth is the might and resolve of Greenpeace to impose its will on Philippine agriculture policies. The group is a virtual global political player and probably has more financial resources than UPLB. It’s a given that our local science community is no match for Greenpeace when it comes to public relations wars and political lobby.
Unfortunately, the SC may be in the line of fire of the powerful European lobby group on this issue. Greenpeace’s move is both brilliant and timely since the SC is vulnerable to attack at the moment. There’s no better time to put more pressure on the SC than now.
We’re sure the SC is aware that Greenpeace has both the will and the ability to launch mass actions even of the destructive kind. We recall that some of its local operatives have already been charged in court after being accused of destroying biotech crop varieties planted on government-owned trial farms.
Its decision in the biotech case involving Greenpeace could be a major act of patriotism and courage on the part of the SC.
Or an unwarranted act of inflicting a major PR wound on itself.