FALSE: ‘Photo’ of Baron Geisler asking ABS-CBN to pay unpaid debts, taxes

FALSE: ‘Photo’ of Baron Geisler asking ABS-CBN to pay unpaid debts, taxes
The image is altered. A reverse image search shows that the image was taken from a video in which Geisler makes an appeal for the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN.

Claim: A photo showed TV actor Baron Geisler supposedly holding a placard with a text that says former ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III should pay the company’s debts and taxes. 

In a caption for its post dated January 4, Facebook page Eagle eyes of the Philippines citizen-report said ABS-CBN is deceiving the public in not paying its taxes. It added that President Rodrigo Duterte should shut down the media network.

The caption is accompanied by a photo of Geisler with a text on it that reads, “Mr. Gabby Lopez of ABS-CBN, kung concern kayo sa mga empleyado mo, bayaran mo ang tax at utang na sinisingil sa inyo ng gobyerno.”

(Mr Gabby Lopez of ABS-CBN, if you are concerned about your employees, pay the taxes and debts you owe government.)

A reader emailed the claim to Rappler for a fact-check. As of writing, the post has garnered 2,460 shares, 391 comments, and 1,242 comments.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: A reverse image search showed that it was taken from a video where Geisler makes an appeal for the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN.

The image, then, was altered to make it appear that the actor was supposedly asking the company to pay its alleged unpaid debts and taxes. The original text in the placard reads “Legislative franchise for ABS-CBN now! #SaveABSCBNworkers – Defend Job Philippines.” 

The video was posted on the Facebook page Defend Job Philippines on July 31, 2019. The page confirmed to Rappler that Geisler made the video for them in support of the #SaveABSCBNworkers campaign, a call on Congress to grant the franchise renewal of the network giant. The page also posted a statement denouncing the false post.

In the video, Geisler said the government should consider the media network’s franchise renewal for the sake of 10,000 workers who might lose their jobs if the franchise is not granted. 

The image below shows the comparison of the original and edited photo of Geisler: 

President Rodrigo Duterte repeatedly gave statements about blocking the extension of the media giant’s broadcast franchise.The recent remark was on December 30, 2019 when he said that ABS-CBN should just sell since it is unlikely to get a franchise renewal.

He first made the threat of blocking the renewal in April 2017 with allegations that the network refused to air his political ads in the 2016 elections. 

The franchise of the media giant is set to expire in March 2020. (READ: Duterte’s ace against ABS-CBN, the Philippines’ biggest network)

Rappler also reached out to the page that posted the claim and asked for their source. They have not replied as of writing. – Glenda Marie Castro/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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