VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Netizens fall for SATIRE on Tulfo plan to fly chopper without training


A satirical post on Facebook (FB) with senator-elect Rafael “Raffy” Tulfo supposedly saying that should the need arise, he will pilot a helicopter even without flight training and know-how, is gaining traction and misleading netizens into believing the statement.

The FB post, which appeared on May 22, had this text superimposed on the graphic: “RAFFY TULFO PLANS TO PILOT HELICOPTER EVEN IF HE DOES NOT KNOW HOW”.

In the caption accompanying the post Tulfo allegedly said he did not need to rely on properly trained pilots because he could fly himself using a manual. Then he was quoted as saying, “Those pilots have been serving the country for many years pero wala namang nagbago sa Pilipinas (but still nothing has changed in the Philippines), so it’s about time I give it a shot.”

The post clearly bears the label “satire only,” and appears on the satirical FB page Philippine Daily Sun (created on Jan. 19, 2022). On its About page, Philippine Daily Sun carries the tagline “the Nation’s Greatest News Source. Fake news you can trust.”

Tulfo never made such a statement in any interview, speech or write-up on the broadcaster-turned-politician. Neither have legitimate news organizations reported on Tulfo speaking with contempt about helicopter pilots.

But based on comments in the post, some netizens took the satirical post as fact and criticized him for such an irresponsible declaration. “Dangerous! It’s not a car you can park aside when you stalled learning (sic) a manual,” one commenter said.

A few days before the satire piece appeared, Tulfo announced his plan to take up a course in public administration in preparation for his stint in the Senate, saying he “still needs to learn,” although the senator-elect claims to have 25 years of experience listening to societal problems that can be addressed and avoided with the enactment of laws.

The Philippine Daily Sun satire post has garnered more than 29,000 reactions, 900 comments, and 2,900 shares since it was posted.

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