VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Bam Aquino DID NOT say Duterte made many Filipinos poor

Pinoy Balita ( published June 5 a false story that claims that Sen. Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino is blaming President Rodrigo Duterte for the many Filipinos "now living in poverty."

The story, which bore the headline "Si Duterte Talaga Ang Dahilan Kung Bakit Maraming Naghihirap Na Pilipino ngayon (Duterte is the real reason why many Filipinos are now living in poverty)," carried a pirated 30-minute June 4 The Source episode of CNN Philippines with Aquino as guest.

The senator, who was being interviewed about his proposal to suspend excise tax on petroleum products, did not at all point his fingers at Duterte for "causing" poverty. Rather, Aquino said addressing the inflation caused by the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law lay more in the hands of lawmakers.

"I think it's really up to us, it's really up to the Senate and Congress to pass this law, it's up to the Senate and Congress to correct whatever mistakes we did at the TRAIN Law, and I'm hoping Malacanang can support," Aquino said, commenting on Duterte's statement that he is leaving the TRAIN Law amendments to Congress.

The story, which could have reached more than 687,000 people, followed comments by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno in a forum May 30 that Filipinos should be "less of a crybaby" when complaining about rising fuel prices. The higher excise tax on fuel, cars, tobacco and sugar-sweetened beverages is part of the tax reform law, which also reduces income tax rates and exempts the lowest income bracket from tax payment.

in five years.

The story's biggest traffic generators on social media are Marcos Loyalist and President Rody Duterte Facebook Army. Pinoy Balita has been publishing stories since June 3; Youtube channel Duterte News Live Stream, which uploaded the CNN episode, was created in September 2012.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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