Claim: Members of drug syndicates and policemen were killed in an encounter on the night of May 30, 2019.
Facebook page Bicol Republic posted on May 31 supposed photos of dead policemen and members of drug syndicates. The caption that went with the photos read: "Breaking news. Marami patay sa bakbakan ng PNP (Philippine National Police) at Drug Syndicate kagabi." (Breaking news. Many were killed in the encounter between PNP and drug syndicates last night.)
Bicol Republic's post has already garnered around 1,400 reactions, 518 comments, and 2,900 shares, as of writing. Facebook page PNP Lovers also shared the post.
Rappler spotted the claim via Facebook Claim Check, Facebook's fact checking tool that collates potential hoaxes for fact checkers' review.
The facts: The photos were miscaptioned. A Google reverse image search showed that they were actually taken during the filming of ABS-CBN's Ang Probinsyano for its May 10, 2017 episode.
' Screenshot from IwantPH
The scenes from an episode of Ang Probinsyano entitled "Sakote" showed the same, elements also found in the photos miscaptioned by Bicol Republic: two rows of actors as policemen and civilians lying dead on the ground and a police car and a white sedan opposite each other.
Camille Rosales, Ang Probinsyano's executive producer, confirmed the photos were indeed taken during the shooting of Ang Probinsyano. The man at the upper left corner on the second photo posted by Bicol Republic, as also confirmed by Rosales, is actually Kevin Devela, one of the show's directors. A rolled script can be seen protruding from his short's pocket.
Rappler asked Bicol Republic for the sources of their photos, but they have yet to respond as posting.
The Philippines' war on drugs is a policy that has been carried out since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office on June 30, 2016. The Philippine National Police, with the initiative of then-PNP chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, is the foremost government agency enforcing the crackdown on illegal drugs.
As of April 2019, there have been at least 20,322 reported killings by vigilantes and policemen across the Philippines. The policy has been criticized locally and internationally for the number of deaths and alleged extrajudicial killings that have resulted from it. (READ: PNP insists 'All drug war deaths being investigated')
The Facebook page Bicol Republic, meanwhile, usually posts random content. Its "about page" says it's a source of news around Bicol, viral videos, and current events. The page was created on October 31, 2011, with around 136,000 likes, as of writing. – Addie Pobre/Rappler.com
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