VERA FILES FACT CHECK: MISLEADING online post on priest saying boxing ‘can’t pull country out of crisis’ revived

Around the same time Sen. Manny Pacquiao won against Keith Thurman in the United States, an old, misleading online post resurfaced where activist priest Fr. Robert Reyes had commented that boxing is not a solution to the country’s problems.

The post, published by Facebook page Absolute Trends and News, carried a 2014 Getty Images photo of Pacquiao after a match with American boxer Timothy Bradley, spliced together with a 2012 Rappler photo of the clergyman.

It also bore the text, “Father Robert Reyes reacts on the love of Filipinos in boxing: ‘Hindi maiaahon sa krisis ang bansa ng boksing (Boxing can’t pull the country out of crisis),’” and asked what Reyes’ “priesthood” has done for the country. While defending the senator by vaguely enumerating what Pacquiao has supposedly done for the poor, the page raised issues of clergy sexual abuse.

The opinion-heavy post is misleading: it is more than a year old, published on July 21, 2018. Reyes’ boxing statement, on the other hand, is the title of his opinion piece published on July 17, 2018 by Bulgar.

The resurfaced post tends to mislead netizens as it is now being re-shared a few days after Pacquiao won his 62nd match last July 21 (Manila time), defeating American Keith Thurman for the World Boxing Association’s welterweight title.

Reyes’ column, published after Pacquiao won his battle with Argentinian boxer Lucas Matthysse, merely points out how, at the time, the country becomes so “focused” and dedicated whenever Pacquiao has a fight, which always falls on Sundays. The priest asks in his column whether Filipinos can return Sundays to being the religious day of Sabbath, or “the day of the Lord.”

The misleading post could have reached over 1.5 million people, with traffic to the story largely coming from the pages SARA DUTERTE FOR PRESIDENT 2022 ELECTIONS, MARCOS LOYALIST, and Tulfo Brothers Worldwide.

Absolute Trends and News was created on Jan. 7, 2014.