MANILA, Philippines – Opposition lawmakers in the Upper House have cried foul over the alleged hacking of emails of their staff; believing the perpetrators are those who wanted them blamed for an “imaginary destabilization plot” against the government.
The minority senators, including Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV, have expressed serious concerns after emails addresses of their staff, and even that of the Liberal Party (LP) were allegedly hacked during the period of March 21 until October 11.
The emails that were supposedly compromised particularly involved those of the staff of Pangilinan and Aquino, and the LP’s official email used in releasing statements to the media.
“The nature of the breach in all instances is the same: Unauthorized users sent emails using the staff and party addresses,” the group said in a statement.
They are now seeking the help of Senate sergeant-at-arms and Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III in investigating and addressing the issue, as well as secure the services of the experts.
The minority bloc also dismissed the allegations they are behind an alleged destabilization plot against the Duterte administration, even as they noted such hacking incidents should be a “cause of concern” after Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II earlier lauded the launching of Citizen National Guard, a group supposedly dedicated to countering dissent from the opposition.
“Let us be clear. There is no destabilization plot. Dissent is not destabilization. Dissent is indispensable in a democracy,” said the senators.
During a press conference on Thursday, Senator Bam Aquino said the matter has been reported to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the necessary action.