Ambassador to UN defends Sass Sasot's viral BBC confrontation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 17) — Pro-Duterte social media blogger Sass Rogando Sasot had a right to hit a BBC journalist for featuring an anti-administration blogger, the Philippine ambassador to the United Nations said.

Ambassador Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin, Jr. was asked on CNN Philippines' The Source if Sasot's viral tirade against BBC Southeast Asia correspondent Jonathan Head was right.

"I think it is. It is because it's her opinion and she finds bias on the part of the BBC seeking out a small blogger," Locsin said.

"But maybe the small blogger is a Hemingway, writes really well," he added.

Sasot went viral on Monday after demanding to know why Head featured Jover Laurio of Pinoy Ako Blog, which was critical of the administration. She insisted BBC's interview with Laurio was an insult to her and other Duterte supporters.

Related: Filipino blogger confronts BBC reporter in ASEAN coverage

"She has a right to bring up a concern... So I think it's correct. And someone tweeted and said, 'Yeah, but who does she represent?' Well, who does the minor blogger represent? Themselves," Locsin continued.

"She is a citizen. She's a person. She has a right to confront," he added.

However, Sasot and other bloggers like RJ Nieto of Thinking Pinoy have been accused of accepting money from politicians. Another pro-administration social media personality, Bruce Rivera, took Sasot to task in a viral video in October.

"Huwag tayong magkunwaring para sa bayan kayo kasi sa totoo lang, magkaalam na kung magkaalaman... ang masasabi ko sarili ko ay hindi po ako bayad," said Rivera.

"Hindi ako binayaran ng kahit sinong tao... kahit sinong pulitiko, hindi ako binayaran ng pamasahe ko na pumunta ng Pilipinas, kaya utang na loob, huwag mong gawing isyu ito," he added.

[Translation: Let's not pretend you're for the country because the truth is, I'll spill the beans if I have to... I can really say I'm not paid. I haven't been paid by anyone, not any politician, not for my transportation going to the Philippines, so don't make this an issue.]

Rivera, however, later denied he accused the bloggers of receiving public funds.

Sasot, in turn, accused other bloggers like Laurio of being paid by the opposition