VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Jim Paredes, netizens share FAKE Bong Go quote on ABS-CBN franchise denial

Read this fact check in Filipino

At least one Facebook (FB) page and three netizens, including singer and vocal administration critic Jim Paredes, published a fake quote card that shows Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go saying media giant ABS-CBN should not have “hurt President Rodrigo Duterte’s feelings” if it did not want to get shut down.

The fabricated post surfaced two days after the committee on legislative franchises of the House of Representatives denied the network’s bid for a fresh 25-year franchise.

STATEMENT

Disputing the claim that the president supposedly did not have a hand in the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise, Paredes tweeted on July 12 a screenshot of a quote card allegedly published by Rappler. Superimposed on Go’s image was text that read:

Kung hindi ninyo sinaktan ang damdamin ng Pangulo, hindi sana kayo ipapasara (If you didn’t hurt the feelings of the President, you would not have been shut down). -Sen. Bong Go”

Source: @Jimparedes, “And they said the president…,” July 12, 2020.

Paredes’ tweet has garnered more than 2,600 retweets and 9,000 likes, with some of the netizens criticizing the “oversensitivity” of the president in the replies.

Two private FB users uploaded the same “Rappler” graphic a day earlier, which, collectively, has been shared over 600 times. The page No To Marcos Burial At Libingan NG MGA Bayani posted its copy on July 13.

FACT

Rappler published no such graphic. Similarly, no other news sources or official records show Go saying the statement attributed to him in the circulating quote card.

However, the senator has indeed mentioned the president’s “hurt feelings” in the past. During the Feb. 24 Senate hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise, the former special aide to the president said Duterte “was hurt and disrespected” by ABS-CBN’s airing of negative political ads about him back when he was running for the position in 2016.


A quote card that carried a similar but longer version of the fabricated statement was also debunked by VERA Files in May. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Bong Go quote on ABS-CBN shutdown FAKE)

A reverse image search revealed the image of Go was taken from Rappler’s August 2019 article on the House’s probe on Malasakit Centers, Go’s pet project when he was still Duterte’s aide. It did not carry a superimposed quote.

The fake graphic emerged after the House committee on legislative franchises denied ABS-CBN’s franchise bid on July 10 after more than a dozen congressional hearings, each lasting hours. There were 70 votes in favor of denying the renewal, 11 votes against, one abstention and two inhibitions.

The outcome of the hearings received widespread condemnation from journalists, human rights groups, the academe, and talents under the country’s largest media conglomerate.

On May 5, a day after the expiration of ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) served its first cease-and-desist order (CDO) against the network, stopping its broadcast operations on 42 television stations, 10 digital broadcast channels, 18 FM stations, and five AM stations. The non-renewal of the franchise affects 11,017 ABS-CBN employees. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: NTC backpedals on ABS-CBN franchise)

The NTC later issued two more CDOs on June 30 against ABS-CBN to halt the operations of its digital service under TV Plus in Metro Manila and Sky Direct’s satellite broadcast nationwide.

ABS-CBN has been at the receiving end of Duterte's tirades since 2017, when he first threatened to block the network's franchise renewal after accusing it of “swindling” him and other candidates during the 2016 presidential elections. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte’s past statements belie Roque’s claim that the president is ‘neutral’ on ABS-CBN issue)

Social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle recorded 24 FB posts by pages and public groups published from July 11 to July 13 sharing the fake photo, garnering a total of more than 2,900 interactions.

Top traffic generators for the doctored image came mostly from public FB groups Sen Trillanes for a Better Philippines, Pnoy Pa Rin Solid Supporters and Ang Lagalag.

No To Marcos Burial At Libingan NG MGA Bayani was created on June 23, 2013 and has a history of sharing a misleading post.


Editor's note: This fact sheet was produced by a student from the University of the Philippines Diliman who is doing his internship with VERA Files.


Sources

@ABSCBNNews, “NTC also directs ABS-CBN Corp. to immediately cease and desist from operating digital TV transmission in Metro Manila using Channel 43,” June 30, 2020.

ABS-CBN News, “Kapamilya stars nag-noise barrage kontra pagpatay sa ABS-CBN franchise,” July 13, 2020

ABS-CBN News, “NTC orders ABS-CBN to stop broadcasting,” May 5, 2020.

House of Representatives, “Comm on Legislative Franchises Joint with Comm on Good Government and Public Accountability Day 14,” July 10, 2020

Human Rights Watch Philippines, “Human Rights Watch reaction to denial by the Philippine Congress of franchise to ABSCBN, the country’s largest network,” July 10, 2020

Inquirer.net, “House panel closes down ABS-CBN,” July 10, 2020

InterAksyon, “Final verdict: House committee rejects ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal,” July 10, 2020

@Jimparedes, “And they said the president…,” July 12, 2020

Media Ownership Monitor Philippines, “ABS-CBN Corporation,” n.d.

Philstar.com, “House panel denies ABS-CBN franchise,” July 10, 2020

Rappler, “Asked to explain Malasakit Centers, Bong Go ridicules Lagman’s looks instead,” August 27, 2019

Rappler, “Senate hearing on ABS-CBN franchise,” Feb. 23, 2020

Rappler, “Bong Go: It's those anti-Duterte ads on ABS-CBN that got the boss’ goat,” Feb. 24, 2020

UP College of Mass Communication, “Today is a sad day for Philippine media,” July 10, 2020.


(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.)

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