VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Report claiming Tito Sotto is financier of NPA rebels FAKE NEWS

Three days after it published a report concerning Sen. Risa Hontiveros, which VERA Files found to be fake, website published on Nov. 25 another fabricated story: one claiming that a commander of rebel group New People's Army said Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III is one of their financiers.

The story bore the headline, "BREAKING NEWS: COMMANDER NG NPA SUMUKO AT SINABING ISA DIN SI TITO SOTTO SA FINANCIER NILA! (Breaking news: NPA commander surrenders and said Tito Sotto is also one of their financiers!).

It carried an 11-minute video that splices together a ten-minute clip lifted from the 19-minute June 17, 2017 Radio Television Malacanang footage of President Rodrigo Duterte speaking to reporters in Bancasi town, Basilan, with that of a 70-second clip of the supposed unnamed "NPA commander" talking with two men, asking Duterte to give him and his men freedom.

No claim about Sotto being a financier of the NPA was made - nor was he mentioned at all - in the 11-minute video, uploaded on Youtube by the channel News ThatMatter on Aug. 10, 2017.'s headline falsely changed News ThatMatter's original headline, "SUMUKO NA kay President DUTERTE! MATAAS na COMMANDER ng NPA! AYAW ng PALINLANG kay JOMA SISON! (Surrendered to President Duterte! High commander of the NPA! Doesn't want to be deceived by Joma Sison anymore!).'s fake story was published three days after the Philippine army said four NPA rebels in Ifugao province have surrendered following a clash with government troops the day earlier.'s fake news and News ThatMatter's false video could have reached over 1.7 million people. The pages MARCOS LOYALIST, BongBong Marcos United and Bong Bong Marcos Loyalist Group drew in the largest traffic to the story from social media. began publishing stories only last Nov. 22, three days before it published this fake report.

(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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About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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