VERA FILES FACT CHECK: AFP is NOT court-martialing Legarda

A video falsely claims that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) wants to punish Sen. Loren Legarda for allegedly defending communist groups.

In a Sept. 4 video by the Facebook page Duterte Info News about “the skeletons in Legarda’s closet,” a narrator said: 

Nais din ng Armed Forces of the Philippines na tanggalin si Legarda at patawan ng karampatang parusa bilang isang reserve officer dahil sa malaking violation nito sa batas at maaaring isailalim pa ito sa court martial.”

(The AFP wants to remove Legarda and mete out the punishment for her as a reserve officer for severely violating the law, and she might even undergo court martial.)

The 20-minute video, which tackled several issues related to communism, is wrong on this point. The AFP has not declared that the senator will be punished or court-martialed. Neither did they revoke her rank in the Philippine Air Force Reserve, where she is a colonel.

The misleading video appeared five days after Legarda said in her Aug. 30 Senate speech that she is not ashamed of having worked with the communist-aligned National Democratic Front in previous peace talks.

Lt. Col. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, AFP’s chief of staff, also said during a Sept. 1 media interview there was no problem with this. He clarified that only when one becomes involved in armed struggle does it become an issue for the AFP.

The FB post by Duterte Info News (created on Aug. 28) garnered over 269,200 interactions. Its original version, posted by YouTube channel PINAS INSIDER (created on Sept. 6, 2016), was already taken down as of posting.

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