FALSE: Amado Espino III and Jumel Espino 'disqualified' in Pangasinan

Claim: The Facebook page Aliguas ya Pangasinan claimed in a post on May 12, a day before the elections, that incumbent Governor Amado "Pogi" Espino III and incumbent Bugallon Mayor Jumel Anthony Espino had already been disqualified from seeking gubernatorial and congressional positions, respectively, in Pangasinan. 

The post was accompanied by a photo of a supposed Petition for Disqualification issued by Comelec (Commission on Elections) on the same date. In the petition, a supposed, unnamed petitioner filed a disqualification against the two Espinos in "pursuant to Rule 25, Section 1 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9253."

The caption of the post reads: "Kakapasok lang po, anong nangyayari sa mga Espino, gano'n na ba sila kadesperado upang manalo at mamimili pa ng boto? Mabilis ang Comelec... Mga Espino desqualified!!!" 

(This just in, what is happening to the Espinos, are they that desperate to win and will even buy votes? Comelec is fast... Espinos disqualified!!!)

Rappler spotted the post from Aliguas ya Pangasinan via Claim Check, Facebook's fact check tool dashboard which flags potential hoaxes as dubious content so fact checkers can review them. The post has garnered 1,500 reactions, 1,000 comments, and 951 shares, as of this writing. 

Rating: FALSE

The facts: Amado "Pogi" Espino III and Jumel Espino remain as candidates in Pangasinan. 

Ericson Organiza, Pangasinan's Comelec Acting Election Supervisor, confirmed to Rappler in a text message on May 12 that no candidates in Pangasinan have been disqualified. 

The two candidates have also both dismissed the claims on their disqualification as fake news. Amado, in his Facebook page, confirmed on May 12 that the disqualification claims were false and that he remained in the race for the gubernatorial seat. 

"Mayroon din pong kumakalat na balita na ako’y nakulong o na-disqualify na. Ito po ay walang katotohanan. Tuloy po ang laban para sa pagmamahal at lalong pag-unlad ng Probinsiya ng Pangasinan. (There are also news circulating that I'm in jail or already disqualified. This has no truth. The race will continue for the love and progress of the Province of Pangasinan.)"

Jumel, brother of Amado, also urged everyone to cooperate in the fight against fake news circulating that he was already disqualified. He further clarified he cannot be disqualified as there was no case filed against him, and secondly, everything was just mere black propaganda. 

"Hindi po ako madidisqualify dahil unang una wala pong kaso na naifile laban sa akin at pangalawa lahat po ay pawang paninira at despirado na taktika ng aking mga kalaban. Sana huwag po tayo magpadala sa mga gawa gawang balita."

The SPA field in the screenshot, further, is not an SPA No. but a date. 

The Espinos is a political clan in Pangasinan. Amado Espino Jr., the clan's patriarch, is the current Representative of Pangasinan's 5th district and is running for the same post. In the 2013 elections, he won the province's gubernatorial seat in a landslide vote. (READ: Espino in landslide win as Pangasinan governor)

In the 2019 midterm elections, incumbent Governor Amado Espino III is running for a gubernatorial seat against Alaminos City Mayor Arthur Celeste. Incumbent Bugallon Mayor Jumel is running for a congressional seat in the province's second district against Butch Merrera and Raul Sison. Both the Espino candidates are under PDP-Laban. 

Meanwhile, the page Aliguas ya Pangasinan, has only 791 likes on Facebook and had only been created last April 8. Most of the page's posts are criticisms against the Espinos. 

This is not the only claim that Rappler fact-checked concerning the supposed disqualification or withdrawal cases of candidates this 2019 elections. As of this writing, Rappler has already fact checked two false claims concerning a candidate's withdrawal and left-wing partylists' disqualification. – Addie Pobre/ 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.