VERA FILES FACT CHECK: No, Angel Locsin DOES NOT have COVID-19

Shortly after actress Angel Locsin revealed that she tested negative for COVID-19, a site with a history of publishing hoaxes posted a story claiming she tested positive after a “second test.” It’s fake.

The former Darna actress, who has been doing humanitarian work amid the ongoing pandemic, was reported to have posted April 25 an Instagram Story showing a photo of two test kits and the text, “Covid free," referring to her and her fiance.

There are no articles about Locsin taking a “second test”.

The spurious story was published by website randomnames.club, which has published at least two fake reports last March. Its headline for the sham Locsin report bore special characters and not just letters, ostensibly to evade detection: “Pagkatapos ng 1st Test Para Sa C0V|D19, Angel Locsin Nagpositibo sa Naturang Sakit sa 2nd Test Nito (After the 1st test for COVID-19, Angel Locsin turned out positive for the disease on her 2nd test).”

Its content is likewise deceptive, carrying an edited three-second clip from the March 6 episode of the GMA program Stand for Truth, where journalist Atom Araullo reported on “two new cases” of COVID-19 in the country. It replaced the show’s original inset of locals with a screengrab of Locsin playing a tuberculosis patient, taken from an October 2013 episode trailer of the ABS-CBN drama series Maalaala Mo Kaya.

Randomnames.club’s fabricated story bears the same elements VERA Files Fact Check has observed in other hoaxes: the video content that stops playing after three seconds, which then invites viewers to share it on Facebook (FB) to continue watching, the abundance of ads on the story’s landing page, and a deceitful publish date, which reads “Published Today” despite the passage of time.

A visit to the site's Home page also leads to an Error 404 page, while its About Us, Contact Us, and Privacy Policy tabs bear no useful information on the website’s origin, purpose, contact details, and privacy guidelines.

The hoax circulated the same time Locsin announced the success of her UniTENTweStandPH campaign, which has raised over P11 million to buy isolation and sanitation tents, personal protective equipment and other supplies for 135 hospitals nationwide tending to COVID-19 patients.

The fake Locsin story, which is circulating through various seeded links redirecting to one post, has received over 3,000 reactions on FB. Randomnames.club was created in September 2019.

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

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