NAGA CITY – It wasn’t me, and I have 7 million pesos for whoever can pinpoint the people responsible for some clever technical fabrication of my voice.
This is essentially what Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte said Friday as he denied being the man recorded in an audiotape ordering someone in Filipino to set up a campaign to represent Vice President Leni Robredo and his president’s supporters . candidacy in the province as “crooks”.
In a Facebook post, Villafuerte described the audio shared on social media platforms as a “deeply fake recording”, saying it was made through audio recording software that mimicked his voice. He included a link to a YouTube site that shows how this could be done.
Villafuerte accused his political rivals of being the “brains” behind the audio recording.
The lawmaker said it offered a total of 7 million pesos and protection for those who could trace the source of the recording.
The recorded phone conversation, which lasted 114 seconds, was between a man who looked like Villafuerte and a woman.
The man ordered the woman to launch a demolition campaign against Robredo, Camarines Sur gubernatorial candidate Rolando Andaya Jr., Iriga City Mayor Madelaine Alfelor and re-elected Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr.
The conversation was interrupted at one point by a bad signal. The man also seemed restless and impatient.
Villafuerte, who is seeking re-election for the second congressional district seat, said local radio program Ratsada Rinconada and people connected to it, including Jeric Joy Añonuevo, were playing the recording.
“I am offering 2 million pesos to those who can testify and identify the person behind Ratsada Rinconada and other fake news accounts. Besides the cash reward, there will be 100% protection and many more” , did he declare.
“Furthermore, I have an offer of 5 million pesos to those who can tell the source of the fake recording against me,” Villafuerte said.
Although Villafuerte has not publicly endorsed a presidential candidate, he is a known political opponent of Robredo, Andaya, Alfelor and Bordado.
Andaya, who is challenging Luigi Villafuerte, the lawmaker’s son and younger brother of incumbent Governor Luis Miguel “Migz” Villafuerte, is backed by Robredo in the May election.
Andaya could not be reached for comment.
Robredo has long been a political enemy of the Villafuertes in Camarines Sur starting in 2013 when she upset and dealt a blow to Villafuerte’s fearsome political clan by defeating Villafuerte’s mother, Nelly, in the election for the third seat of the District Congress.
Robredo declined to comment on the audio recording, but said she was confident such propaganda against her would fail.
“I don’t know if it’s true, that’s why I refuse to comment,” Robredo told reporters after a forum with students and teachers from Pangasinan University in Dagupan City on Friday.
“It’s not going to prosper”
“But people in our province know me,” she says. “No matter what they do to slander me, people know who I am. It will not prosper.
Alfelor simply ignored Villafuerte’s alleged plan against her, saying she had nothing to fear because “the truth will prevail”. Añonuevo claimed he was not a fake news provider.
“He (Villafuerte) said he had no evidence pointing to us (as people) behind his allegations, but he’s willing to offer 2 million pesos?” he said.
Añonuevo also doubted that the audio was fake, noting that it would be difficult to reproduce Villafuerte’s voice, especially if there was no pre-recorded audio material available.
Several people who commented on Twitter said that the AI technology available would still be unable to generate the tone and emotion expressed by the recorded voice, let alone in the Filipino language. Others say they recognized the voice of the legislator and that is how he spoke. —WITH A REPORT BY MARLON RAMOS INQ
Villafuerte said: Explain why the government must assume the construction of the capitol P420-M CamSur
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.