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Nat’l Security Council denies surveilling businessman Wilfredo Keng

The National Security Council (NSC) on Monday disputed a 2012 Rappler article alleging that it conducted surveillance activities on businessman Wilfredo Keng.

“As National Security Adviser and Director General of the NSC Secretariat, I am compelled to set the record straight to protect the NSC as an institution. I am equally obligated to make clear what we do as an institution,” National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said in a statement in light of the recent cyber libel conviction of Rappler chief Maria Ressa and former researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. over the news website’s story on Keng. 

Esperon said the 2012 story quotes an alleged “NSC document prepared in 2002 [stating] that Keng had been under surveillance by the NSC for alleged involvement in illegal activities, including human trafficking and drug smuggling."

He maintained that the NSC does not conduct surveillance on suspected criminals, adding that the said function falls under the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

“Per records of the decided libel case, the NBI and PDEA certified that they do not have derogatory records in their files on Mr. Keng,” Esperon said.

Ressa and Santos' conviction has received widespread condemnation from press freedom advocates and some legal experts. — Julia Mari Ornedo/BM, GMA News