Since August 11, an article claiming that Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano was asked by a mall security guard to go out has been circulating on Facebook. The articles were even able to amass as much as 8,000 shares, according to Facebook Links search results.
The story was carried by websites like pinoyobserver.com, thephilippinepolitics.com, and philpublicinfo.com. It should be noted that Pinoy Observer has published some fake stories before it declared itself as a satirical blog. The Philippine Politics has also published fake news before.
But we’ll still check the story’s claims, despite its sources.
According to the story published on August 11, Alejano was asked by security guards at a mall in his hometown in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental on August 10 to leave the mall’s premises. When he entered the mall, said to be “Sipalay City Mall,” a crowd of Duterte supporters started to gather, reaching up to over 200 people, which prompted the security guards to secure Alejano. The story further said that Alejano visited the mall without security guards, confident that he would be safe in his own hometown. As the crowd grew even bigger, the guards decided to send the congressman outside the mall, where he was said to be confronted by an even bigger crowd of Duterte supporters. He was reportedly said to be secured by the police. The story claimed that one of the guards said that they asked Alejano to leave the mall because he “caused public disturbance by inviting his enemies inside the mall.”
However, we easily found one big lie in the story, leading us to think that it is simply made up. There is no Sipalay City Mall. Three CityMall Commercial Centers indeed opened in Negros Occidental in February 2017 but they were in cities such as Kabankalan, San Carlos, and Victorias. There was no CityMall in Sipalay City.
And true enough, the story is indeed a fake one.
On August 12, Alejano took to Facebook to deny the story’s claim.
“FAKE NEWS! Magagaling….. gumawa ng fake news! Sana nga magkarun naman ng mall ang Sipalay,” Alejano said.
“To those who made this article, you made me omnipresent. Hope I have that power,” he added.
Unfortunately, despite the suspicious nature of the sources of the story, it was still shared thousands of times and by Facebook users and Facebook pages, possibly due to the fact that Alejano filed an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte, although it was rejected by the House, and filed yet another complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the President over the government’s drug war.
Even former Arroyo presidential adviser on special concerns Abraham “Abe” Purugganan shared the story, which has been shared by his followers over 200 times. In his post, he even called Alejano a “deceitful and grandstanding politician.”
This is not the first time that Purugganan fell for fake news. He once shared the fake stories about the CBCP asking the mother of a child who was subjected to an attempted sexual abuse by a Catholic priest to forgive and forget, Hontiveros calling Joma Sison a ‘true hero,’ and another story connecting Magdalo to the Maute group.
The fake story about Alejano was also shared by Showbiz Government.
Our generation is blessed with the access to search engines, which we can use to verify whether a story’s claim is true or not. If only those who fell for this fake news about Alejano searched for a Sipalay City Mall, they would have easily spotted the lie that would make the fake story crumble right at the mention of the mall’s name.
Sources: ( sunstar.com.ph , inquirer.net , nnphilippines.com )