A Propagandist’s Doublespeak
I’ve never watched Jeffrey Celiz’s TV program on Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI). But during the last two weeks, I would occasionally watch his program ever since he and Lorraine Badoy were released from House of Representatives detention. My intention is to know more about the man who claims to have been a ranking member of the New People’s Army (NPA) and openly accuses progressive organizations and the Makabayan bloc in Congress as communist fronts. Known to be a notorious red-tagger for the former president Rodrigo Duterte, he remains unabated in propagating fake news. His baseless accusations are as controversial as his shady character or personality.
Celiz’s virulent verbal attacks against the CPP-NPA-NDF are parts of his daily broadcast program. Most of the time, he sounds like an agitator cajoling his audience to embrace his cause. At times, he sounds arrogant and bellicose.
After I have listened enough to his mind-numbing lies, I begin to see consistencies in the way he rationalizes, the way he twists history, and the way he presents his version of the truth. Call it a propagandist’s doublespeak.
Truly, Celiz has piqued the curiosity of many, me included, especially after a group of retired Philippine Military Academy (PMA) alumni, numbering about 150, released a manifesto supporting Celiz’s immediate release from House detention. He was cited for contempt last December 5 for lying, together with Badoy, another red-tagger and propagator of fake information.
Wrote the PMA alumni from different classes in their manifesto: “We demand the immediate and unconditional release of our colleagues. Their detention is not only illegitimate but also emblematic of a distressing trend of authoritarian overreach...Those responsible for this overstep must be held to account.”
Why did the PMA alumni describe Celiz as one of their colleagues in their manifesto? I find this a tad mind boggling? Are some military officers in connivance with Celiz? Is Celiz a military asset? Is he under the protection of some military officers? Where does Celiz get the courage to verbally attack known political oppositionists like former president Leni Robredo, ACT representative France Castro, Gabriela representative Arlene Brosas, to mention a few, with impunity and without fear? Is there something that the military knows that the public needs to know about Celiz’s identity?
VP Sara Duterte even praised Celiz and Badoy for their “bravery and toughness to fight for our rights and uphold the Constitution. They are a symbol of a nation standing up for what’s right.”
(Tagalog original: “Kahanga-hanga ang tapang at tatag na ipinamalas nina Dr. Badoy at Ka Eric para ipaglaban ang ating karapatan at itaguyod ang ating Saligang Batas. Simbolo sila ng isang bayan na naninindigan ng tama at naninindigan para sa tama.”
Celiz should come clean. He loves to talk about his twenty-seven years of membership in the CPP-NPA-NDF to give credence to his many pronouncements that the latter is a terrorist organization. Yet, the late Jorge Madlos, spokesperson of the NPA National Operation Command, said Celiz was never one of their own. Does it make Celiz an impostor then?
An Inquirer Net article dated December 5, 2020, quoted Madlos as saying: “Jeffrey Celiz is a liar. His inconsistent stories, fabricated facts and questionable track record as a drug personality and suspected mastermind in the extrajudicial killings of Leftist personalities make him a fake government whistleblower.”
Human rights lawyer Jobert Pahilga, a close friend and classmate of Celiz at West Visayas State University, denies Celiz’s involvement in the Communist Party, as explained by Antonio J. Montalban II in his Vera Files commentary on December 16, 2023. True, Celiz was a student activist like Pahilga, but his story about his involvement in the revolutionary movement is said to be pure concoction.
The problem with lying is the more one lies, the easier it gets. With Celiz’a continuous lying and spewing fake information about other people, his lies can put activists and human rights workers in danger and even get killed. This makes Celiz a dangerous man.
An embarrassing turn of events for Celiz though took place when the House cited him for contempt for lying and jailed him. Suddenly, as if suffering from temporary amnesia, he raised the flame of press freedom and respect for human rights.
Celiz, the chief purveyor of fake news who attacks and wants to deprive those whose ideas and pronouncements he does not agree with of the same rights he is now espousing, now wants his rights protected because he is in trouble. He now wants to project himself as the champion of press freedom and human rights. What an example of utter shamelessness and hypocrisy.
It remains to be seen whether Celiz will be able to mend his ways for the better. This is the nice thing that I can say about him.
Whether Celiz will be able to mend his ways is questionable for as the saying goes, the only thing worse than a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocrite.