Several Facebook (FB) pages and groups shared a link to a blog that claimed President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos ordered the junking of the subpoena issued to suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag. This is not true.
The blog’s headline read:
“KAKAPASOK LANG BAGONG UTOS PRES MARCOS SUBPOENA BlNASURA GENERAL BANTAG SOJ REMULLA CATAPANG NANLUMO (JUST IN NEW ORDER PRES MARCOS SUBPOENA JUNKED GENERAL BANTAG SOJ REMULLA CATAPANG DISHEARTENED)”
The FB posts that shared the link to the blog first circulated on Nov. 19 and carried this caption:
“ITO NA! Subpoena na inilabas para kay Gen. Bantag pinababasura ni Pangulong BBM, Gen. Bantag nalalapit na Ang pagbabalik sa Bucor…Panoorin Nyo po to (THIS IS IT! President BBM wants the subpoena issued for Gen. Bantag junked. Bantag’s return to Bucor is near… Watch this).”
The blog embedded a Nov. 18 YouTube video and the thumbnail showed photos of Bantag, Marcos, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and BuCor officer-in-charge Gregorio Catapang Jr. It bore the claim:
“PBBM IBASURA NA ITO ANG MATINDING UTOS NG PANGULO (PBBM JUNK IT THIS IS THE INTENSE ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT).”
This is false. There are no official reports of Marcos junking the subpoena requiring Bantag to appear at the Nov. 23 and Dec. 5 preliminary investigations over the deaths of broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa and inmate Jun Villamor. The suspended BuCor chief was a no-show at the hearing on Wednesday.
The embedded video itself only discussed Bantag’s statement that he will not surrender until Remulla resigns as well as the subpoena issuance, netizens’ comments and clips from a YouTube channel supporting Bantag.
In a Nov. 10 interview, Marcos said Bantag’s suspension will remain in effect until his case is brought to court. Marcos has not said anything about the case since then.
Remulla said on Nov. 18 that he will formally ask Marcos to dismiss Bantag when he has the chance as it is not “very urgent to him” at the moment.
The false posts came out four days after the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued the subpoena. The document was personally received by Bantag’s lawyer on Nov. 21 at the DOJ in Manila.
Twenty-three FB groups like PRESIDENTE 2022 Philippines New (created on Oct. 18, 2021) and The Big 5 Supporters – Marcoleta, Defensor, Barzaga, Remulla & Bautista (June 28, 2020) spread the link. Fourteen FB pages such as Solid Duterte 2022 (Aug. 4, 2020) and DU30 Supporters International (July 27, 2017) also shared the link. The posts collectively garnered 706 interactions, according to the social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.
The embedded YouTube video by the previously fact-checked channel BANAT NEWS TV (Dec. 26, 2015) now has 131,644 views.