The road to #CocoyGate

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SASS ROGANDO SASOT

LAST weekend social media was abuzz with the exposé that RJ Nieto of the Thinking Pinoy blog, Vovph blog, and I did of Edward Angelo “Cocoy” Dayao, the web security consultant of the Presidential Communications Operations Office of the previous Aquino administration. The gist of the exposé: If he were not the person directly writing the content of the Silent No More (SNM) blog, Cocoy got exposed as the best link to unmask him or her.

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SNM is a major Facebook page platform aligned with the Liberal Party. Among the anti-Duterte Facebook pages, it has one of the highest number of followers and online engagement. During the 2016 elections, the LP even used SNM as one of their various slogans. Roxas-Robredo supporters used #SilentNoMore to append their expressions of support. After the elections, SNM transformed from being a campaign tool to a tool of destabilization.

Repeatedly, it has deliberately published blatantly false information. Some of the most recent ones are:

In June, SNM released a screenshot of a CCTV footage they claimed to have been sent to them by a Resorts World employee. The screenshot showed two assailants during the Resorts World attack, while the government claimed there was only one. However, as I recalled in my column on September 7, 2017 (“This is not fake news”), after conducting a Google image search of the screenshot, I was led to a You Tube video of the armed heist in the Savannah Casino in Suriname on December 28, 2011.

In August, SNM released an old photo of Duterte with three other men. According to them, the three men were, from left to right: 1) Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa; 2) an unknown New People’s Army member; and 3) Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido. SNM captioned it this way: “This old picture says it all! Grupo ng BERDUGO!”

Last week, SNM called seven senators “Malacañang dogs” for not supporting a Senate resolution urging the government to stop the killings of minors. The problem was these seven senators were not even aware that there was such a resolution.

Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd was one of the seven senators. In a speech in the Senate on September 28, a furious Sotto showed screenshots of a blog post by SNM and reacted to being called a “rapist,” among other things. He promised to go after the people behind SNM, and sue them for cyber libel.

On the same day as Senator Sotto’s speech, I was contacted by one of the readers of my Facebook page (@forthemotherlandph). The reader who wished to remain anonymous alerted me that the Google Adsense publisher ID of the website of SNM and www.propinoy.net, website created by Cocoy, are the same: 8283971809912134. I then asked him how he came to know it.

Since I have a working knowledge of HTML programming, I quickly realized that, of course, it can be publicly viewed in the website source code of a website. For those who do not know, HTML (or hypertext markup language) is what is used to create a website. It consists of a series of codes corresponding to different elements that can be seen in a website. One can view these codes by simply accessing it through the “View” command function on top of an internet browser.

I have always suspected that the anonymous blogs that have proliferated and have been sowing intrigues against the Duterte administration form a network. One of these blogs is the notorious “Madam Claudia” blog. It has repeatedly circulated fake stories about me, including one that claimed that I work as a high-class escort here in The Netherlands.

When I viewed the source code of the website of Madam Claudia, I saw that same Google Adsense publisher ID: 8283971809912134.

Google Adsense is the way website creators generate revenues from their websites. Website creators can display Google ads by simply including in the HTML program of their sites a code Google provides them. And that code contains the unique publisher ID of the Google Adsense enrolled publisher.

I did some online sleuthing and found that Cocoy also included his publisher ID in several of his earlier websites, such as www.cocoychronicles.com and arkangel1a.blogspot.com.

Cocoy’s Google Adsense publisher ID cannot appear in the HTML programming of a website if he cannot edit its HTML codes!

Furthermore, in Section 12 of the terms and conditions of Google Adsense that every publisher signs, one affirms that in every website that the Google Adsense publisher’s ID appears, he is either the owner or the one “legally authorized” to act on behalf of the site’s owner and that he is also the “technical and decision maker” of the website.

By the virtue of this agreement with Google, and since his Google Adsense publisher ID is the one being used in the websites of SNM and Madam Claudia, Cocoy admits that he has a significant role in SNM and Madam Claudia. After all, he is the one receiving the revenues generated through the Google ads in those sites!

Armed with this information, I contacted RJ Nieto, and what followed is an exposé that indicates a strong probability that all these anonymous blogs are run by the same team. To use Maria Ressa’s words to describe us—it is a well-organized and well-funded propaganda machine.

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