VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Trillanes DID NOT ask Pinoys to overthrow the government

Netizens have been sharing a fake statement attributed to former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte “created COVID-19 with China” and that the public should “overthrow the government.”

A cursory search showed no official records or reports from legitimate sources, including Trillanes’ verified social media accounts, that he made the pronouncement.

The former senator in fact refuted the fabricated quote in a June 28 Facebook (FB) post.

FB page Yellow Army carried the earliest copy of the fake Trillanes quote that was posted on June 24. The page used a photo of Trillanes taken by Rappler during a January 2019 senate hearing and superimposed the text: SI DUTERTE ANG GUMAWA NG COVID-19 KASAMA ANG CHINA. HINIHIKAYAT KO ANG LAHAT NA PABAGSAKIN ANG GOBYERNO (Duterte created COVID-19 with China. I urge everyone to overthrow the government).

The fake quote card made rounds on the web just a few hours after Trillanes, the president's foremost critic, said Duterte is responsible for the following: corruption in government, the failing economy, poverty, the high number of COVID-19 cases in the country, the absence of proper public transportation, and the Philippines’ swelling national debt.

It was the former senator's response to Duterte asking the public to “stop blaming each other” amid difficulties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yellow Army’s post has over 300 reactions, 300 comments, and 270 shares from netizens -- most of them believing the fabricated statement. Some called for Trillanes’ arrest, with a netizen even suggesting that what Trillanes supposedly said can be considered "sedition".

The post’s top traffic generators are public FB groups SARA DUTERTE FOR PRESIDENT 2022 ELECTIONS and Solid Duterte Supporters Worldwide.

Yellow Army was created in August 2018.

(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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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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