WE write in reference to the opinion column of Mr. Yen Makabenta entitled, “A festival of schadenfreude, courtesy of Trillanes, Duterte and Sereno”, which was published in your prestigious newspaper on June 17, 2017, as well as on the online version of the same.
On behalf of Sen. Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes 4th, we wish to call your attention to the false and derogatory statements of Mr. Makabenta and the use of fake news as his basis in his column, when he wrote thus:
“1. Crowd walks out on Sen. Antonio Trillanes
The Pinoy Pride website reports that on Saturday, June 10, Senator Trillanes was invited by the Masinloc Fishermen Association (MFA), as one of five resource speakers on sea laws and safety during a general assembly and workshop seminar, which was attended by more than 600 fishermen from Masinloc and Iba towns in Zambales.
Trillanes was the last speaker. But when he went up the stage, he found the people leaving when he started speaking. The senator did not deliver his prepared speech.
When asked why they left the area, two brothers, both fishermen from Iba, said they we were tired of hearing the senator’s promises. He says the same things over and over again. Nothing happens.”
In the interest of objectivity and fairness, allow us to state the true facts regarding the said supposed incident.
First and foremost, there was no such event which occurred on June 10, 2017 (or before or after said date) when Senator Trillanes was on official travel and was abroad on the said date. The information could have been easily verified, but Mr. Makabenta failed and/or ignored his job as a responsible writer to do research first before publishing his piece.
Second, the source of the article, the Pinoy Pride website, from which Mr. Makabenta based his article, is a known source of fake news. The article was clearly just a hatchet job to tarnish the reputation of Senator Trillanes. In fact, if he diligently checked the contents of the said website, Mr. Makabenta could have easily recognized that it is not a legitimate news website but rather a propaganda site that contains fake news and/or biased articles that seek to deceive its readers and malign the people known to be critical of the present administration.
At this time when people from various sectors, including Sen. Trillanes, are joining the effort to stop fake news from proliferating, it is rather disappointing that a long-time and supposedly veteran columnist like Mr. Makabenta has allowed himself to be a medium of spreading fake news.
This is not the first time that Mr. Makabenta wrote derogatory articles regarding Sen. Trillanes. However, his act of resorting to fake news just to malign Sen. Trillanes cannot be condoned or ignored.
It is in this regard that we seek a public apology from Mr. Makabenta in order to correct and/or rectify this obviously erroneous and seemingly malicious article that he wrote against Sen. Trilanes. We also hope that the side of Sen. Trillanes in this regard be published by your venerable newspaper with the same prominence as that of the article of Mr. Makabenta.
As partners in promoting press freedom, transparency and accountability, we hope that this concern would merit your immediate attention and favorable action.
ROLANDO T. AVERILLA
Chief of Staff
Office of Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes 4th