Editorial: Recent conspiracy theories-A A +A
Thursday, September 19, 2013
THERE'S no doubt that the protest against the pork barrel system is a noble act. The noise it has created is now as deafening as the explosion whistle blower Benhur Luy detonated a few months ago that exposed the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam involving Janet Lim-Napoles and some past and present members of Congress.
The siege on some villages in Zamboanga City perpetrated by elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) is a legitimate national concern. In the battles, lives have been lost, properties damaged and hundreds of people have been displaced. The MNLF sent a message to the government, and what a message it was.
In our highly politicized setup, however, some people just couldn’t help weaving conspiracy theories around the two events. Merriam-webster.com defines conspiracy theory as “a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.”
One of these is what can be called the “Wag the Dog” conspiracy theory, named after the movie whose plot involved a spin doctor who constructed a fake war with Albania to distract voters from a sex scandal involving a US president running for reelection.
In the same vein, Filipino conspiracy theorists claimed that President Noynoy Aquino or some other influential politicians inspired the Zamboanga City siege to distract people’s attention from the pork barrel scam and prevent the surfacing of more damning information on it.
The theory doesn’t have anything to stand on, but it persists, notably in the minds of people who stir controversies for political ends.
The same is true with another conspiracy theory, this time involving the filing by the Department of Justice of cases for plunder, malversation, direct bribery and other graft and corrupt practices against 38 people in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Despite the mountain of evidence presented against the respondents, conspiracy theorists insist that the main motivation in the filing of the cases was not to go after the scammers but to cripple the careers of Sens. Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada—all belonging to the opposition and who are facing plunder charges.
Conspiracy theories are bits of information stitched into whole stories that sound believable and plausible. That’s why they make believers of the naïve and the gullible.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 20, 2013.