VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video uses UNPROVEN Panelo claim on ABS-CBN protesters having COVID-19

A viral video claiming that all those who took part in a noise barrage last month in support of ABS-CBN Corp. have contracted COVID-19 has no basis. Its headline implicating actress Angel Locsin in the alleged spread of the virus at the rally is misleading.

MATINDING PARUSA KAY ANGEL LOCSIN POSSIBLY HARAPIN DAHIL LAHAT DUMALO SA RALLY NIYA NAGKA CO-VID (Angel Locsin faces possible serious punishment as those who joined her rally got infected by COVID-19)?" is the headline of the video uploaded July 21 by YouTube channel PH – EU.

The five-minute footage is composed of two spliced clips. The first is a July 18 video of Locsin calling out fellow celebrities for staying silent on the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise during a noise barrage in front of the media network’s Quezon City studios. The video, which shows participants wearing face masks but not observing physical distancing rules, was swiped from ABS-CBN News social media editor Erik Tenedero’s Twitter account.

The second clip is a July 20 video of Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo where he claimed to have received “many text messages” that those who attended the ABS-CBN noise barrage were infected with the coronavirus. Panelo’s programme called “Counterpoint” aired live on Facebook (FB), less than 48 hours after the protest activity outside ABS-CBN in the eveing of July 18.

No evidence of how the attendees were confirmed to be positive was mentioned in PH-EU’s video. Even Panelo's statement that the participants tested positive for the infectious disease was not substantiated in his hour-long programme.

There have been no news reports on COVID-19 infections linked to the activity at the media network's grounds more than two weeks ago.

According to the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Control, symptoms of COVID-19 may begin to show five to six days, on average, after exposure to the virus.

PH – EU’s video was reposted on the website kidstva.com, a site with a history of reposting disinformation.

Kidstva.com could have reached 700,000 people, with the traffic mostly coming from Facebook (FB) page Philippines trending news and FB groups ISUMBONG MO KAY TATAY DIGONG and Tatay Digong Supporters.

Meanwhile, YouTube channel PH - EU’s video has been viewed over 171,000 times and has gained more than 4,000 FB interactions and could have reached over 300,000 people, based on social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

(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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