The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) allegedly published a pastoral letter asking the surviving family member of the Bulacan massacre to “forgive and forget” what the suspect did.
The source of the article, however, is dubious as it has published a several fake articles before, some of which we have busted. Pinoy Observer (pinoyobserver.com) claimed that CBCP president Archbishop Soc Villegas wrote a pastoral letter urging Dexter Carlos, the father, husband, and son-in-law of the massacre victims, as well as the Filipino people, to forgive and forget what the suspect, Carmelino Ibañez, did. The website claimed that the letter was being circulated to various Catholic priests. It added that the letter had Villegas saying the suspect might have a “valid reason” in committing the crime.
Pinoy Observer claimed that in the letter, Villegas asked the Carlos to “forgive the suspects and forget the sad moment.”
It even quoted Villegas saying the following in the letter:
“God has his own reason why he allowed Ibañez and his company to take the lives of the victims. God has also reason why he make Mr. Carlos suffer. Only God knows his own reason. The only thing we can do is to forgive and forget. Hurting Mr. Ibañez is another sin.”
The article further claimed that Villegas called the suspect the “innocent Ibañez” and urged the people to give the suspect an opportunity to defend himself.
The CBCP president was quoted saying: “Mr. Ibañez should be given chance to defend himself. Death penalty is not a solution. We cannot afford to lose another innocent soul.”
According to Facebook search results, the story, which was published last June 29, has since been shared over 22,000 times.
The story was also shared by various Facebook netizens and pages, such as Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Documents and Videos Compilation, Marcos Loyalist, Duterte Ang Pagbabago, BongBong Marcos United, and more.
Even the “Canadian political commenter” Amir Assadollahi also shared and weighed in on the story.
However, the source of the story, Pinoy Observer, is a website that is quite fond of publishing fake news. We’ve busted their fake stories, such as those about BBC anchor Stephen Sackur saying PH should elect more intelligent senators and an Oxford law professor saying that the ICC cannot prosecute Duterte because of his high approval ratings.
And there are many other fake articles on the website, which we can bust with the following:
- The World Boxing Organization (WBO) has not yet decided to review the Pacquiao-Horn fight. Reports instead said that the Philippines Games and Amusement Board (GAB) has asked the WBO to review the July 2 match.
- Jake Zyrus, formerly known as Charice Pempengco, is not waiting for a donor for a male reproductive organ. Reports said that he just underwent chest reconstruction surgery and is taking hormones to appear more male.
- Meme Buster did not copy any pro-Duterte content and profit from it. We are trying to counter misinformation. Even the article’s cited date when Meme Buster was created is wrong.
- There are no verifiable reports that Al Jazeera scheduled and cancelled their supposed interview with Senators Bam Aquino and Risa Hontiveros after Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s BBC interview. Google it and the first result to come up is that of Pinoy Observer.
We cannot find any other report about a CBCP pastoral letter urging the surviving family member of the Bulacan massacre victims to forgive and forget and calling the suspect “innocent.” It is likely another fake news from what is now turning to be a fake news site, Pinoy Observer, given its fondness for posting a lot of fake articles.
We also tried to search for any other website carrying the statements quoted by Pinoy Observer from the alleged CBCP pastoral letter, but we only found them being carried by the website itself a and another blog that copied its content from Pinoy Observer.
As for the website’s About Us page, one remark caught our attention as it said: “Pinoy Observer is created and should be consumed only by the most intelligent people on earth for the sake of maintaining our highest standard of customer satisfaction.”
Yes, the website’s readers really need to be “the most intelligent people on earth” to understand that Pinoy Observer publishes mostly fake articles and thus, should not be taken seriously.