VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Tagle DID NOT say church leaders ‘should govern PH’

A manipulated photo of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has gone viral on Facebook June 26, uploaded by Facebook page Social News Media.

The fake photo, which could have reached over 2.7 million people, was a screengrab from the June 23 episode of “The Word Exposed,” Tagle’s weekly television show. In the screengrab, a text was added, making it appear he was “quoted” as saying:

“Siguro mas makakabuti kung kaming mga taga simbahan ang mamuno ng Pilipinas. Kami ang nagdadala ng mensahe ng Diyos upang kayo ay iligtas sa kadiliman. Tulungan ninyo kami sa aming laban sa diktaduryang Duterte (Maybe it would be better for church leaders like us to govern the Philippines. We carry God’s message to save you from darkness. Help us in our fight against the Duterte dictatorship).”

The cardinal said no such thing, nor did he mention President Rodrigo Duterte in his TV homily. No legitimate news report or press statement has been issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on this matter.

Social News Media, which has been creating and sharing posts against critics of the current administration since October 2017, published the fake photo three days after Duterte made a controversial statement, saying “God is stupid” during a conference in Davao. It was also the same time members of the clergy urged Tagle to stand up against Duterte’s attacks on the Catholic Church.

The fake photo has been shared over 4,100 times in 13 hours.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)