Controversial ‘Oust Duterte’ matrix cites anomalous IP address

April 25, 2019 - 4:06 PM
Oust Duterte matrix
Questions arise as the "Oust Duterte" matrix surfaces in a column on the Manila Times. (Helloquence via Unsplash)

A matrix published by a Manila-based newspaper mapped an network allegedly working on the ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte. It linked journalists and lawyers who have been critical of the Duterte administration to an unverified coup plot.

Malacañang backed the diagram, insisting on its provenance.

The matrix, as expected, became controversial, having been published as part of a column by the top boss of broadsheet Manila Times on April 22. Dante Ang, the newspaper’s owner and presidential appointee, claimed that those behind the video series of the YouTube channel “Ang Totoong Narcolist” are linked to some media organizations.

One of the drawings indicated that the IP address is of the main server or DNS server does not conform to any existing subnet mask or classes of IP versions.

Blogger Noemi Dado pointed this out on Twitter.

Lifewire, a technology reference website, defined an IP address as “an identifying number for a piece of network hardware.”

“Similar to a home or business address supplying that specific physical location with an identifiable address, devices on a network are differentiated from one another through IP addresses,” the article said.

An IP address has two versions, the IPv4 and the IPv6.

The IPv4 is already outdated as it could not cater to the growing number of devices using the internet, that is, approximately 4 million unique IP addresses. The version 6 provides at least 340 trillion addresses more.

While the IP version is not detailed in Ang’s diagram, both versions do not have a class with a subnet mask of 266.

The IPv4 maximum subnet mask is 255 while the IPv6 has a more complicated architecture with more figures written than the number series mentioned.

“Because there are trillions of possible IPv6 addresses, they must be written in hexadecimal to display them, like 3ffe:1900:4545:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf,” Lifewire explained.

Ang asserted in his story that such information came from a “highly placed source” from the Office of the President.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it was provided by Duterte himself.

Despite having gained attention, the matrix is not the first alleged ouster plot the president has floated. Since 2016, Duterte and his officials have linked critics to intel-traced destabilization networks. These, however, could not be independently verified by news organizations and the public.

Other lapses

The matrix titled “Association Matrix Between Bikoy and Ellen Tordesillas” named members of news outlets Vera Files, Rappler, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) as well as the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) to be involved in the alleged campaign to remove Duterte from office.

However, it identified journalist Inday Espina Varona and journalism faculty member Danilo Arao as being members of the NUPL. Arao and Varona are legal practitioners.

The PCIJ said that at least five people identified in the web are no longer associated with it.