​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Post about CHR ‘statement’ on rights of teen slay suspects MISLEADING

An online post claiming the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) “reminded” the Philippine National Police (PNP) to “respect the human rights” of the suspects in the killing of a 16-year-old girl in Cebu is misleading. The Facebook post was made nearly two months ago and continues to mislead readers.

On March 13, netizen Leo Lauron, a self-proclaimed Duterte supporter, posted on his Facebook page a set of three photos: the first was of CHR Chair Chito Gascon speaking into a microphone, followed by two screenshots of purported news reports on the killing by website pinoytrend.net and blog The Most Popular Lists.

Lauron’s post carried the caption:

“LATEST NEWS UPDATE:JUST IN: nagpaalala ang CHR sa PNP na e respesto (sic) ang karapatang pantao ng tatlong adik na gumahasa at pumatay sa dalagita sa cebu.. Ganun pa man, sa hinding magandang pangyayari, kinundina ng CHR ang brutal na pagpaslang sa inocenting dalagita. Respect the Rights of the criminals ayon sa CHR..

kayo na po bahala humusga..

(JUST IN: the CHR reminded PNP to respect the human rights of the three [drug] addicts that raped and killed that teenage girl in cebu.. That said, in an unfortunate event, the CHR [also] condemned the brutal killing of the innocent teenage girl. Respect the Rights of the criminals[,] said the CHR..you be the judge..)


The post is misleading on multiple levels.

The Gascon photo was actually taken by Agence France-Presse photographer Noel Calis in November 2017 during an Integrated Bar of the Philippines forum.

No official source or legitimate news organization has reported that Gascon had personally or publicly spoken about the case. The CHR, however, already issued a statement condemning the killing.

The March 12 pinoytrend.net article featured in the post misleads by twisting and inaccurately paraphrasing a Cebu Daily News story, and merely supplemented it with bits of an Abante report.

For instance, the original headline “CHR-7: In pursuit of Lapu teen slay suspects, human rights must still be upheld” was changed to “CHR reminds PNP: You should still respect the human rights of the suspect behind the Christine Silawan slay”.

A March 12 post by Most Popular Lists copied the exact same content of the pinoytrending.net article but further twisted the headline to read “CHR Defends Human Rights of M-uder (sic) Suspect of Church Collector Slay.”

The second “news” report on Lauron’s post was another March 12 article by Most Popular Lists entitled “Church Collector M-urder (sic): Police in Pursuit of 3 Suspected Drug Addicts.” It falsely claimed to contain “new information” on the case when in fact it merely spliced together an Inquirer.net and Cebu Daily News report, both published a day before.

Lauron’s post, which has at least 69,000 shares on Facebook, was one of many on social media that criticized the CHR’s supposed “absence” in the wake of the brutal killing of teenager Christine Silawan in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu on March 11.

In response, the agency on March 14 published a video and infographic on its Facebook page to clarify the CHR’s mandate and stance on the issue.

Pinoytrend.net’s misleading article could have reached over 2.88 million people. Its top traffic generators include Facebook pages Unofficial: Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa Solid Supporters, Pinoy Trending and Duterte Bato.

Meanwhile, Most Popular Lists’ post could have reached about 410,200 people. Its top traffic generators include Facebook pages Thinking Minds and Duterte Speaks.

Pinoytrending.net was created on April 29, 2018; Most Popular Lists earliest archived post was in January 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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