Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) host Lorraine Badoy claimed without basis that Jonathan De Santos, former editor of online news site Philstar.com, is an “urban operative” of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Reacting to an Aug. 26 news article in the Philippine Star about a group of lawmakers eyeing to file an impeachment complaint against Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio,” Badoy claimed in a Facebook post on the same day that:
“The other guilty party here is Jonathan de Santos – online editor of Philstar online. He, too, is an urban operative of the CPP NPA NDF.
Source: Lorraine Marie T. Badoy official Facebook account, They’re not lawmakers. What they really are are urban operatives of the terrorist CPP NPA NDF (archive), Aug. 26, 2023
The article in the Philippine Star–a broadsheet newspaper distinct from the online news site Philstar.com–said lawmakers belonging to the Makabayan bloc were looking into the possibility of filing an impeachment complaint against Duterte-Carpio for allegedly using P125-million confidential funds in 2022 without congressional authorization.
Badoy, a former undersecretary at the Presidential Communications Office and a spokesperson at the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, insinuated that De Santos was spreading the CPP-NPA-NDF propaganda through the Philippine Star article “to make it seem like [the] government is useless and corrupt.”
Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz, Badoy’s co-host on the SMNI show “Laban Kasama ang Bayan,” similarly claimed last May that De Santos was “active in the underground operations” of the CPP-NPA-NDF. (Read VERA FILES FACT CHECK: SMNI anchor makes BASELESS claims that PhilStar.com editor, NUJP were part of CPP-NPA-NDF)
In her Facebook post, Badoy also described Makabayan party-list lawmakers – Arlene Brosas of Gabriela, Raoul Manuel of Kabataan and France Castro of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers – as “not lawmakers [but] urban operatives of the terrorist” CPP-NPA-NDF.
De Santos, the incumbent chairperson of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, is not an “urban operative” of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
“I reject the accusation that I am an urban operative of the CPP NPA NDF,” De Santos told VERA Files Fact Check in an Aug. 29 private message.
De Santos, who resigned from Philstar.com in June, added that he had nothing to do with the Aug. 26 article in the Philippine Star. Although Philstar.com republished on its website the articles in the Philippine Star, De Santos said the 37-year-old newspaper Philippine Star is a “separate [media] entity” from Philstar.com, which was founded in 2000.
“I am also no longer an editor at Philstar.com. I resigned in June and my last day was July 24, so there is no basis to connect me to the story – which was a legitimate story, in any case – at all,” he said.
On Oct. 25, 2022, SMNI entered into a partnership with the Philippine Army to wage an “information war” against communist rebels and sympathizers. It soon followed a string of on-air red-tagging through Badoy and Celiz’s SMNI show “Laban Kasama ang Bayan.” (Read Philippine Army partners with SMNI media group in anti-communist campaign)
Last May 12, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expressed “grave alarm” after Celiz red-tagged De Santos and the NUJP during the May 3, 2023 episode of “Laban Kasama ang Bayan” that coincided with the observance of World Press Freedom Day. It was the second time the CHR raised concerns about the SMNI show. The first time was in October 2022 after Badoy and Celiz claimed that an LGBTQI leader was recruiting high school students in Iloilo for the CPP.
The CHR has warned that red-tagging may lead to “intimidation, violence, and unnecessary state surveillance, which directly impede journalists’ human rights, most notably their right to the freedom of opinion, expression and the press.”
Meanwhile, YouTube took down the original channels of SMNI and “Laban Kasama ang Bayan” on July 7 “for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.” SMNI owner Apollo Quiboloy has been wanted in the United States over human trafficking charges.
Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Fill out this reader request form or send it to VERA, the truth bot on Viber.
The Philippine Star official Facebook page, Duterte, on the other hand, welcomed an investigation into her office’s use of CF in 2022, Aug. 26, 2023
The Philippine Star (via Philstar.com website), Lawmakers eye impeachment case vs Vice President Sara, Aug. 26, 2023
Jonathan De Santos, Personal communication (Viber), Aug. 29, 2023
Philstar.com, About Philstar.com, accessed Aug. 29, 2023
The Philippine Star (via Philstar.com website), The beginnings of The Philippine STAR, July 28, 2011
ANC official YouTube channel, Gabriela Women’s Party-List rejects claims of alleged ties with New People’s Army, Oct. 24, 2020
Alliance of Concerned Teachers Party-list official Facebook page, Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro on the relentless terror-tagging of Makabayan lawmakers during the Senate hearing, Nov. 3, 2020
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raoul Manuel official Facebook account, To my friends, relatives, acquaintances, please take note of this. Do not red-tag me, …, Feb. 15, 2020
SMNI News official Facebook page, SMNI-Philippine Army Partnership, Oct. 25, 2022
Philippine Army official Facebook page, Army, SMNI sign deal on the media partnership, Oct. 25, 2022
SMNI News official website, SMNI, PHL Army nagsanib-pwersa para sa makatotohanan at patas na pagbabalita, Oct. 24, 2022
Commission on Human Rights, Statement of the Commission on Human Rights against the red-tagging of the NUJP-affiliated journalists in an SMNI program, May 12, 2023
Commission on Human Rights, Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the red-tagging of an LGBTQI leader on SMNI news program, Oct. 28, 2022
One News, YouTube Removes Other Channels Affiliated With Quiboloy, July 8, 2023
Philstar.com, Quiboloy-free: YouTube bans SMNI, KOJC channels, July 7, 2023
ABS-CBN News, YouTube takes down Quiboloy’s SMNI YouTube page, July 7, 2023
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation official website, APOLLO CARREON QUIBOLOY — FBI, accessed Aug. 29, 2023
SMNI News YouTube channel, @SonshineMediaSMNI, accessed Aug. 29, 2023
Laban Kasama ang Bayan YouTube channel, @LKAB2.0 accessed Aug. 29, 2023
(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)