VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Vergeire NOT appointed as new PNP chief

An image circulating on Facebook (FB) claims President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos named Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire as the new head of the Philippine National Police (PNP). 

This is false and seems to mock the recent appointment of a former police chief as health undersecretary.

The image appeared on Oct. 24 and features a “breaking news” graphic showing a July 20 photo of Vergeire taken from a news website. The text at the bottom of the graphic read: “BBM [Marcos] NAMES VERGEIRE AS NEW PNP CHIEF.”

A few FB posts that carried the false graphic stated it is satire, while several carried no disclaimer, and many believed it to be true.

There is no such appointment. The graphic is intended to ridicule and underscore the contradiction of having a medical doctor head the PNP after a retired police general was designated to run the DOH. 

The erroneous graphic appeared a day after the DOH confirmed to reporters the appointment of former PNP chief Camilo Cascolan, a co-architect of the bloody drug war that killed thousands of small-time drug suspects, as its new undersecretary.

Vergeire was designated as the DOH’s Officer-In-Charge on July 14 and was not offered  the post of health secretary under the new administration.

FB pages Sa Masa Tayo (created on Dec. 6, 2016) and Naloko Na (April 15, 2022) are among those that posted the satirical image. At least 10 other FB groups, pages and 60 users have spread the graphic, according to FB and social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, garnering over 1,200 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.)