VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video saying actress Liza Soberano joined NPA is FALSE

A false Oct. 14 video by YouTube channel MAUI BECKER stating young actress Liza Soberano is a member of the New People’s Army (NPA), continues to attract viewers despite denials from the young actress' camp and even from a top military official.

The untrue claim is based on MAUI BECKER’s own conclusion after Soberano attended a webinar organized by Gabriela Youth, which it repeatedly described as a “communist front” of the NPA. To support its "communist front" claim, the YouTube channel read from an Oct. 13 Facebook (FB) post of Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, who said Gabriela Youth is a front of the NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and the National Democratic Front.

Soberano was a special guest of the women’s group’s Oct. 13 webinar celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child. Gabriela Youth is the youth arm of the larger Gabriela Women’s Party.

A week after the event, AFP Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade issued a statement on the FB page of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict saying Soberano was not an NPA.

His Oct. 20 statement, however, angered netizens, celebrities and several groups because he actually said Soberano was “not yet” an NPA but she “will suffer the same fate” as that of a youth activist killed in 2017 if she continues to support Gabriela.

On Oct. 22, Soberano’s management issued a statement from her lawyer Juanito Lim Jr. denouncing the actress’ red-tagging. Lim also said the Soberano “remains apolitical.”

A day after, even Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana chimed in after Parlade's comments caused a public backlash. "My thoughts about that is if there is no evidence, do not talk about it." He said he would ask for a meeting with Parlade and added: "Do not just accuse some of being a leftist, or being a member of the New People's Army. We should have evidence, otherwise just keep quiet."

MAUI BECKER’s thumbnail shows a manipulated collage of three photos.One is an image of Soberano that could be traced to a May 19, 2015 PEP.ph article. It was reversed, then manipulated to show the actress wearing a bandana with a hammer and sickle print, a known symbol of communism. Another was unrelated to Soberano nor the NPA, and instead was a screengrab of a video showing Canadian John Ridsdel, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipino Maritess Flor—hostages captured by the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf Group in 2015. A copy of the image can be found on terrorist-monitoring Twitter account, Terrormonitor.org.

The third photo showing NPA guerillas is a file photo taken on December 26, 2016 during the 48th anniversary celebration of the CPP in Davao, that was featured on Rappler and Tribune.net.ph.

MAUI BECKER was created in August 2012. Its misleading video has more than 53,000 views. According to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, it also has around 2,300 interactions on Facebook, and could have reached 355,000 people.

(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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