VERA FILES FACT CHECK: FB post red-tags Angel Locsin with UNSUPPORTED claims

A Facebook (FB) page that has a history of red-tagging made baseless claims linking actress Angel Locsin to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

FB page Enlightened Youth’s unfounded June 28 post claimed two things: that Locsin went to the Netherlands to “get money” from CPP founder Jose Maria Sison “during the last elections,” and that she had a sibling who was a CPP-NPA member that died in a clash.

No news reports support either of these claims. A look at social media posts of the actress does not place her in Europe during the May 2019 polls, and her brother and sister are both alive. The two are in fact active social media users. Her sister Ella was among Kabataan Partylist’s nominees for the 2007 elections.

The page also used irrelevant, out of context and photoshopped images to insinuate that the actress was a rebel sympathizer.

‘Europe’ trip during polls unsupported

The post claimed the actress met with Sison in the European country “with the support of her uncle and his groups.”

While Enlightened Youth did not mention who her “uncle” was, it uploaded five photos, three of which show her campaigning during the 2016 elections with former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.

One image was an October 2015 Rappler photo of the actress accompanying Colmenares in filing his certificate of candidacy. The other image, uploaded twice, was grabbed from a now-unavailable tweet by an ABS-CBN News Channel reporter during the same event, a copy of which can be found on online forum PinoyExchange.

Locsin is actually the aunt of Colmenares, not the other way around.

A look at the actress’ social media accounts showed she went to Belgium in June 2019 for an ABS-CBN event and Rome the following November, but no online post nor news report placed her in Europe during the May 2019 senatorial polls.

During the election campaign period, Locsin’s social media posts showed her in Baguio promoting her drama “The General’s Daughter” in March, while an Instagram post showed her and her fiance Neil Arce hiking in Bukidnon in April.

Photos stitched together to mislead

Apart from the photos with Colmenares, Enlightened Youth uploaded two images insinuating Locsin’s “connections” with the Left, showing a photo of her in a mountainous area and another photo featuring Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago, activist Satur Ocampo and several others, also in a mountainous area.

The first image was grabbed from Locsin’s June 25 Instagram post showing her doing preliminary research for her new ABS-CBN show “Iba ‘Yan.”

The photo showing Elago was over two years old, and unrelated to the actress. Its earliest copy online could be traced to website Arkibong Bayan PH and was taken in April 2018 during a fact-finding mission organized by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in Bukidnon.

However, Enlightened Youth’s version of the photo edited a hammer and sickle, the universal symbol of communism, onto Elago’s bandana and superimposed a similar bandana to Ocampo’s head.

Five days after publishing its unfounded post, Enlightened Youth has provided no evidence to support its claims, despite promising an “update” in the comments section and saying it “was not its job” to spread rumors.

Enlightened Youth’s unsupported post, which has been shared over 1,300 times, surfaced about three weeks after Locsin cried foul over Senate President Vicente Sotto III liking a tweet that said she was “pro-NPA since day 1.”

Enlightened Youth was created on May 18, 2019.

(This fact check was produced by a student from the University of the Philippines Diliman who is doing his internship with VERA Files.)

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