VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Rehashed report makes FALSE claims about rifles purchased during Aquino admin

A rehashed report making rounds on social media contains fabricated information about rifles purchased during the term of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Reshared June 5 and Aug. 3 by several Facebook pages, the March 13 report by website The News Gear bore the sensational headline, "EXPOSED: Aquino purchased P1.9 Billion worth of useless and defective rifles?"

It used as source a Nov. 22, 2017 Facebook post of a certain Eric Clark Su, who claimed former broadcaster Jay Sonza, after allegedly speaking with "friends from the Department of National Defense," said:

  • almost 61,000 M4 rifles bought "days after" Aquino became president were "dumped somewhere, useless because they are all defective"
  • President Rodrigo Duterte "gave Remington, the manufacturer of the guns, three months to repair the defective firearms"

No legitimate media organization reported these supposed incidents.

What were reported in the media, however, do not correspond to the claims made by The News Gear.

Defective M4 rifles with unstable rear sights had indeed been procured under Aquino's term, but the number of guns was 44,186 and not 61,000. United States-based manufacturer Remington Outdoor Company won the bidding for the rifle contract in October 2013, more than three years after Aquino took office.

The rifles by themselves were not worth P1.9 billion. Rather, it is the Joint Philippine Army-Philippine Marine Corps Assault Rifle Acquisition Project, under which the rifles were procured, that is worth an estimated P1.9 billion.

The defective rifles were also not "dumped somewhere" nor ordered repaired by Duterte.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines during Aquino’s term, not Duterte’s, sent the rifles back to Remington to correct the defect.

The AFP got back all 44,186 repaired rifles in August 2015.

The News Gear's false story, which could have reached more than 110,000 people, was revived two days after the 9th death anniversary of Aquino's mother, former President Corazon Aquino.

Traffic was largely generated from social media by the website's official Facebook page and News Twerk. The News Gear was created May 17.

(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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