VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Report claiming Sotto 'feeling burdened' by Trillanes' stay at Senate MISLEADS with inaccurate headline

A story published Sept. 11 by website The Daily Sentry (thedailysentry.net) claiming Senate President Vicente Sotto III is now "feeling the burden" of the expenses brought about by the continued stay of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV at the Senate building is misleading.

The Daily Sentry, sourcing its story from a report by tabloid Remate that day, fails to state in its headline that the claim was made only by Sen. Cynthia Villar.

The misleading story carried the headline, "Gastos sa pananatili ni Trillanes sa Senado, iniinda na ni Sotto (Expenses of Trillanes' stay at Senate, being felt by Sotto)," while Remate's headline was, "Security expenses sa pananatili ni Trillanes sa Senado, iniinda na ni Sotto – Villar (Security expenses of Trillanes' stay at the Senate, being felt by Sotto – Villar)."

In both reports, Villar was quoted saying: “Nabanggit ni Senate President Sotto na kailangan magdagdag ng duty ang mga tauhan ng OSAA [Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms] na magbabantay sa Senado matapos manindigan kami na hindi maaaring arestuhin si Trillanes sa loob ng Senado.

(Senate President Sotto mentioned there was a need for the OSAA [Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms] guarding the Senate to add more staff after we took a stand that Trillanes may not be arrested while inside the Senate.)"

Remate also claimed Villar said Sotto was "feeling the burden" of the extra expense for OSAA staff, but did not provide a direct quote from the senator. No other mainstream media reported on Villar's supposed claim.

The misleading story was published a week after Trillanes said Sept. 4 he would stay within the Senate's premises following statements from Malacanang and information from the military about his impending arrest. That same day, The Manila Times published President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation No. 572, revoking the amnesty Trillanes was granted in 2010 for his participation in previous coups against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Section 11, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution gives senators "privilege from arrest" while Congress is in session.

The misleading story could have reached over 1.3 million people. Social media traffic to the story largely came from the pages The Filipino News, The News Wire and News Punch Update.

The Daily Sentry was created Jan. 10.

(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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