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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Tulfo NOT removed as senator

Sen. Raffy Tulfo has been expelled from the Senate under the order of President Ferdinand Marcos.

YouTube channel PINAS BALITA TV 2024-02-10 False

This is not true. The president does not have the power to expel an elected lawmaker from Congress.

A YouTube video is erroneously claiming that Sen. Raffy Tulfo has been expelled from the Senate under the order of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. This is not true. The chief executive has no authority to remove an elected official from office.

The video was published on Feb. 10 and continues to circulate. Its headline contained misspelled words in an attempt to evade keyword detection. It read:

MATINDI TO SEN RAFFY TULFO NAMUTLA DI NAKA LIGTAS sa MATNDING UT0S ni PRES MARCOS TANGALIN sa PWEST0

(This is serious! Sen. Raffy Tulfo went pale, not safe from the drastic order of President Marcos, removed from his position)”

On the video’s thumbnail, the following text is superimposed above a photo of Marcos shown to be holding a piece of paper that is implied to be the aforementioned order:

“PINATAL-SIK (sic) SA SENADO. ITO ANG BANGUNGOT SA BUHAY NI SEN TULFO (Expelled from the Senate, this is a nightmare in Sen. Tulfo’s life)”

The claim is false. The president has no authority to expel an elected lawmaker.

According to Article VI, Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution,  lawmakers from both chambers of Congress can only be expelled “with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its Members.” No senator has sought the removal of Tulfo from his position.

There was no mention of the headline’s claim in the video. Instead, the video narrator criticized Tulfo for “going silent” on the lottery fraud allegations against the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

The video emerged a week after the PCSO submitted to the Senate  the list of lotto winners from July 2023 to January this year amid the investigation into the alleged manipulation in PCSO games. The inquiry is being conducted by the Senate Committee on Games and Amusement chaired by Tulfo.

YouTube channel PINAS BALITA TV (created on March 22, 2022) published the video, garnering over 134,000 views and 3,000 interactions.

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