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Manila Standard : Nobel awardee mum on Rappler poll fraud

News & Interviews
22 October 2021

By Erwin Tulfo | Manila Standard

"Clearly, it was not an honest mistake."

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa must be worried sick that the Norwegian Nobel Committee might have learned about Rappler’s machination of its presidential race survey that netizens uncovered recently.

Ressa, who did not even have to go to jail to win the Nobel Prize, has not publicly addressed the issue, understandably downplaying it and hoping it would die down.

The blunder consequently exposed Rappler’s bias for oppositionist Leni Robredo whom Rappler projected as the winner when the survey it ran on its Facebook page clearly showed that former senator Bongbong Marcos topped the poll.

Clearly, it was not an honest mistake as netizens also discovered that Robredo got a hefty number of votes coming from dubious FB accounts from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Soon it became too obvious and began to trend in social media that Rappler was forced to take down the bogus survey.

Unable to deny or explain it, Rappler issued a statement that conducting the survey did not conform to Rappler’s objectives after all.

Obviously, the survey was “not aligned to Rappler’s objectives” precisely because BBM emerged as the runaway victor until they pulled their own version of “oplan dagdag-bawas.”

It’s a shame that after all the brouhaha that Rappler has created over freedom of expression and freedom of the press as being suppressed by the Duterte government, the online news media outfit’s credibility and its content’s integrity are now in question.

Note that Rappler is designated as the Facebook fact-checker in the Philippines.

Ironically, too, one Rappler columnist wrote a while back: “Election season is the high season for marketing agencies and commissioned public opinion polling services. Vested groups will doubtless conduct and propagate surveys that promote their interests.”

Clearly, Rappler’s vested interest in mounting the counterfeit presidential poll was to favor Robredo.

In reaction, BBM calmly said the public should give Rappler a chance to explain itself after the online news site pulled out the FB graphic in question.

“Those behind the manipulation of a simple exercise to get the voters’ pulse on the 2022 presidential race might have been overwhelmed by their desire to accomplish whatever mission assigned to them… so let’s give them another chance to find honesty in their heart,” BBM said.

BBM vows to be “a pacifying and unifying leader” which I agree we direly need during this time of pandemic crisis.

Nonetheless, BBM thanked his millions of supporters for checking the survey facts of Rappler.

He also exhorted them to remain vigilant amid reports that some polls on the 2022 presidential race may be manipulated again to favor certain candidates, particularly those with low ratings.

BBM supporters unleashed their wrath against Rappler after its online survey caught fire in various platforms of social media.

Rappler assigned the different emoticons to presidential aspirants with which to signify a vote.

The Wow FB emoticon was assigned to BBM, the Heart to Robredo, the Laugh to Sen. Ping Lacson, the Like to Mayor Isko Moreno, and the Care to Sen. Manny Pacquiao.

Rappler’s manipulation was discovered after a netizen uploaded on Tiktok a video of him checking out the emoticons hit for each of the candidates.

In the video, the total number of votes cast for Robredo was already 161,000, while Marcos only had 87,000.

However, the video showed that upon counter-checking the pages, the actual Wow emoticons far outnumbered the Heart emoticons.

This Rappler’s fraudulent survey reminds us of the questionable results in the 2016 elections vice presidential race, a mystery that remains unresolved after five years.

Who knows if those unopened ballots counted as Robredo votes may have been cast by voters registered in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Timbuktu.