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Columnist’s take on how Dengvaxia did not cause deaths among kids get netizens’ attention



After the House hearing on Dengvaxia on February 26, Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo came out with his article “Deaths not due to Dengvaxia” that caught the netizens’ attention.

As of writing, Facebook Links showed that the Inquirer column already got shared over 8,000 times.


In his column, Tulfo, an apparent supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, said that this certain angle in the Dengvaxia issue has not been given that much attention because “it is not interesting to readers who had already formed an opinion based on distorted news” about the vaccine.

He noted how even the Palace, through Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, has told the media that only three out of the 14 deaths linked to Dengvaxia have a “causal association” with the said vaccine, explaining that causal association merely meant that the supposed victims died despite getting the vaccine, but not necessarily because of it.


Tulfo also brought up how Health Undersecretary Enrique Domingo said two out of those three deaths may have been due to vaccine failure, citing a report from the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).

He slammed the House of Representatives for still pushing through with the hearings on Dengvaxia despite UP-PGH’s findings, all because there were congressmen who wanted publicity on national TV.

He also scored how the hearings have “demonized some people and destroyed the reputation of the Department of Health (DOH) as a guardian of public health.”

UP-PGH findings

On February 6, UP-PGH experts allayed rising public fears about Dengvaxia by saying that there is no reason to panic amid the deaths of some children who received the vaccine.

“Kasi sa dami nang nabakunahan ng Dengvaxia, talagang meron na normal diseases na mangyayari with or without Dengvaxia,” UP-PGH expert panel head Juliet Sio-Aguilar said during the Senate hearing on Dengvaxia.

“Ang kailangaan ipahiwatig ay ang dengue infection ay ‘di mangyayari kung ‘di makakagat ng lamok. Kaya importante ang ating paligid lilinisin natin, ‘wag lalagyan ng bagay na puwedeng breeding places ng dengue,” she added.

Dr. Mary Ann Lansang supported Sio-Aguilar’s sentiment, noting how the reported deaths are not yet proven to be caused by Dengvaxia.

“Hindi rin po, hindi pa natin nakukuha ‘yung final result from the dengue investigative task force kung talagang dahil sa severe dengue na-enhance or napalubha ng Dengvaxia or natural wild type na dengue ito. Meron ho maliit na risk na baka na-enhance… but we can address that ho by very prompt health [care],” she said.

She advised people with high fever to immediately seek a doctor’s help.

Lansang also noted how clinical trials showed Dengvaxia to be “generally safe” and that majority of the pupils injected with it are shown to be seropositive, or have had dengue before.

“Wala pong basis mag-panic po ngayon. Ang advice po namin based on our calculations doon sa mga results from the clinical trials, in general, safe ho kasi marami sa mga kababayan natin at that age would be seropositive. Ang problema natin 10% to 20% or maybe 30% na seronegative,” Lansang said.

The UP-PGH panel found that 3 of the 14 reported deaths linked to Dengvaxia have causal relation, which meant the victims died despite receiving Dengvaxia; 2 of the 3 deaths may have been caused by vaccine failure; and most deaths were caused by other illnesses.

Citing these findings, the DOH clarified that Dengvaxia did not directly cause these deaths.

PGH director Gerard Legaspi also explained their findings and made the same clarification.

“There is no direct evidence for now that the vaccine caused any change in the course of the dengue shock syndrome of the kids,” Legaspi said.

“Namatay sila dahil sa dengue. Kaya ayun ang declaration ng Task Force, that the cause of death was the dengue shock syndrome and not the vaccine,” he added.

However, the UP-PGH findings are still subject to validation, given the Public Attorneys’ Office’s announcements that they noted a bleeding pattern among the 14 deaths.

UP-PGH forensic pathologist Dr. Maria Cecilia Lim earlier explained that internal bleeding is not a case unique to those afflicted with dengue.

PAO chief Persida Acosta has refused to work with UP-PGH experts, something she reiterated in the February 26 hearing, saying that she cannot let them participate in the investigation because they were sanctioned by the DOH, which is in itself being made accountable over the Dengvaxia controversy.

Palace backs UP-PGH findings

On February 3, Roque cited the UP-PGH findings during a media briefing.

“Itong unang report po nila mukha namang makakahinga na tayo nang mas mabuti, mga nanay at tatay, dahil mukhang hindi po related sa Dengavaxia iyong katorse na naulat na namatay di-umano dahil diyan sa bakunang iyan,” Roque said.

He added that the UP-PGH findings showed that the vaccine may not have worked on two of the victims, but that it should be considered as good news to other parents.

“Ibig sabihin, hindi gumana iyong Dengvaxia. Pero ‘yan po ay mabuting balita doon sa 830,000 na mga nanay/tatay na naa-abala at natatakot na baka may banta sa buhay ng kanilang mga anak,” he said.

The PGH panel of experts, however, recommended further investigation before declaring their findings final.

Sources: ( )


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Comedienne Ethel Booba on dealing with fake news: ‘Libre ang Google, ‘wag kayong tanga’



While appearing as guest on a comedy talk show, comedienne Ethel Booba touched on the topic of fake news and politics.

Booba, whose real name is Ethyl Gabison, has become known for her tweets ending with her expression, “Charot!”

During her guest appearance on “Gandang Gabi Vice” aired on March 4 with fellow comedienne Ruffa Mae Quinto and with the host being Vice Ganda, Booba said she knows who the fake news peddlers are.

“Yung mga fake news talaga, kilala ko kayo,” she said.

The host prompted her by asking who they are.

“Starts with the letter ‘m,’” Booba replied.

Answering Vice’s question as to what letter it ends with, she jokingly said, “C.”

“Charot lang,” Booba said.

Despite her jokes, Booba offered a piece of advice on how to deal with fake news.

“Libre ang Google, ‘wag kayong tanga. Samantalahin ninyo,” she said.

“Alamin ang totoo kasi ‘di naman talaga yan ia-approve ng PAMET bago pumasok sa Google,” she added.

The PAMET she was referring to was the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists.

Some netizens noted that Booba might have thrown shade at Communications Assistant Mocha Uson.

“Ethel Booba shading @MochaUson as peddler of #fakenews on national TV,” tweeted @krizzy_kalerqui.

Just a few days ago, Booba made her own version of Uson’s survey on Twitter by asking the Twitterverse if they believed the survey Uson made asking people if EDSA People Power I was a product of fake news was also a product of fake news.

She also talked about TokHang when she said that if she were to be the voice behind Waze, she would tell the app users to avoid a cop so as not to fall victim to TokHang.

“Don’t turn right, there’s a policeman. Just turn left, para di ka matokhang,” Booba joked.

In one of her tweets on February 24, Booba also hit how fake news is similar to the drug problem – a plague to society.

“Same with drugs eh salot din sa lipunan yang fake news dahil madami ng utak ang sinira nyan. Charot!” she tweeted.

She later offered a suggestion on how to stop fake news from spreading on Facebook.

“Dapat bago makapagcreate ng @facebook account may exam. Papakitaan sila ng news then identify kung fake or legit. Kapag bumagsak di pwede create account. Charot!” Booba tweeted.

Sources: ( )


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PCG says Diño may face criminal raps for wearing Coast Guard uniform after falling for ‘bogus’ PCGA org



Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Martin Diño may face criminal charges and usurpation of authority for donning a Rear Admiral uniform when he was not entitled to do so after falling for a “bogus” Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) group.

The Philippine Coast Guard released a statement on March 4 saying Diño is not a member of their volunteer arm group.

“Records from the PCG Auxiliary membership disclosed that USEC Dino is not a legitimate member of the organization and hence not entitled to wear the PCGA uniform,” said PCG in their statement.

“The PCG has the right to file a formal complaint for usurpation of authority and other criminal laws that may be violated by the improper wearing of the organization’s rank and uniform,” it added.

Diño may have been victimized by a fake PCG Auxiliary group with its founder being connected to the Manila Yacht Club.

“[Diño] may have been misled and recruited by bogus PCG Auxiliary organization known for collecting money from its recruits. PCG is also checking reports that a certain Admiral Villanueva from Manila Yacht Club is behind this scheme,” the PCG statement read.


ABS-CBN asked for Diño’s side, but he referred them to “Admiral Villanueva,” who identified himself as Admiral Fred Villanueva of PCGA’s 101st Manila Yacht Club Squadron.

“Kami (101st MYC Squadron) ang kauna-unahang PCGA sa buong Pilipinas. Na-organize kami March 10, 1973,” Villanueva explained.

He also accused the current PCGA National Director and a former member of their organization, Valentine Prieto, of stealing the documents of the 101st MYC Squadron around 8 years ago. Villanueva said it was due to personal enmity after Prieto and other men were “kicked out of the Manila Yacht Club.” He added that Prieto then established their own auxiliary group at the Cultural Center.

Villanueva then turned to the PCG and threatened to sue them for accepting Prieto and his group.

“Ito namang Coast Guard, tinanggap sila (Prieto) na sila ang 101. Kaya ang gagawin namin idedemanda namin ang Coast Guard pati ang 101 PCGA, sina Prieto, sa ginawa nila sa amin,” he said.

After keeping their silence for years, Villanueva said that this publicized issue will now push their group to file charges against the PCG and PCGA.

“Huwag nila sasabihibn bogus kami. Kami ang kaunauan, sa amin nanggaling ‘yan (PCGA). We have hard evidence. Lahat ng dokumento hawak namin,” he said.

Villanueva also confirmed that he inducted Diño to his PCGA organization on January 25, 2018.

Under the Republic Act 9933 (PCG Law of 2010), only the PCG has the sole authority and responsibility over the PCGA membership and activities, said PCG spokesman Capt. Armand Balilo.

The PCG said that they will coordinate with Diño, who may have been recruited into a fake PCGA group known for collecting money from recruits.

Balilo added that Diño is welcome to join the PCGA if he so wishes.

A statement was released by the PCG after a photo of Diño in a Rear Admiral uniform, complete with two stars on the shoulder insignia, popped up on social media, leading some netizens to question his qualification in donning the uniform.

Sources: ( )


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Duterte supporters score Robredo over meme saying she’s ready to replace Duterte when needed, but that’s her mandate



Some supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte slammed Vice President Leni Robredo over a meme showing her saying that she is ready to replace the Philippine leader when needed.

The meme in question bore the words, “Handa akong palitan si Pangulong Duterte kung kinakailangan – VP Leni Robredo,” with a photo of her doing a salute that was taken during the 2017 celebration of the Philippine Independence Day.

It was shared on February 28 by the Facebook page “Duterte Solid Supporters” and has since been shared over a 100 times, as of writing.

Most of the over 200 comments on the post showed the President’s supporters hitting Robredo for saying what she allegedly said in the meme.

But we also found the meme being shared by other Facebook pages in July, September and November of last year.

This July 2017 post by the page “Resign Leni Robredo Resign” even got over a thousand shares.

It was then shared by Facebook pages “Solid Duterte OFW Supporters,” “Duterte Anti-Biased Media,” “Pres. Rody Duterte ‘Partner for Change,’” “Duterte-Marcos Tandem,” “Team Rody Duterte,” and “Duterte Solid Supporters.”

To get to the bottom of whether Robredo said what she allegedly said in the meme, MemeBuster found an article on published on May 9, 2017 that said, “’Am ready to replace DU30.”


The article quoted what Robredo said during an event called TERETalks in St. Theresa’s College on May 6, 2017. She was reported to have said: “Pero sa akin naman it’s part of the mandate. When I ran, nandoon na po iyong obligation ko, na if anything happens, I should be prepared to lead. Hindi ko nakakalimutan iyong mandato ko. Iyong mandato ko is that I should always be prepared.”

We found a transcript of the open forum during TERETalks and confirmed that Robredo did make that response.

Here’s a longer part of the transcript related to the one quoted above by Journal:

Q: Good afternoon, Madame VP. I represent part of your social media support team. We are the ones making bakbak there in social media. But my question is, we wanted to ask you, we all know that the old man in Malacanang is not very well and in case something happens to him, are you ready to ready to take over?

VP LENI: Ako naman po, I do not want to wish anything ill sa ating pangulo.

Q: We don’t wish that but it can happen, so actually I wish it.

VP LENI: Well I think I will get into trouble after this afternoon. Pero sa akin naman it’s part of the mandate. When I ran, nandoon na po iyong obligation ko, na if anything happens, I should be prepared to lead. Pero sa akin kasi, mas mabuti sana na nothing happens. Iyon na iyong ideal world. Nothing happens to the President, the President and the Vice president work well together. For the benefit of the nation.

Pero sa akin nama hindi ko nakakalimutan iyong mandato ko. Iyong mandato ko is that I should always be prepared.

What Robredo was trying to say that as vice president, it is in her mandate to be prepared in case something happens to the president. It comes as part of her duties as the “spare tire.”

Since the Duterte supporters scored her for saying that she is prepared to replace President Duterte when needed, are they saying Robredo should not do what she was mandated to do?

Months before this TERETalks response that Robredo made, her spokesperson Georgina Hernandez clarified that Robredo was not “in a hurry” to become President, as per President Duterte’s claims then.

“Alam naman po nating lahat na hindi ‘yan totoo dahil si VP Leni mismo ang nagsasabi na wala ‘yan sa kanyang mga plano at hindi po niya ‘yan kailanman gagawin,” Hernandez told GMA’s Unang Balita on March 20, 2017.

“Sana tingnan rin kung saan nanggagaling, wala naman po talagang ganu’ng plano at hindi nag-aapura si VP Leni sa kung anuman, kundi apurahin lang ‘yung mga sinimulan namin na programa para sa anti-poverty,” Hernandez clarified with the media at the sidelines of the Quezon City’s celebration of women’s month that was attended by Robredo.

“Wala sa kaniyang plano na magmadali o maging Pangulo,” she added.

In August 2016, a malicious spin was also given to Robredo’s response when she said that the Philippine Constitution does not give the VP real powers, “except to wait for something to happen to the President.”

This was spun by her detractors into how Robredo was practically saying that she was “waiting for Duterte to die.

Even Communications Asec. Mocha Uson, before she got the PCOO position, shared that spliced video of Robredo summarizing what the Constitution basically said about her mandate as VP.

One of Duterte’s supporters and Uson’s followers called her out for sharing the spliced video that was taken out of context and urged her to be a responsible Duterte supporter. She also agreed with Robredo’s rephrased version of a VP’s duty.

Sources: ( , )


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