VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Online posts claiming Bam Aquino taking credit for Balangiga bells' return FAKE NEWS

At least two fake online posts are circulating on social media portraying Sen. Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino as a “credit-grabber.”

The first is a Dec. 11 article on website insiderph.com which bore the headline:

"Bam Aquino: 'Partly, I did something for the Balangiga Bells.'"

The fabricated report, which carried grammatical errors, said the opposition senator gave no reply when asked about his supposed contribution to the bells’ return during a "senate interview".

The same day, Facebook page The Filipino News posted a photo that purported to have come from the "Office of Senator Bam Aquino." It showed an image of the senator juxtaposed with the statement:

"Sa wakas! Balangiga Bells naibalik na (Finally! The Balanginga Bells have been returned)!"

There have been no official statements, press releases nor reports from mainstream media that reflect insiderph.com's claim. Likewise, neither Aquino's Facebook page nor his website has published the photo being shared by The Filipino News.

In a text message to VERA Files, the senator's office also debunked the online posts' claims.

"We have not released any statement or comment on this issue, nor has he been asked about it in an interview," it said.

The fake post was published the same day the historic Balangiga Bells were returned to the country 117 years after the U.S. Army took them as war booty from a church in Eastern Samar in 1901 during the Philippine-American War.

Traffic to the fake news largely came from the pages Showbiz Government, Bayan Ko Ph, PRESIDENT RODY DUTERTE SUPPORTERS INTERNATIONAL, and The Filipino News, and could have reached more than one million people.

Insiderph.com was created on Sept. 21; The Filipino News in October 2011.


(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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