MANILA – The Standard journalist Christine Herrera who reported about the alleged P440-million bribe for several lawmakers to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) appeared before the House of Representatives to testify about her controversial article.
In her report, Herrera claimed that Chinese ‘crime lord’ Wang Bo was the man behind the bribery. She also said that P1.5 million was promised to each lawmaker who would vote in favor of the BBL. Bags containing cash were brought to the House, into the office of speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
Furthermore, Herrera claimed that Wang Bo had also purportedly paid P100 million to the Bureau of Investigation (BI) when the department ordered for his deportation.
Wang Bo is a businessman inclined in opening casinos for transnational gambling.
During the House probe, Herrera stated that she had ‘credible sources’ and ‘solid evidence’ which could verify the information she disclosed in her article.
“I stand by what I have written in my articles. They are based on credible sources and solid evidence. I exerted efforts to verify and corroborate the story before submitting for publication,” she said.
Herrera then spoke about the freedom of the press, quoting words from US President Barack Obama.
“’A society who represses journalists ultimately represses the people.’ I brought out the basic principle which is that a free press is a foundation for a democracy. We rely on journalists to explain the actions of the government. If the government controls the journalist then it’s very difficult for citizens to hold government accountable,” she said.
Aside from Herrera, also present in the investigation were The Standard journalists Maricel Cruz and Rey Requejo.
Meanwhile, Wang Bo denied any involvement in the alleged BBL bribe on lawmakers, more so he denied existence of such bribery.
“No, I did not,” Bo directly answered when asked if he bribed the 292 lawmakers to pass the BBL.
Bo also denied bribing Bureau of Immigration associate commissioners Abdullah Mangotara and Gilberto Repizo to save him from deportation as ordered by Immigration commissioner Siegfred Mison.