CLAIM: A Facebook page claimed that a presidential and vice-presidential aspirant in the 2022 national elections flashed a “devil’s sign” to the crowd in their Bacolod City campaign rally.
Facebook page “Bbm-Sara Solid Supporters Uniteam” on Sunday shared a picture of presidential bet Vice President Leni Robredo and her running mate, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, doing hand gestures and claimed that it was a new gimmick of the two.
“Bagong hand sign ng Pinklawan. ‘Devil’s Horn.’ So pagkagaling sa sa simbahan at bendisyon ni Padre Damaso, ‘yan ang hand sign??? Ano ba talaga, puso o laban ang sign, nanay? Naguluhan na mga alipores niyo,” it wrote with a grinning face emoji.
The page also shared photos about the “satanic salute” and the “devil’s sign” taken online.
The Facebook post has earned 4,800 laughing and sad reactions, 1,500 comments and 5,900 shares as of writing.
RATING: This is false.
FACTS: Reports said that the grand rally for Robredo and Pangilinan held on March 11 in Bacolod had a section for persons with disabilities (PWD).
A youth volunteer group in the area said that there were deaf and mute volunteers who helped in the clean-up drive after the event.
Based on the photos uploaded on Robredo’s Facebook page the day after the event, some attendees are from the deaf community. These were also backed by some testimonies.
Robredo’s page also uploaded a photo of her and Pangilinan flashing hand gestures. It was posted the same day her page shared a picture of the deaf community.
The hand gesture was also flashed by deaf and mute volunteers of the grand rally’s clean-up drive.
The particular hand sign means “I love you” in sign language, the way of communication of deaf and mute people.
The pinky finger represents the letter “I” while the index finger represents “L.”
Extending both the pinky and the thumb fingers, on the other hand, represent “Y.”
A deaf-oriented website said that these hand gestures represent the combination of fingerspelled letters I, L, and Y.
A YouTube channel dedicated to American sign languages also shows how this hand gesture is done:
What’s the ‘devil’s sign?’
Robredo and Pangilinan were not the only ones accused of flashing the so-called “devil’s sign.”
Pope Francis also faced a similar accusation in 2015.
In January 2015, the pontiff visited the Philippines and flashed the “I love you” gesture to a crowd of families in SM Mall of Asia Arena.
He was photographed doing the hand gesture alongside then-Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle.
At that time, the Pope was conducting a five-day apostolic visit in the predominantly Catholic country.
Facebook users also thought that the two Catholic leaders were flashing a “devil’s sign” before, according to reports.
The hand sign’s association with the “devil” could be traced to Coven, an occult-driven rock act in the ’60s and ’70s. However, they do not have their thumbs extended.
Their debut album was titled “Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls” and the photo on the back cover showed two members with their pinky and index fingers extended.
The album had prominent Occult references, with song titles such as “Black Sabbath,” “Pact with Lucifer,” “Dignitaries of Hell” and “Satanic Mass.”
The hand sign eventually gained prominence in the rock music scene. The hand gesture signifies “rock on” for some.
Meanwhile, the Facebook page’s source about the “satanic salute,” which involved the thumb being extended, is from a blog that is already non-existent.
Similar information could be found on a slideshow uploaded on SlideShare which claimed that the hand gesture is “a sign of allegiance between members of Satanism to their ‘horned god.'”
The slideshow showed two hand gestures—the one traced to the Coven band and the one which had the thumb extended.
A cursory search on Google reveals that most “satanic salute” gestures do not have extended thumbs.
Why it matters
The Facebook page which claimed that Robredo and Pangilinan did a “devil’s sign” hand sign has 2,382 followers and 2,252 likers.
Its post has also been called out by different Filipinos who pointed out that the tandem was merely flashing an “I love you” gesture to the crowd in Bacolod.
“I am a Special Ed (Education) graduate, that sign means ‘I Love you,’ not a devil sign. Clearly, this page is mocking the deaf community. Kindly report this page for spreading false information,” a Facebook user wrote in the comments.
Interaksyon is part of #FactsFirstPH, a multi-sectoral initiative promoting truth in public space and demanding accountability for falsehoods. For those interested to join the initiative, email [email protected]