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Website PhilTrends recycled and passed off as new a six-month-old report where Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison called on President Rodrigo Duterte to resign due to health issues.
The article, published on May 3, was a translated and slightly rearranged version of a November 2019 Inquirer.net story. The site dubiously passed it off as breaking news, bearing the headline, “JUST IN! JOMA SISON HINILING KAY PANGULONG DUTERTE NA ISUKO ANG PWESTO KAY ROBREDO! (Just in! Joma Sison asks President Duterte to yield his position to Robredo).”
Inquirer.net’s original report was published after Sison, in a Nov. 11, 2019 post on his personal Facebook (FB) account, called on Duterte to yield his position to Vice President Leni Robredo following the Palace’s announcement that the chief executive will take a three-day rest from his “punishing schedule.”
PhilTrends’ misleading report surfaced six days after Duterte’s April 27 Talk to the People address, where he said there will be “no more peace talks” with the CPP because the group and its militant arm, the New People’s Army, have “no respect either for their spoken words or in their deeds of killing soldiers.”
A look at PhilTrends’ website also raises red flags on its legitimacy and credibility. It lacks an About page and Contact Us page, while its social media buttons only lead to the home page of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google, and the story, when opened, is filled with advertisements.
FB pages ATTY. PERSIDA ACOSTA - PAO CHIEF FOR SENATOR MOVEMENT - SUPPORTERS GROUP!, PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT, and Dugong Bayani Pinoy ako DU30 Online Warriors generated the most traffic to PhilTrends’ misleading article, potentially reaching over 5.5 million people.
ATTY. PERSIDA ACOSTA - PAO CHIEF FOR SENATOR MOVEMENT - SUPPORTERS GROUP!, PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT, and Dugong Bayani Pinoy ako DU30 Online Warriors were created in August 2012, August 2019, and October 2018, respectively. PhilTrends has been publishing stories since December 2019.