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Columnist falls for fake news over US ambassador Haley allegedly asking space for Duterte to run PH



Manila Times columnist Yen Makabenta wrote an article about how US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley remarked that President Rodrigo Duterte needs space to run the Philippines. However, as in our earlier bust, this is a statement attributed to Haley by a fake news site that is trying to imitate Al Jazeera.

We busted an article from fake news site with the headline, “U.S. ambassador Nikki: “We must give President Duterte the space to run is nation.” Note how it misspelled “his” to “is,” a clue that could have easily told anyone that this site is not all that reliable and should not be taken seriously. You can read our bust here: “Busted: “US ambassador Nikki” said Duterte must have space to run his nation? It’s fake news!

However, ABS-CBN news editor Jojo Pasion Malig noticed how Manila Times columnist Makabenta wrote a column based on the fake news about Haley’s alleged remarks on Duterte.

In the early morning of September 23, Malig wrote: “Dear Manila Times, I think one of your columnists fell for a fake news site.”

He also provided the links to Makabenta’s piece and the fake news site. He pointed out that the is not the Al Jazeera website. Malig also tagged Al Jazeera reporter Jamela Aisha Alindogan, among others.

Malig’s post got Alindogan’s attention, who in turn, posted on Facebook to clarify that Al Jazeera’s official website is while reminding everybody to be extra careful because “trolls are working overtime.”


“Just to clarify… to those who keep falling for fake news- this is a fake aljazeera website. The correct one is I ask you please to be careful when sharing stuff online. Trolls are working overtime. Their intention is to discredit journalists and to fool the public,” Alindogan wrote.

Former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio “Goyo” Larrazabal, in his comment on Alindogan’s post, pointed out the grammatical errors in the fake news site’s article.

To this, Alindogan responded: “Somebody fell for it and wrote a piece,” referring to Makabenta’s column.

Makabenta’s September 23 piece was titled, “Superstar speaks: Give Duterte space to run the Philippines.”

In this piece, he noted how he now understands why an American columnist described Haley as a “superstar in the cabinet of Donald Trump.”

He then wrote about how Haley “placed her voice squarely on the side of President Duterte and the Philippines.”

Makabenta also quoted what he said were Haley’s statements at the UN General Assembly:

“The Philippines is suffocating. We must give President Duterte the space to run his nation. We must respect their independence … It is not in our purview to decide administrative issues for the Philippines…

“That is the job of the president.”

These are the same words that were quoted by in its September 18 story, a story that we busted.

The columnist further claimed that in her UNGA speech, Haley said: “Destructive forces have never given the Duterte administration enough space to jump-start his programs of government; they did not even afford him the proverbial honeymoon period…. Now, they have calibrated their plot to ouster movements and this is just the second year of his presidency.”

However, we could not find other sources carrying this statement about this alleged statement from Haley, aside from the quote on Makabenta’s column and the other blogs and Facebook pages that picked it up.

Makabenta’s September 23 piece was then shared by some netizens, including former DILG chief Rafael Alunan III, who shared the entire piece on his Facebook page.

It was in the comments section where other netizens tried to tell Alunan that Makabenta based his piece on fake news, but Alunan said that he would wait for Makabenta’s reply to his query as to the veracity of his piece on Haley.


Alunan added that if Makabenta indeed used fake news as basis for writing his piece, the columnist should issue an apology.

Award-winning writer Miguel Syjuco also got in on the quest to find out whether Haley did say what the fake news site quoted her to have said.

He even shared our previous bust while trying to find out more about this “disinformation.”

Syjuco also said that he already wrote Ambassador Haley to know more about her alleged statement on Duterte.

“I’ve written Ambassador Nikki Haley, to confirm whether she did praise Duterte’s methods, as quoted by a fake site,, then by Manila Times columnist Yen Makabenta, and now by many vocal Duterte supporters,” he wrote.

He also encouraged other people to write to the US State Department and even included a message that everyone could use to reach out to Haley’s office.

“Dear Ambassador Haley,

I’d like to confirm if the words of praise for President Duterte, that were alleged to have come from you, are in fact yours.

I’m a concerned Filipino.

Recently, an article in the Manila Times quoted a fake news site,, citing words of praise for Duterte and his drug war that are alleged to have come from you. This is being widely used now in the Philippines to indicate the US stance on Duterte’s policies.

Could you please confirm whether you said these words:…/…/

And just like what we did with our bust, Syjuco pointed out how Haley, during the confirmation hearing, responded in the affirmative when asked by US Senator Ben Cardin whether she thinks Duterte’s “sanctioned extrajudicial killings” violate human rights.

Even known Duterte supporters Rey Joseph Nieto, a.k.a Thinking Pinoy, and Sass Rogando Sasot also said Haley’s statement on Duterte was fake.

Thinking Pinoy wrote, “The supposed quote from US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley cited in a column at The Manila Times, is fake. Haley, asked about alleged EJKs under the Rody Duterte Administration in a recent interview, said the practice violated basic human rights.”

“Thus, I find it extremely unlikely for Haley to say something rosy about the Philippine War on Drugs,” he added.

Sasot also brought up the fact that Haley’s statement was obtained from the fake Al Jazeera site.

“The latest column of Yen Makabenta in The Manila Times is unfortunately based on a fake Al Jazeera news website. I have already taken down my reposting of it and informed our editor in The Manila Times about it,” she wrote.

Makabenta was also busted by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV before for writing another column about the senator while citing fake news. The columnist fell for the fake story about Zambales fishermen walking out when Trillanes was about to speak, a story that we busted.




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



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

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.


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: ( , , , , , )


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



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 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.


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: ( )


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Busted: Hollywood actor laughed at Robredo for copying his Independence Day movie speech? It’s fake news!



After Vice President Leni Robredo’s recent “Free the Courts” speech at UP Diliman on May 7, articles abound about how a Hollywood actor laughed at her for copying his speech in a movie.

Actor Bill Pullman, who played the role of a fictional US president in the movie Independence Day, allegedly laughed at the Philippine VP for copying the speech he made during the movie. This is according to the May 8 story on the blog

The story was also picked up by other blogs, such as,, and and shared by Facebook pages, such as Philippine News Courier, Trending News Today, and Like for Donations, among others.

Based on these stories online, Pullman was said to have reacted to a meme made by blogger RJ Nieto, a.k.a. Thinking Pinoy, comparing Pullman’s character’s speech and Robredo’s speech. The actor was shown to have tweeted his reaction to TP’s meme, saying “Creative and very well done. Gave me a good laught this morning.” It was also time-stamped “20m,” marking that the screenshot was made 20 minutes after the tweet went live.

While the time-stamp made it seem like Pullman’s alleged tweet was made recently, it actually wasn’t. The text in Pullman’s tweet that was used in the story above was real, but he posted that tweet in reaction to a completely different thing, not Robredo’s speech. He tweeted that on February 22, 2018 when he reacted to a YouTube video “Lone Starr A Spaceballs TEASER. – Han Solo a Star Wars Story Style.”

But the misleading story did not end there! It even had a Part Two bearing the title “Robredo Won’t Apologize for Copying Bill Pullman Speech at Independence Day Movie” published on May 9 by the same blog,

In this story, statements were attributed to Robredo’s spokesperson, Georgina Hernandez, who allegedly reacted to Pullman’s reaction to Robredo’s speech.


“The OVP [Office of the Vice President] categorically deny allegations that VP Leni Robredo copied her recent speech from the movie Independence Day. The message might be the same, but the difference in words is very obvious. The vice president also spoke from her heart, and there was no prepared speech for her.”

“The vice president believes that the accusation is only a strategy of her critics to divert the public’s attention from the real issue. It is very clear that the present administration is doing everything to silent its critics, and is using the Constitution in the wrong way. Therefore, the vice president needs to fight against the dictatorship.”

But in Rappler’s fact-checking report, Hernandez denied making the statements above.

“Those statements did not come from me. Definitely fake news,” she said in a text message to Rappler.

While there are similarities in Robredo’s speech and Pullman’s speech while playing his character in the movie, Pullman did not make a reaction over this. His February 2018 tweet was edited to mislead people. Robredo, unlike the claims of the second part of the story, also did not react to this fake news involving Pullman.

This is not the first fake story that the Facebook page Philippine News Courier has helped spread on social media. The said page also shared the fake stories about the late Playboy founder Hugh Heffner donating $5 million to Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, the Supreme Court ordering Kris Aquino to return Imelda Marcos’ diamond necklace, former Senator Bongbong Marcos leading over Robredo by 1,786 votes in the first week of the VP vote recount, and more. The page is also associated to the fake news site

Sources: ( )


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