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Busted: Was Inquirer photo of ‘Start the Healing’ rally really that of El Shaddai rally? No, it wasn’t!

Thousands of people attended the “Heal Our Land” rally at EDSA on November 5, hoping to raise the alarm about impunity and to end the killings of suspected drug personalities and criminal offenders. Organizers of the event appealed to all interested participants to make the rally a nonpartisan one, discouraging people from bringing streamers and placards. Many of the attendees brought candles, as requested.
The mobilization started with a Holy Mass led by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas at the EDSA Shrine then a procession from the historic shrine to the People Power Monument.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer was among those who published a story about the mobilization event, “Thousands came for ‘Start the Healing’ rally on Edsa” on November 5.

According to the Inquirer report, rally organizers estimated the crowd to be around 20,000, although the Philippine National Police said that there were only 5,000 participants in the rally. The event was attended by Archbishop Villegas, Senators Bam Aquino and Franklin Drilon, former Bayan Muna Representatives Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares, and former Aquino Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.

Villegas warned against the punishment that may come with the killings if they do not stop.

“Kapag hindi natin itinigil ang patayan, may sumpang parusa ang bayang pumapatay sa sariling kababayan,” Villegas said during his homily.

“Walang gobyernong forever. God lang ang forever,” he said. “Power belongs to the people not the power-holder.”

However, there were some netizens who are accusing the Inquirer of using a fake photo of the “Start at the Healing” rally. They said that the photo was actually taken during an El Shaddai gathering at the Luneta Park.

Abe Purugganan, Arroyo’s former adviser on special concerns, posted a screenshot of a certain Josep Dimaano claiming that the photo was that of an El Shaddai event, not the mobilization rally against the killings on Edsa. The post has been shared over 3,000 times.

Inquirer El Shaddai rally

This was picked up by other blogs, netizens, and Facebook pages, such as “Anthony ‘Tunying’ Taberna Supporters,” “Pinoy Trending News,” “The Filipino News,” “Rodrigo Duterte News,” “Pangulong Duterte,” and more.

Inquirer El Shaddai rally Inquirer El Shaddai rally Inquirer El Shaddai rally Inquirer El Shaddai rally Inquirer El Shaddai rally

This was the photo that was used by Inquirer in its ‘Start the Healing’ report.

Inquirer El Shaddai rally
Even the photo’s caption by the Inquirer reporter Pathricia Ann V. Roxas said, “Crowd at the People Power Monument.”

The photo was also captured by Roxas herself so we set in search for any of her social media accounts to see if she has other details posted about her report. We found her Twitter account and she did post other photos of the event that she covered.

Here’s a clearer version of the photo that she used for her Inquirer report about the Edsa rally.

Inquirer El Shaddai rally

In this photo, the details are clearer. Many people in the front of the stage carried lit candles and if you look at the banner wrapped on the pillars of the stage, some of the words of the organization logo of “Tindig Pilipinas” are quite visible. The other photos that Roxas uploaded in the same tweet about the November 5 event also showed that “Tindig Pilipinas” banners were all over the People Power Monument.

This meant that the photo used in the Inquirer report about the ‘Start the Healing’ mobilization event on Edsa is real and not that of an El Shaddai worship gathering, as some netizens claimed.

Roxas also uploaded several other photos and videos of the event.

The Philippine Star also showed another angle of the event.

Inquirer El Shaddai rally

Here is one of the photos from Rappler’s report:

Inquirer El Shaddai rally

Manila Times also reported about the Edsa rally.

Inquirer El Shaddai rally

For those who were questioning whether the pictures were really taken on Edsa, we found this Google Maps photo of the street taken back in 2014. The trees here look thinner and smaller because it had been three years since Google took this photo of Edsa.

Senator Leila de Lima’s Facebook page posted a short clip of the event during the part where participants lighted their candles.

Rappler also posted their coverage of the event.

To sum it all up, the Inquirer photo used in its report about the “Start the Healing” rally was a genuine one taken during the event itself. It was not stolen from the El Shaddai event, as what other people claimed. Aside from the “Tindig Pilipinas” banners spotted on the stage, the other photos and videos taken of the Edsa event on November 5 confirmed that the Inquirer photo was real and was not posted to mislead people.

Besides, Purugganan have posted fake, misleading stories before, such as those about how Senator Risa Hontiveros said CPP founder Joma Sison will live and die a true hero, how the CBCP asked the minor girl’s mother to forgive the Catholic priest who was caught with her, how he tried to share a friend/general’s accusations that Magdalo is connected with some Maute members, how Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano was asked by mall security to leave, how the Yellows rented six Superferry ships to transport September 21 protesters from the Visayas and Mindanao, and how the protesters were left hungry and stranded at the Batangas port. These prove that Purugganan have made lapses in the past by not verifying his posts before putting them online and this time, sharing that screenshot accusing the Inquirer of using a fake photo is another addition to his list of shared fake stories.

The Inquirer, though, were under fire for using 2013 photos to show the Marawi siege, something for which they apologized.

Sources: ( , , )

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