After the Philippine Airlines settled its outstanding debt of P6 billion with the Philippine government on November 3, some articles started circulating on Facebook claiming that PAL offered President Rodrigo Duterte free ride from Manila to Davao and vice versa.
But the source of the story is not exactly a good source of real and accurate stories, seeing as it was first published on Okd2.com. The website also shared the story on its Facebook page.
It was picked up by another blog, gossipdiary.com, whose article has already been shared over 3,000 times, according to Facebook search results.
Other Facebook pages and netizens also shared the story, such as Philippine News Courier.
But based on the comments from netizens, some of them were worried about his safety or what PAL might ask from him in return if he ever decides to take PAL’s alleged offer.
However, these netizens actually have nothing to worry about. PAL is not offering free rides to President Duterte for his flights between Manila and Davao City. Okd2’s story was categorized as “satire.”
The made-up story said that PAL offered Duterte and three of his personal bodyguards free rides from Manila to Davao City and vice versa until 2022, but the offer is only limited to the said route. It also said that there has been no word yet whether Duterte accepted the offer, adding that “there is a big possibility that he will enjoy the ride so the government can save more on his personal travel expenses whenever he go home to Davao.”
This offer came after PAL paid its P6 billion tax dues.
PAL’s VP for Legal Affairs Clara de Castro was also quoted making the following statements”
“The tax funds were always ready. It’s just that PAL had no confidence in making negotiations with the previous governments especially when dealing with such large amount.”
“He have so much trust on President Duterte that the money will be spent by the government wisely.”
Why shouldn’t we believe the story and what did it get wrong?
- It’s identified as “satire” by Okd2.
If only those who took the time to comment about the story spared a few minutes to read it first, they would not have easily been carried away by the story’s false claims that are meant to be “satirical.”
- PAL did not pay billions for its tax dues.
PAL actually paid for its outstanding debt over its unpaid air navigational charges, which grew since 1970s up to July 2017. It also had a December 2017 deadline, but PAL paid earlier, delivering P5.7 billion in check to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and another P258.6 million in check to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) on November 3.
- PAL’s lawyer did not say the statements quoted by Okd2.
We tried to verify the statements with Google and found that they only came from Okd2 itself.
So, Okd2’s story is not true. We also looked for other sources that may have similar claims to Okd2 about PAL offering free rides to Duterte, but could not find any. What we found instead was an article about how President Duterte complained in June about the lack of free flights for a president like him from PAL and Cebu Pacific.
We confirmed the quoted statements in that article with a transcript posted by the Philippine Communications Operations Office (PCOO) of Duterte’s speech on June 28 during the 104th Founding Anniversary of Philippine Chinese Charitable Association, INC (PCCAI).
“Ako, nag-commercial lang ako. Hanggang ngayon itong si PAL pati si, ‘tong si Cebu, hindi na lang naisip nila na ang nagsasakay Presidente, hindi man lang makabigay ng passes pareha sa sine. [laughter]
“You know my father was a Cabinet member, about the time in — Senator Gordon’s, his father was also the mayor. Governor ang tatay ko eh but he was a member of the Cabinet during Marcos time.
“Merong card ang tatay ko noon eh, ibinigay ng PAL. “Secretary Vicente Duterte, wife and family.” Kaya para akong Congressman noon, sige uwi. Itong bago ngayon, kuripot itong… [laughter]”
It was actually President Duterte who talked (or joked) about free flights, not PAL being the one allegedly making the offer.