FALSE: Catholic priests 'perform witchcraft' to make Duterte die
Claim: A Facebook post showing a photo of Catholic priests supposedly doing a ritual praying for President Rodrigo Duterte's death made the rounds online.
On July 15, Facebook page Philippines Freedom Wall posted the photo with the caption: "Makikita sa picture mga paring Katoliko [na] nagriritual para mamatay si [President] Duterte. Mga kasangkapang ginamit nila [ay] kabaong, kandila, at picture ni Duterte. Maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw na ang kanilang ginagawa ay simpleng paraan ng pangkukulam – (Galacia 5:19-20) This ritual is called witchcraft! Super foul ito."
(You can see in the picture that the priests are performing a ritual so President Duterte will die. They used materials such as a coffin, candles, and Duterte's picture. What they are doing is a simple form of witchcraft – (Galatians 5:19-20). This ritual is called witchcraft! This is super foul.)
The photo showed what looked like a burial set up, with people on the street surrounding a gold casket and candles.
The oldest post of the claim with the same caption was dated October 7, 2018.
The claim was spotted through the social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle. Since it was posted, it has garnered over 26,000 shares, 10,000 reactions, and 1,503 comments.
The facts: The photo was taken out of context. A Google reverse image search reveals similar photos taken during a symbolic street theater activity called "Lamay para sa Demokrasya" – part of Coalition for Justice's (CFJ) Dasal at Ayuno faith rally – at Padre Faura Street in Manila in May 2018.
Rappler sent a copy of the photo in the claim to CFJ Lead Convenor Pastor Caloy Diño through an email. In a text message, Diño denied that the activity was a ritual calling for the President's death.
"That was a Mass held by Catholic priests. But the people gathered there were from various groups. Also participating was a group of creative artists that placed a coffin near [the Supreme Court] to represent the death of democracy," he said.
Diño added that "no ritual was done...but about mourning for the death of democracy."
Aside from this, different news outlets took similar photos around the time of the event. Others can also be seen here.
In May 2018, the CFJ held a month-long celebration to show support for the ouster of former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno over the SC's quo warranto decision.
The Coalition of Justice was formed in 2017 consisting of religious groups, cause-oriented groups, and political formations. (READ: Groups reject calls for Sereno resignation) – Glenda Marie Castro/Rappler.com
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