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Trillanes sues Mocha Uson over ‘fake news’

By: Czarina Nicole O. Ong and Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV yesterday filed criminal and administrative complaints against Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson before the Ombudsman for spreading “fake news” about his alleged off-shore bank accounts.

Trillanes filed seven complaints against Uson, an administrative case for grave misconduct, and six criminal complaints – three counts of libel under the Anti-Cybercrime Law, violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Ethics and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, falsification of documents under Article 172 in relation to Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code, and graft for violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

In an interview with reporters, Trillanes said that “the era of fake news is over” since officials such as himself will go after those who post bogus and inflammatory articles.

“As a responsible senior government official, mas mataas ang standards natin, di ba? Dapat vine-verify yung truthfulness bago tayo mag share. So let this be a lesson not only for Miss Mocha Uson, but yung sa mga ordinaryong mga kababayan natin na may penchant na mag-share ng pekeng news,” said Trillanes.

Trillanes said he hopes that the administrative case filed against Uson would result to her immediate dismissal from office.

He suggested that Uson get a really good lawyer due to the gravity of her charges.

Malacañang said that Trillanes is free to press charges against Uson and maintained that they do not spread fake news.

“I think maliwanag na we don’t do stuff like that,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

“Walang ganyan sanctions, pare-pareho tayo. We’re all in the same platform,” he added. “We stand on a platform of integrity of communication. And so, ano siguro, if you say do we sanction, ‘di naman siguro.”

Trillanes’ cyberlibel charges against Uson stemmed from her social media post alleging that the he had a secret bank account in Singapore.

Aside from Uson, Trillanes said that he would also file libel charges against journalist Erwin Tulfo and Davao-based journalist Ben Tesiorna for spreading fake news about his supposed offshore bank accounts.