RJ Nieto/Thinking Pinoy and Sass Rogando Sasot recently conducted a series of investigations into various webpages and social media accounts that have been attacking the Duterte administration. In what has since been dubbed, CocoyGate, they were able to pull two names from out of the shadows – Edward Angelo “Cocoy” Dayao and Juan Gregorio “Jego” Ragragio. It was their digital fingerprints that were found all over the anti-Duterte websites.
Taking off from the excellent sleuth work done by Sass and TP, I decided to do a check of my own into the political backgrounds of these two individuals to see if there was more to this whole thing than what has been discovered so far.
My inquiry is based on the premise that whatever roles Dayao and Ragrario play in this drama, I suspect that they are not the ultimate masterminds and financiers of this operation.
These suspicions are borne out by a source within the Liberal Party who said that those directing the campaign are very likely “former Aquino officials,” and Dayao and Ragrario may just be part of a larger team.
He explained that the communications and messaging group for Mar and Leni in 2016 was “headed by people from Malacañan.” After they lost, because of the very divisive nature of the campaign, some decided to pursue “a sort of guerrilla war” against the Duterte administration. But it wasn’t organized at first. Funding had stopped and people were falling away.
This, my source tells me, is when these “leaders” decided to step in.
“When Leni was not getting any traction with Digong, they panicked and saw the reemergence of Marcos as a very real possibility. They decided to reorganize and re-form their teams using the same people that have been with them from the past.” And while he does not know either Dayao or Ragrario, or when exactly they became involved, he says that they could have been among those who were tapped because of their expertise and political connections.
There are very clear lines connecting Dayao and Ragrario to individuals who were deeply involved with the Aquino administration and the subsequent anti-Duterte campaigns that sprouted after Roxas’ defeat in 2016. Please click on the archived links below to see the source materials.
1. Both of them worked for the previous administration. Dayao as web security consultant to PCOO Sec. Edwin Lacierda and Ragrario as the executive assistant to PNR General Manager Junio M. Ragrario (note: I am still checking on how they are related).
2. The Ragrarios trace their roots to Naga City, the hometown of alleged vice president Leni Robredo, where the clan is active in both political and civic circles. In 2007, in the wake of the electoral protest against Jesse Robredo, several Ragrario’s signed a “manifesto” of support that was circulated by the Synergia Foundation, in which both Jesse and Leni were very active.
3. While it has been established that Dayao worked for Lacierda, there is also evidence that their relationship is more than just that of an employer-employee. Lacierda in fact wrote for Cocoy Dayao’s ProPinoy blogsite.
4. There is also a link between Lacierda and Ragrario. In the same ProPinoy posting referred to above, Lacierda uses some of Ragrario’s quotes and writes of him as if of a friend he knows well.
4. Both Dayao and Ragrario are close friends and are active in the blogging and online community. They also have links with key personalities with the past administration’s communications and messaging group. This includes Lacierda, former Aquino spokesperson Abigail Valte, and PCDSPO Undersecretary Manolo Quezon.
Given these facts, it is entirely possible that the issue goes well beyond the matter of fake news and cyber libel, which are the subjects of the inquiry by the senate. But may be the prelude to a larger investigation into the organized attempts by certain groups to destabilize the government.
Using the information discovered by TP and Sass into the online activities of Dayao and Ragrario, the government must follow the trail up to where it all begins. We should not stop at the foot of these two. We need to find where this leads – and to see whether or not the masterminds are in the senate, the office of the vice president, or lie deeper in the shadows.