CLAIM: A wave of Facebook comments claimed that a 2022 presidential candidate was being praised and worshipped by the faithful after pictures of Filipinos staging the annual “Kalbaryo ng Maralita” from Katipunan went viral.
A Facebook page of a newspaper on Tuesday shared pictures of Filipinos holding palm fronds and carrying crosses with pink sashes. A priest was also pictured carrying a cross.
The post was captioned with the following:
“Fr. Robert Reyes led the ‘Kalbaryo ng Maralita’ at the Leni-Kiko headquarters in Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City on Tuesday.”
Among those who commented claimed that the photographed Filipinos were worshipping Vice President Leni Robredo, a presidential bet in the 2022 elections.
“Kawawa naman si Lord, iba na ‘yung sinasamba, si LENI na,” a Facebook user wrote.
“All they do is praise Leni, not the Lord and Savior,” another online user wrote with a crying face emoji.
“Nanay niyo panginoon na HAHAHA,” a different Filipino commented, referring to Robredo who has once called herself the “mother of the country” in light of her position as the second highest official of the land.
“Masyado niyo (nang) iniidolo at sinasamba ang pink na lutang ina niyo!” wrote another critic.
Some users also questioned the use of pink ribbons on the palm leaves and the pink cloth on the cross.
“That pink ribbon on the palm leaves, it really leaves a bad taste. Though this thing will never let me waiver my faith as a Catholic, it definitely leaves me wondering if the self-proclaimed righteous leaders of the church in this country are on their right senses. Instead of letting them lead prayers for us, maybe it is time for us ordinary Catholics to lead praying for them,” a Facebook user said.
A different Filipino wondered about the incident and asked the Catholic Church to “explain” it.
“Nire-respeto ko ang Simbahang Katoliko pero paki-explain po ito,” he wrote with a thinking face emoji.
Majority of the claims are misleading and the viral post wherein some Facebook users have commented lacked context.
The “Kalbaryo ng Maralita” translates to “Cavalry of the Poor.”
The movement is an annual protest which uses the traditions and symbols of Holy Week to depict the everyday struggle of the urban poor for better lives.
Urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) holds the Lent-themed protest every year when they condemn anti-poor policies and social issues that Filipinos are currently facing.
Over 3,000 individuals from the urban poor sector also kicked off its staging of the “Kalbaryo ng Maralita” on Tuesday with the theme “Wakasan ang Kalbaryo ng mga Maralita, Iluklok ang Tunay na Pag-asa.”
It kicked off at the headquarters of the Leni-Kiko volunteer center on Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City and was led by Fr. Robert Reyes.
Reports say the particular calvary scene re-enacted this year depicts how the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ mirror the plight of the urban poor as they continuously struggle to liberate themselves from the scourge of poverty.
In 2015, the KADAMAY through its “Kalbaryo ng Maralita” also called for the resignation of late president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III where they decried his administration’s supposed subservience to foreign businesses, among others.
Why it matters
The Facebook post of the news outlet that elicited false claims on the comments section has been shared on Facebook 44,000 times. It has also garnered 34,000 reactions and 13,000 comments.
The news outlet’s page has 646,066 likes and 812,595 followers.
The post continues to earn comments from people who believe that the photographed Filipinos were supposedly praising Robredo and disrespecting the Catholic faith.
This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts.
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]
Interaksyon is also a founding partner of Tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 Philippine elections. It is an initiative of academe, civil society groups and media to counter disinformation and provide the public with verified information.