FALSE: ‘China confirmed’ Noynoy Aquino, Trillanes ‘sold’ Scarborough Shoal


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FALSE: ‘China confirmed’ Noynoy Aquino, Trillanes ‘sold’ Scarborough Shoal
There is no official confirmation from China that the Aquino administration sold Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal)

Claim: China confirmed that former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV sold Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal).

On April 11, Facebook page Enlightened Pinoy posted a screenshot of a website article’s headline that reads, “China confirmed na si Trillanes at si Pnoy Aquino ang totoong nagbenta ng Scarborough Shoal (China confirmed that Trillanes and Aquino sold off Scarborough Shoal).”

The screenshot shows that the website Netizensph.com is the source of the article.

The claim is rehashed. 

In 2017, Facebook pages such as “We Support Pdu30 Administration” and “We Support Bongbong Marcos and Rody “Digong” Duterte Solid Group” linked their posts to dutertenewsph.com and pinoydailynews2016.blogspot.com. However, the article is no longer active.

Nonetheless, the article can still be read at testhuby.blogspot.com and newsevery7hours.blogspot.com. 

The rehashed claim has been widely shared with almost 18,000, and got 20,000 reactions and 700 comments as of this writing. 

Rating: FALSE

The facts: There is no official confirmation from China that the Aquino administration sold Scarborough Shoal.

The Aquino administration did lose effective control of the territory in April 2012 after a tense standoff with China. But following this loss, the Aquino administration challenged China’s 9-dash claim over the disputed territories in the South China Sea. 

The Philippines filed an arbitration case against China before an arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, in January 2013. 

Three years after, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) announced that the Philippines won the case. (READ: 2012 YEARENDER: PH, China and Scarborough Shoal

The ruling effectively declared Scarborough as a common fishing ground for both Chinese and Filipino fishermen.

A different version of the claim said Trillanes’ backchannel negotiations with China are an actual sell-off. 

The Ombudsman, however, cleared Trillanes of treason and espionage charges, filed by President Rodrigo Duterte supporters, in 2017. 

Apart from having a false headline, the rest of the story – which the blog said is sourced from Newstrendph – was actually plagiarized from an old Reuters report published in October 2016. The original headline of the story was: “Ahead of China visit, Philippine leader says no sense in war.”   

For a more detailed timeline about the Philippine-China West Philippine Sea events, read this page. Glenda Marie Castro/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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