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Busted: News about Duterte appointing Miriam Santiago as SC Chief Justice is NOT TRUE!

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Blogs have been touting the news that President Rodrigo Duterte is set to appoint former Senator Miriam Santiago as the next Supreme Court Chief Justice, replacing current Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

It was also shared by Duterte fan pages on Facebook, such as this one.

Duterte Appointing Miriam Santiago

Upon checking the content of the article, we found out that it was an old article published by the Inquirer on June 28, 2012 with the original title, “Sen. Santiago: I’m flattered, but no thanks.” It was about her saying no to the possibility of becoming Chief Justice at 68, mainly because she was elected as a justice in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

But Google has turned up other blogs about the same topic.

Aside from du30newsinfo.com, the news was also published by blogs like newstrendph.com, and tahonews.com, philippinenewsnow.com, among others.

Duterte Appointing Miriam Santiago

Articles on other blogs seemed to have been sourced from tahonews.com.

Taho News claimed that a confidential source in Malacañang said that Duterte has come up with a solution to “stop the Supreme Court from questioning his statements,” and that is to appoint a new chief justice in the person of Santiago. This reportedly came after Duterte replied to Sereno’s statement not to surrender without a warrant of arrest.

The article also claimed that their source has told them that Duterte is offering the former senator to be “treated in a world-trusted cancer treatment center in Philadelphia, USA, and that she will consider his offer to replace Sereno.”

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Debunking the news

In light of the claims by these blogs, a Santiago Facebook fan page, The Legacy of Miriam Defensor Santiago, has debunked the news on four points, such as the following:

“1. As with other Justice of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice is obliged to retire upon reaching the age of 70. Miriam is already 71 years old.

  1. There is no term limit for a Chief Justice unless he/she reaches the age of 70. Are these fabricators implying that the president is concocting devious plans to impeach CJ Sereno?
  2. Miriam is already being taken care of [by] the best of the best doctors in the world. Her panel of doctors came from St. Lukes and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center in New York, considered the top authority on cancer research in the world.”

And for the fourth point in debunking the news, the fan page noted how most voters did not vote for the former senator because of her health issues while battling cancer.

“And finally, the main reason why people didn’t vote for Miriam in the presidential election was her illness. Many of you were predicting that she would die within six years, so bakit niyo siya ngayon gustong bigyan ng posisyon na equal lang sa president?” the fan page said.

The page also said that whoever wrote this fake news could be using Santiago’s name to further improve the popularity of Duterte’s administration.

“Clearly, the Iron Lady’s name is being used to drum up the popularity of this administration,” the fan page added.

Duterte Appointing Miriam Santiago

Netizen Miyako Izabel has harsh words to say to those who spread this fake news about Santiago’s appointment, calling them “uto-uto (gullible)” and “bobo (dumb).”

She was reacting to this article from a blog called breakingnewsies.blogspot.ca about Duterte reaching out to Santiago to get her the best cancer treatment in the US and to make her Sereno’s replacement.

Duterte Appointing Miriam Santiago

Duterte Appointing Miriam Santiago

“Ginagawa pang parang bobo ang aking idolo. Matalino si Miriam Santiago at huwag niyo ngang idamay sa inyong pang-uuto at panloloko,” Izabel wrote.

She said that whoever wanted to have the current chief justice replaced has to impeach her first and Santiago knows this.

“Una, alam niya na ang kasalukuyang nakaupo sa posisyon ng Chief Justice ng Korte Suprema ay hindi madaling tanggalin at palitan. Dadaan muna si Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno sa impeachment sa Kongreso. Alalahanin niyo na kakaunti lang ang mga walang kakayanang mag-isip sa Senado na siyang magdedesisyon sa kasong impeachment kung magkakaroon man,” she added.

In her second point in debunking the news, she noted how wrong it was for the author to make it seem like the former senator does not know that the judiciary is independent of Duterte’s executive branch.

“Pangalawa, alam din ni Miriam Santiago na independente ang hudikatura kaya malabong sasabihin niya sa pangulo na ‘It would be an honor to work for you.’ Pero kung totoong sinabi ‘yan ni Miriam Santiago, sana lang hindi naapektuhan ang galling niya ng mga gamut na kanyang iniinom,” Izabel said.

Her third point was the fact that Santiago is already 71 years old, hence beyond the retirement age set for a chief justice.

“Ay, may pangatlo pa pala. Seventy-one na ang edad ni Miriam Santiago (June 15, 1945) at lagpas na sa retirement age para sa mga justice at judge sa hudikatura,” she added.

Izabel then asked why Filipinos fall for these kinds of fake news and how they should respect themselves by not being gullible.

“Mga Pilipino, bakit kayo nagpapagago, nagpapakabobo, at nagpapauto? Galangin niyo naman ang inyong mga sarili. Mag-isip kayo,” she said.

She also addressed the propagandists when she wrote, “At sa mga propagandistang nakakaawa at nakakatawa, pinag-iisipan po nang maigi at maayos ang paggawa at pagkalat ng propaganda para hindi sasablay o magiging bokya ang resulta. Marami pa nga kayong kanin na kakainin. Heto lang ang payong sasabihin ko: magbasa at magsaliksik,” she added.

Izabel also posted Section 11 of Article VIII in the 1987 Constitution about the Judicial Department, which states that “The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall hold office during good behavior until they reached the age of seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. The Supreme Court en banc shall have the power to discipline judges of lower courts, or order their dismissal by a vote of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon.”

If Duterte does consider replacing Sereno, he won’t be easily able to do because he cannot just point to any replacement.

According to Article VIII Section 8.1, “A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of the Supreme Court composed of the Chief Justice as ex officio Chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a representative of the Congress as ex offiicio Members, a representative of the Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a retired Member of the Supreme Court, and a representative of the private sector.”

Section 8.5 also stated the function of the JBC: “The Council shall have the principal function of recommending appointees to the Judiciary. It may exercise such other functions and duties as the Supreme Court may assign to it.”

Section 9 also specified that “The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of the lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy. Such appointees need no confirmation.”

After probably receiving some backlash on their reporting, Taho News made an update to their post in the afternoon of August 28, stating Article VIII, Sections 7.1 and 9, citing the qualifications of a member of the judiciary.

The blog concluded, “Therefore, a Supreme Court justice can only be replaced once he or she has retired, has been ousted via impeachment, or has passed away. It then follows that President Duterte cannot just replace CJ Sereno with any person he likes, even if the public is very much in favor of the appointee.”

Among the comments bashing the blog for false reporting, one Facebook user also said that Santiago is banned by law from holding any government position for a year because she ran as a presidential candidate in the May 9 elections and lost.

However, most of the comments celebrated Santiago’s possible appointment, while others even recommended Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida V. Rueda-Acosta as the next chief justice.

As what has been pointed out above, Sereno will retire in 2030, when she turns 70. Unless she gets impeached or rendered incapable in performing her duties, she will continue to be the Supreme Court Chief Justice.

Sources: (newsinfo.inquirer.net, web.facebook.com, facebook.com, gov.ph)

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Busted: Robredo wants to add years to the K-to-12 program? It’s fake news!

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Vice President Leni Robredo’s office released a statement debunking social media posts claiming that she wants to add a few more years to the K-to-12 program. This came after several posts started circulating about how Robredo allegedly said that she wanted to add a few more years to the K-to-12 program, angering netizens.

A certain tweet on March 1, 2020 showed the vice president’s photo along with these words: “Kulang ang K to 12 education system natin. Kelangan apat na taon sa Junior HS at apat na taon sa Senior HS.”

In January 17, the same image shared to the Facebook page “Raffy Tulfo In Action Supporters” also got shared over 6,000 times and triggered negative comments among the netizens.

Many social media users have lambasted Robredo over the said meme.

The unwarranted bashing and adverse reactions prompted her office to release an official statement debunking this false claim.

“Hindi totoong pinadadagdagan ni VP Leni Robredo ang mga taon sa K-to-12 program,” said the vice president’s office in a statement.

“Suportado ng Bise Presidente kung sakaling magkaroon ng review ng nasabing programa. Binibigyang-diin niya na kailangang siguraduhin na may tamang facilities at equipment ang mga specialized tracks, para mas maging madali ang pagtuturo nito at matiyak ang kahandaang makapagtrabaho ng mga mag-aaral sa kanilang pagtatapos,” it added.

In October 2019, Robredo did say that she was alright with reviewing how the K-to-12 program to determine how it could be further improved.

“Tumutugon rin ang kaniyang Tanggapan, kasama ang #AngatBuhay partners nito, sa pangangailangan ng tamang kagamitan. Nakapagbigay na ng kaukulang tools at equipment sa mga mahihirap na paaralan, gaya sa Mulanay sa Quezon, Panglao sa Bohol, at Sta. Maria sa Romblon,” the statement further said.

This is not the first time Robredo has been a victim of fake news. There were false claims, misleading headlines, and edited images or captions about how former Senator Bongbong Marcos has already won over Robredo, how she met former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, or how her portrait was sold on eBay, something that a popular blogger apologized for.

Sources: ( inquirer.net , news.mb.com.ph )

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Busted: Walang kasalanan ang Tulfo brothers ayon sa imbestigasyon? It’s a misleading headline!

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An article has claimed that an investigation has found the Tulfo brothers to be not guilty. It says, “Lumabas Sa Imbestigasyon Na Walang Kasalanan Ang Tulfo Brothers,” as published by the website phworkit.top.

The story was even shared by Facebook pages “Ferdinand Emmanual Edralin Marcos” and “Rody Duterte MEDIA.”

However, the article merely contained a 10-minute YouTube video, which was a mix several video clips of different reports, some parts of which touched on the issues involving the P60 million tourism ads that aired on the PTV program of Teo’s brothers, the Tulfos.

One of the video clips showed that the CNN Philippines reported on why nepotism is considered corruption and abused of authority in the case of now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda and how her husband, Roberto Teo, served as the board member of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA). But Roberto was appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III and has tendered his resignation from TIEZA effective June 30, 2018.

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Another video clip showing a CNN Philippines report of a Malacañang press briefing, where a reporter asked Presidential Spokesperon Harry Roque if Communications Secretary Martin Andanar would be among those investigated in the controversial placement of P60 million worth of tourism ads on the program of the Tulfos, who are Teo’s brothers, leading people to raise the issue of conflict of interest. As the PCOO chief, he also supervises the state-run PTV-4, where the Tulfos’ programs are a blocktimer.

Asked by yet another reporter what President Rodrigo Duterte’s comment was on the issue with the DOT and the Tulfos, Roque said that he did not know then because he had not talked to the President for a while and the investigation conducted by the Office of the President was ongoing then.

The headline used in the video is misleading. It meant to make people think that the Tulfo brothers have been cleared from the issue involving them with the controversial P60-million tourism ad deal.

However, reports showed that even after Teo resigned from her post on May 7, the Ombudsman will still continue with the probe into the scandal. The body requested from the Commission on Audit (COA) a copy of its DOT report involving the controversial P60-million worth of payments for ads aired on PTV on May 8. The investigation is still ongoing, which meant that they it has not yet cleared the Tulfos.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea is also said to be investigating the scandal to determine the officials at fault at the DOT, People’s Television Network Inc. (PTNI), and the PCOO.

Ramon Tulfo, an Inquirer columnist, came out in the defense of his sister Teo and blamed  his younger brother Ben Tulfo for the controversy.

Party-list group Akbayan, however, said it was not enough for Teo to step down from her post. They wanted her to be prosecuted.

“The simple firing or resignation of corrupt officials will not put a stop to corruption in the government if this is not followed by swift prosecution and conviction,” the group said in a statement.

Akbayan also challenged President Duterte to file cases against Ben and Erwin Tulfo over the controversial ad transaction. Ben owns Bitag Media, which produced the PTV show “Kilos Pronto,” the program where the DOT ads were aired. His brother, Erwin, co-hosts the show with him.

Sources: ( newsinfo.inquirer.ne , thestandard.com.ph , cnnphilippines.com , rappler.com , news.abs-cbn.com , businessmirror.com.ph )

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Busted: Legarda sinumbatan si Robredo na mag-resign bago pa lumabas ang resulta na panalo si Marcos? Misleading headline!

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Senator Loren Legarda allegedly confronted Vice President Leni Robredo and asked her to resign before the results would show former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as the winner.

The video was posted by blog dailydu30.info on May 15, 2018. The vice presidential vote recount is still ongoing, so the headline must have been referring to the result of the recount. It also made it seem as though Legarda is telling Robredo that she is certain that Marcos would emerge as the winner in the recount.

The YouTube video is 20-minute long and Legarda’s face was immediately shown at the beginning of the video. However, if you finish watching it, you’d know immediately that the video was not taken recently. In fact, it showed a portion of the budget hearing for 2017 for the Office of the Vice President. Further research showed that the hearing was conducted in front of the Senate panel on August 22, 2017 and it lasted less than an hour before it was approved. Robredo herself attended the budget hearing to present an overview of the OVP’s plans for 2018.

Legarda served as the Senate panel’s chair.

During the hearing, Robredo reported how the OVP spent its funds, mainly for poverty alleviation.

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The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that following the presentation on the fund allocation of the OVP, Legarda asked Robredo to send them a yearlong report on the needs of the sectors and areas that the OVP has reached while promising to help out on fulfilling those needs.

So unlike what the headline claimed, Legarda did not tell Robredo to resign from her VP post to make way for Marcos’ imminent victory. The headline is misleading and is merely playing with people’s emotions and gullibility.

However, Facebook page “Sara Duterte Worldwide Supporters” still shared it without verifying the headline’s claims.

There have been several fake stories involving Marcos and Robredo and the VP vote recount that we have busted. We debunked a misleading headline claiming that Marcos has already won, that Marcos won by 1,786 votes over Robredo, that Robredo would perform her tasks as VP until Marcos takes over, and that Marcos will replace Robredo.

Sources: ( philstar.comnewsinfo.inquirer.net )

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