VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Report claiming Comelec, Smartmatic behind Santillan slay MISLEADING

A manipulated online report misleadingly claims that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic orchestrated the Dec. 10 police operation that killed Gessmayn Casing and Richard Santillan, security aide of ex-Biliran Rep. Glenn Chong.

The report could already have reached more than 600,000 people on Facebook. Its biggest traffic generator is a Facebook page affiliated with Greco Belgica, commissioner of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.’s story is misleading.

The article, posted Dec. 13, is a mere copy of a Dec. 12 Abante report originally headlined:

“Comelec, Smartmatic tandem sa pagtumba sa aide ko (in taking down my aide) — Chong ” altered several paragraphs and changed the headline to:

“Comelec and Smartmatic, tandem sa pagtumba sa (in taking down the) security aide ni (of) Atty. Glenn Chong”.

Unlike the Abante report, wrote its headline as a statement of fact, failing to clearly state that it was Chong who made the accusation.

It also carried an edited thumbnail that juxtaposed a selfie of Santillan swiped from Chong’s official Facebook account and an photo of the car Santillan and Casing were riding during the fatal encounter with the police. The images were overlaid with the logos of Comelec and Smartmatic.

Chong has previously accused the Comelec and election technology provider Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. of poll fraud in the 2016 automated elections.

The misleading article was posted the same day two top officials and at least 10 officers of the Rizal provincial and Cainta municipal police offices were relieved from their posts following the alleged shootout that killed Santillan and Casing.

Police claim the two were involved in carnapping and illegal drug activities. Chong says the operation was a set up and the police “tortured and executed” Santillan based on an autopsy report. is only three-months old, having been created in September.

(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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