FACT CHECK: Sereno not suing journalist Stephen Sackur

FACT CHECK: Sereno not suing journalist Stephen Sackur
The camp of ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno denies they will file a case against BBC's Stephen Sackur, calling this claim a 'malicious lie'

Claim: Ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is going to sue journalist Stephen Sackur because he embarrassed her in an interview on his BBC show HARDtalk.

On June 16, thinking-pinas.blogspot.com published the headline “Newsbreak: Watch: Sereno nagalit! Kakasuhan daw niya si Mr Sackur dahil pinahiya siya sa interview!”

The blog post includes a video from the YouTube channel Tokhang TV, where a vocal Duterte supporter says that Sackur embarrassed Sereno when he told her: “You sound more like a politician and a diehard opponent of [President Rodrigo Duterte] than a chief justice.”

The interview was aired on June 13 on BBC World News and the BBC News Channel. BBC also posted it online here.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: There are no official reports that say Sereno is filing a case against Sackur.

Sereno’s spokesperson Jojo Lacanilao also denied the claim in a text message to Rappler, saying they have “no such plans.”

He added: “That blog is a malicious lie! We thought Chief Justice Sereno actually proved her mettle as an articulate and smart interviewee despite Sackur’s well-known style of probing his subjects and making them feel uncomfortable. Chief Justice Sereno had no problem with Sackur’s style and was grateful for the opportunity to guest in his show.”

The video in the blog post shows a person’s opinion, not a fact. The person in the video also did not say that Sereno plans to sue Sackur, only that the journalist supposedly embarrassed the former chief justice.

During the interview, Sackur did tell Sereno that she sounded more like a politician and an opponent of Duterte than a chief justice. He then quoted Senator Risa Hontiveros and Akbayan spokesperson Gio Tingson, who have supported the ousted chief justice.

Sackur then asked Sereno: “Do you align yourself with all of these comments? In other words, are you looking to be a leader of the opposition?”

Videos from Tokhang TV have been used for false claims in the past, including one that said the Liberal Party would be filing a quo warranto petition against every Duterte Cabinet member. Another said that there are already results in the ongoing recount of votes in the 2016 vice presidential election. Rappler has fact-checked both claims. – Vernise L Tantuco/Rappler.com

If you suspect a Facebook page, group, account, a website, or an article is spreading false information, let Rappler know by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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