VERA FILES FACT CHECK: PIA official, FB pages FALSELY claim Angel Locsin paid GMA News

An undersecretary of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), as well as two Facebook (FB) pages, posted on April 23 a video and photos claiming actress Angel Locsin paid a member of GMA News to secure media coverage of her community pantry initiative. They got it all wrong.

In a statement issued the same day, the news network clarified: “Ang nasabing lalaki ay hindi po bahagi ng GMA News and Public Affairs coverage team. Siya po ay isang talent make-up artist ng isang programa ng GMA. Wala pong koneksyon ang GMA sa kanyang pagpunta sa lugar.” (That man is not a part of the GMA News and Public Affairs coverage team. He’s a talent make-up artist for one of GMA’s programs. GMA has nothing to do with his presence at the event).

The video uploaded by PIA Usec. Mon Cualoping showed Locsin receiving money from a female staff member wearing an olive green T-shirt and passing it to a man in a black T-shirt and denim pants who wore a lanyard bearing the name of GMA Network, Inc. FB page VOVph and MARK MY WORD by Mark Lopez posted screenshots of the video.

Locsin’s fiance, Neil Arce, in a post on FB, confirmed that the person whom the actress handed money to is a makeup artist of GMA.

The false claim emerged the day Locsin set up a community pantry to celebrate her birthday as a salute to other Filipinos who launched the same initiative. The event was eventually shut down by a huge crowd and the death of a senior citizen who lined up to receive aid.

The videos and photos uploaded on FB accumulated nearly 16,600 reactions, 4,900 comments, and 14,400 shares. A video uploaded by YouTube channel Robin Sweet Showbiz got 20,000 views and 1,300 FB interactions.

MARK MY WORD by Mark Lopez was created in May 2019, VOVph in June 2016, and Robin Sweet Showbiz in July 2017.

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