Sarah Elago, Chel Diokno flag doctored social media posts

April 6, 2020 - 6:32 PM
This composite photo shows Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago attending the 2019 State of the Nation Address and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno during the 2019 national elections campaign. ( Leandicho and Facebook/Otso Diretso)

Rep. Sarah Elago (Kabataan Party-list) and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno disowned the social media posts bearing false statements attributed to them.

On Sunday, Elago asked her followers to report a page called Stop Lumad Killings after it claimed that she, along with other representatives of the Makabayan bloc, attended the anniversary of the New People’s Army on March 29. The post also attached a photo of Elago as alleged proof of the claim.

“Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago was allegedly spotted at the mountain of Barangay Puray, Rodriguez, Rizal on Sunday, 29 March 2020 – the 51st birthday of the New People’s Army (NPA) – supposedly to take refuge from the deadly COVID-19,” the post read.

However, Elago clarified that the photo was taken during the “symbolic trekking event” of a women’s rights organization called SheDecides Philippines on March 1. It was an opening event for the National Women’s Month.

“Kuha ang litrato sa symbolic trekking event ng SheDecides Philippines sa Mount Binutasan, Tanay, Rizal noong March 1, 2020 para sa unang araw ng National Women’s Month,” she said.

“Umakyat ako, kasama ng iba pang advocates, ng 577 meters above sea level, bilang suporta rin sa pagbibigay ng katumbas na donasyon na 577 hygiene kits sa mga apektado ng Taal Volcano eruption,” she added.

A cursory check of Interaksyon showed that the photos of the trip were posted on the official Facebook page of Kabataan and reposted by the page of SheDecides Philippines.

KANINA | Pagtungo ng Kabataan sa Mt. Binutasan, Rizal na inorganisa ng SheDecides at ng Trail AdvenTours. Layunin ng…

Posted by KABATAAN PARTYLIST on Saturday, February 29, 2020

Elago said that the “attacks” against the group heightened following her opposition on the passage of the Bayanihan We Heal as One Act which granted President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to allocate funds for the COVID-19 response in the country.

Since 2019, the Kabataan Partylist filed two petitions asking the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the purveyors of false information.

“I am neither CPP-NPA nor missing-in-action. Hindi po ako CPP-NPA o MIA. Tuloy ang trabaho para sa kalusugan, kabuhayan at karapatan sa gitna ng public health crisis!” she said.

‘Focus on people’s needs’

Diokno, meanwhile, shared a photo of a false statement circulating online juxtaposed to the one he originally posted on his social media account.

The doctored quote was a lengthy dare asking Duterte for a “duel” as the human rights lawyer’s supposed response to the former’s insults against him during the seventh national address last April 3, Friday.

Part of the fake quote that was highlighted read: “I, therefore, challenge you to a duel. Partida, isang bala lang ang laman ng baril ko. Siguarduhin mo lang na sisipot ka kasi may reputasion ka bilang isang napakayabang na duwag.”

Diokno’s actual response also posted in a similar social media quote card was: “Mr. President, may mga kliyente akong tinutulungan na tinitiis na ang sakit at gutom, ngunit wala akong sinabihang manggulo o lumabag ng batas. Okay lang na pag-initan n’yo ako, pero tutukan n’yo rin ang pangangailangan ng mga tao.”

The lawyer urged fake news purveyors to use their time to help the needy in this crisis instead.

“Sa mga gumawa nito, tigilan nyo na yan. Ang daming may sakit at nagugutom na dapat pang tulungan,” he said.

Duterte accused Diokno of leading a black propaganda against him. The president poked fun at the legal counsel’s appearance and called him a “lousy lawyer” during his latest address.

“Ito si Diokno magsalita parang janitor. At saka tumakbo ka ng senador, eh hindi kayo binoboto ng tao. Alam mo kung bakit? Pwede kitang biruin? Huwag kang magalit. Alam mo kung bakit hindi ka nanalo? Kasi kalaki ng ngipin mo. Magsalita kalahati ng panga mo lumalabas,” the president said.

While the lawyer had been vocal of his criticisms against the administration, the ire this time might have stemmed from Diokno’s expose that the NBI have filed subpoenas to individual citizens who air their concerns over the quarantine rules online.

The NBI later confirmed that a total of 17 subpoenas were issued against those who spread misinformation about the coronavirus situation.

Rampant fake social media posts

Last month, a number of media outlets and personalities were victimized by fake news purveyors through doctored social media posts.

The fake news purveyors are using the style of media outlets as well as their photos and logos to make it seem that their posts are legitimate.

Among the fake posts victims are GMA News, Philippine Star, Vice President Leni Robredo and Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, among others.

READ: Fake news alert: Purveyors now using news logos in false posts on COVID-19

This trend is also seen on several fake quotes from fictional characters portrayed by international personalities.

Among these are fake quotes attributed to Dr. Meredith Grey, head neurologist of Seattle Hospital and Annalise Keating, law professor at Middleton University allegedly supporting and praising Duterte.

These posts are fake as Grey and Keating are fictional characters from the television series Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder. The characters are portrayed by Ellen Pompeo and Viola Davis, respectively.

Here are other doctored social media posts circulating online:

Under the recently signed Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, those who spread “false information” on social media regarding the COVID-19 crisis will be penalized.