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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Story reporting Tagle leaving ‘sinful church of Manila’ for Vatican MISLEADING

It maliciously twisted the Philippine News Agency's headline.

Feb 25, 2020

VERA Files


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A reader asked VERA Files Fact Check to look into a story that claims former Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle left the “sinful church of Manila” to work in the Vatican. It’s misleading.

Website The Asian Policy (’s report was published with the false headline, “Tagle leaves ‘sinful church of Manila’ for Vatican,” but it was lifted word for word from a Feb. 10 Philippine News Agency report.

The Asian Policy spuriously twisted the state-run news agency’s headline, which originally read, “Manila archdiocese ‘sede vacante’ as Tagle leaves for the Vatican.” Sede vacante is Latin for “the seat being vacant.”

The website has previously been flagged by VERA Files Fact Check for producing misleading articles.

The Asian Policy has concealed the publishing date for all of its stories but social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle detected the misleading report begin to make the rounds on Feb. 11, two days after the senior churchman held his final mass as Manila archbishop before flying out to Rome. He was appointed by Pope Francis to head the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in the Vatican, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.

The inaccurate story also used as its thumbnail a Jan. 24 ABS-CBN photo of Tagle holding mass at Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila.

The article carrying the false headline could have reached over 990,000 people on Facebook (FB). Traffic to the story from social media largely came from FB page Duterte Today.

The Asian Policy was created in August 2016.

(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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