VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Congressman NOT sending DOH, FDA chiefs to jail

A video with 1.3 million views claiming that SAGIP Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta will have Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Eric Domingo sent to prison over a theft conspiracy, is false.

The untrue video was uploaded on April 6 by YouTube channel Showbiz Fanaticz and Facebook (FB) page News PH Daily, with this false headline: “EXCLUSIVE: Cong. MARCOLETA, IPAKUKULONG sina DUQUE at DOMINGO Matapos ang SABWATAN ng PAGNANAKAW (Cong. Marcoleta to imprison Duque and Domingo over theft conspiracy)!”

To support the claim, the spurious video showed 10 minutes from a six-hour March 30 hearing of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Health about the country’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response. Nowhere in the clip did Marcoleta threaten to imprison Domingo or Duque. He did not mention a theft conspiracy between the two agency chiefs.

The video with the false claim showed Marcoleta interpellating Domingo during the hearing, where the congressman urged the FDA to process within two weeks an application by Dr. Allan Landrito for a license to legally trade drugs. Landrito is an advocate for the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment, and has claimed to have sold the drug to 8,000 patients since July 2020.

Contrary to the claim that Marcoleta threatened to imprison Duque, the lawmaker, in the last 90 seconds of the clip, thanked the health secretary for “opening the minds of many people.” He did not elaborate.

Showbiz Fanaticz’s video was published two days after radio personality Raffy Tulfo criticized Domingo and Duque over the non-recommendation of some drugs, including Ivermectin, to treat COVID-19.

Both the FDA and Department of Health, as well as the World Health Organization Representative to the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe have not endorsed the use of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 citing insufficient data from clinical trials supporting its efficacy. The United States’ FDA and the drug’s manufacturer Merck have also made no recommendations for the drug as a coronavirus treatment.

Showbiz Fanaticz’ erroneous video got more than 300,000 views and 6,700 FB interactions, while News Global PH’s upload got over a million views, 58,000 reactions, 9,600 comments, and 26,000 shares on FB. An embedded version on website News Global PH (newsglobalph.blogspot.com) got 10,800 FB interactions.

YouTube channel Showbiz Fanaticz was created in November 2017, FB page News PH Daily in September 2020, while website News Global PH started publishing content in February this year.

(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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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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