The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) allegedly condemned the “brutal killing” of terrorists Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon.
At least, this is what several blogs claimed to be the CBCP’s reaction. The story was even widely shared on Facebook as it was picked up by newslogph.com, dutertelegacy.com, and newsphil.info, although it was first published by the fake news site okd2.com.
Okd2.com made up an elaborate story about how CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas said that it would have been better if the photos of the two dead terrorists were not shown to the public.
He was even quoted making these statements:
“Sana man lang binigyan nila ng konting respeto yong bangkay ng tao. Binaril e sa ulo pa, pwede namang sa katawan para ma-minimize ang damage.”
“Dinedeny ng Presidente natin na walang EJK, pero itong nagyari sa dalawang kap[atid nating muslim, ito ang pinakamatibay na ebidensya na walang awing pumapatay ng tao ang mga alagad ng gobyerno.”
It is true that Maute and Hapilon were dead and some news reports carried blurred photos showing the terrorists’ cadavers. However, it was not true that Villegas commented on the “brutal killing” of the two men, nor did he say that the terrorist leaders’ death proved that there was indeed EJK in the Philippines. Archbishop Villegas did not make the statements that were quoted by okd2.com in its story. As with most of its stories, this one was made up and was classified under “Humor & Satire.”
OKd2’s Facebook page also shared the story on October 16.
On top of that, the story was shared by some netizens to various Facebook groups and by other Facebook pages with quite a sizeable following, such as President Rody Duterte-Federal Movement in International, Rodrigo Duterte Supporters, United Cordillerans Supporting BBM, Taho News, Duterte Administration, and Meanwhile in the Philippines.
The story claiming that the CBCP condemned the brutal way that Maute and Hapilon were killed was categorized as satire by OKd2. However, as the story was picked up by other blogs, the disclaimer that the story was satire was no longer included, further misleading the netizens.
The netizens, as expected, did not hold back from lambasting the CBCP and Archbishop Villegas.
Aside from OKd2 claiming that the story is just one of its satirical stories, the CBCP’s real reaction to the death of the terrorist leaders was different, even calling it as a “victory” for those who want peace and order.
Bishop Edwin dela Peña expressed hope and relief that the terrorists’ death will finally put a stop to the fighting in Marawi City, while Ozamiz Archbishop Martin Jumoad called their death a “victory for peace and order in our society and shows those with evil plans that “many good people will oppose them.”
Fr. Jerome Secillano, CBCP’s executive secretary of the Committee on Public Affairs, said that the death of the terrorist leaders will not guarantee the end to extremism.
“Education, employment, poverty eradication and infrastructure development should only be some of the measures that this government should undertake if only to dismantle or at least weaken the influence of terrorist cells,” Fr. Secillano said.