Facebook page Juan de la Cruz posted a screenshot of columnist Carmen Pedrosa sharing a fake article about Senator Leila de Lima supposedly buying a mansion in New York. The page also called Pedrosa a “gullible columnist.”
In a Facebook post that she apparently deleted, Pedrosa shared an article entitled “PHOTO: De Lima Buys $6 million Mansion in New York | Government to probe source of funds.” The article was from a website called USA-Television.com and was shared by a Facebook page called The T1mes (definitely not associated with Time Magazine or Washington Times).
We checked out the USA-Television article to find out more about the article’s claims regarding de Lima’s alleged new mansion. The house is supposedly located at “895 Shore Rd, Bronx, NY 10464 United States” and was claimed to have been paid for in February 2016. The payment was said to have been sent through a “Manila-based factory,” The article also added a tidbit about de Lima’s bank transactions, claiming to have amounted to more than $6 million dollars.
According to the article, the New York mansion will be investigated, noting the recent House committee probe into the drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison, with some inmates accusing de Lima of being involved with drugs.
But some eagle-eyed netizens have pointed out the fact that the address stated in the article was the location of a museum.
The address of what was supposedly de Lima’s New York apartment was actually that of the historic Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum. That is definitely property that not just anybody can buy.
We checked the website USA-Television and found out that it has shared several fake articles before. These include articles about de Lima getting arrested after attempting to commit suicide, de Lima confirming her new job with United Nations and wedding her driver, and China ending the alliance with the Philippines over President Duterte’s remarks in Japan. All these articles are not true.
Some netizens also noted how this is not the first time Pedrosa fell for fake news. According to a GMA News Online report on March 26, 2011, Pedrosa also ranted about a satirical article in her From A Distance column, March 26 issue, for the Philippine Star. It was about an article about a Harvard University research, which labelled the Filipinos as “the most gullible people in the world.”
Apparently, the article was a fictitious work from satirical blog MosquitoPress.net.
And it looks like it wasn’t only Pedrosa who was duped by this fake article about de Lima’s mansion. The same article was picked by several blogs, some of which we have noted in our list of fake and satire articles. The articles were then shared by several Duterte and Marcos fan pages.
De Lima has issued a statement about this online article, as reported by Philippine Star.
“A few days ago, I learned about the news that I bought a $6-million mansion in New York, USA. A cursory check at the address of the alleged property, it turned out it was a popular landmark in New York, the Barlow-Pell Mansion Museum,” de Lima said in her statement on Saturday, October 29.
“This latest fake news is just one of the many manufactured news and fabricated lies being maliciously peddled around to malign and discredit me,” she added.
“Sadly, truth has become the first casualty,” de Lima said.
The senator then went on to commend GMA News Online’s #HindiTama initiative, which has the same goal as Meme Buster’s, in correcting lies being spread online, and Rappler’s #NoPlaceForHate campaign, which aims to stop insults and hatred on social media.
Pedrosa is a veteran journalist, political analyst, and Philippine Start columnist. She also wrote and published a book about the late dictator’s wife, Imelda Marcos, called The Untold Story of Imelda Marcos.
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