Conspiracy theories of yore singled out the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as the key culprit in foreign-led covert operations that sought to shepherd Philippine politics towards certain agendas. A Newsweek report cites observations that the United States has long ago “gone beyond interfering with elections” in countries around the world and has “overthrown seven governments since World War II.”
How things have changed. The CIA is now playing the victim card amidst allegations of a Russian conspiracy to influence the recently-concluded US presidential elections…
Apparently, America reserves the right to topple governments and help establish regimes they support all across the globe. If Russia really is able to interfere with America’s so-called democracy, then perhaps the CIA is experiencing firsthand what they have been doing to countless governments for decades — and perhaps America’s seemingly omnipotent power is waning if it can be undermined by a foreign power.
Closer to home is an even more interesting development. Filipinos have now taken over the role of the CIA as agents in the destabilisation of their own government. It seems that a certain shady group known as the “Global Filipino Diaspora Council” (GFDC) is the new CIA.
FILIPINO-American supporters of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo are allegedly behind efforts to undermine President Rodrigo Duterte, leaked emails posted online by bloggers showed.The leaked emails, first posted by the “Thinking Pinoy” blog on Friday, showed exchanges between members of the “Global Filipino Diaspora Council” (GFDC) including billionaire philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis and her sister, former Commission on Filipinos Overseas chairwoman Imelda “Mely” Nicolas, both Robredo supporters.
Robredo is currently being investigated for her ties with Nicolas-Lewis relating to allegations that her campaign for a seat in Congress in 2013 was funded by foreign sponsors. Under Philippine law, foreign contributions to election campaigns are illegal and politicians caught receiving foreign contributions are subject to permanent exclusion from running for office in the future.
Unfortunately, unlike the CIA, supporters of Leni Robredo and the people involved in the potentially seditious effort to undermine the current Philippine government are hopelessly incompetent operatives. Robredo and her handlers, for their part, swung from flat-out denial of the conspiracy to a desperate scramble to manage the fallout from the scandal as leaked information from the YahooGroups email forum (the group had since upgraded their settings to Private) spread across social media.
Article 142 of the Philippines’ Revised Penal Code cites Inciting to Sedition as a “crime against public order”. The law states that an offender includes…
[…] any person who, without taking any direct part in the crime of sedition, should incite others to the accomplishment of any of the acts which constitute sedition, by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners, or other representations tending to the same end, or upon any person or persons who shall utter seditious words or speeches, write, publish, or circulate scurrilous libels against the Republic of the Philippines or any of the duly constituted authorities thereof, or which tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or which tend to instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the Government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices.
As the purported “vice president” of the Philippines, much is expected of Leni Robredo. Acting in the best interests of the Republic is the least of these expectations. For an official who is but a heartbeat away from the presidency to be party — even by distant association — to any “crime against public order” is therefore nothing short of an outrage.