Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes called out those who spread fake news about him being hospitalized in Bacolod.
“If you still don’t get that it’s fake, let me make it clear. I was never hospitalized in Bacolod. I’m fine,” he wrote on Facebook on November 24.
His clarification came after several blogs claimed that he, along with six other people, were admitted to a hospital in Bacolod after they were hit by empty bottles while conducting a protest. These blogs include Okd2.com, localhero.altervista.org, and jessicaal.altervista.org.
Facebook pages such as “President Rodrigo Duterte” and “Philippine News Courier.”
It was also shared by some netizens to Facebook groups such as “BongBong Marcos United,” “REAL PHILIPPINE HISTORY,” and “Team Duterte for Federalism.”
Clicking on Okd2’s story, “Just In: Renato Reyes Jr., 6 Others Hospitalized In Bacolod After Gettingg Hit By Empty Bottles While Attending Local Protest,” we found it tagged under “humor & satire,” so the story should have been treated just like any satirical story – examined and researched about carefully to separate the facts from the fictional bits that were meant to be fun since it is satirical. However, many netizens usually don’t take the time to research more about what they read online, mostly relying only on the articles’ titles. If only they did a little research, they could have led themselves away from the altervista blogs and found the Okd2 story, which has the satirical disclaimer.
According to Okd2’s story, Reyes was protesting against Coca-Cola in Bacolod City along with other militant groups such as the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), National Federation of Sugar Workers, and Gabriela Negros on November 22 over the company’s use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The rally in front of the company’s plant in Mansilingan, Bacolod grew into chaos when the protesters blocked the front gate, in turn blocking a delivery truck. Eventually, truck driver Andres Macabebe returned to the plant and with two helpers, started taking throwing empty soft drink bottles at the protesters, hitting mostly people’s faces.
In the chaos, Reyes was hit four times or more, causing him to suffer a broken jaw and deep cuts. He was said to be advised to undergo facial surgeries, but Coca-Cola refused to shoulder the hospitalization of the injured protesters.
The Okd2 story also mentioned something about the protest being in part a criticism of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol for favoring the company and a call to boycott Coca Cola and other beverage company for using HFCS, which caused the reduction in local sugar prices.
Reyes and the other injured protesters were said to be initially admitted to “Western Visayas Regional Hospital,” but that Reyes was already recovering at “Riverseide Medical Center.” Bayan was also said to have demanded payment from Coca-Cola for Reyes’ P185,000 hospital bill.
There were some facts in the Okd2 story, such as people protesting against Coca-Cola for using HFCS, calling for a boycott of the beverage companies for using the same ingredient and lowering the price of domestic sugar, and calling out Piñol for “favoring” the said beverage company. They even got the address of the Coca-Cola plant in the protest right.
However, what’s not true was how Reyes and other protesters were injured and hospitalized in Bacolod after undergoing facial surgery. Reyes himself said he was “fine” after denouncing the story as “fake.”
And we just found Okd2’s follow-up story to that initial story about hospitalization. This time, it is about Bayan and Coca-Cola arguing over Reyes’ hospital bill.
Of course, this story is not true since, as what was previously mentioned, Reyes was not really rushed to a Bacolod hospital so there was no hospital bill that need to be paid.
The story was picked up by other blogs ptvbalita.com and netiviral.com, which labeled the story as “satire news” right in their title.
However, there were still a few netizens who did not get that the story was satirical.
A little research would have helped the netizens who fell for the story that started out as a satire and ended up as a story without proper disclaimer when it was duplicated by other blogs.
There were other fictional stories written about Reyes too that we’ve debunked. There were stories claiming that he offered to stop protesting if President Duterte will give him an executive job and was caught playing video karera, among others.