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FACT CHECK: ‘Diabetes cure’ ad uses unrelated photo of World War II survivor


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FACT CHECK: ‘Diabetes cure’ ad uses unrelated photo of World War II survivor
The misleading ad uses a photo of Japanese World War II survivor Akiyoshi Chikada, misrepresenting him as a ‘Filipino chemist’ endorsing the product Diabetin

Claim: A 103-year-old Filipino chemist named Tristan Lambino endorses Diabetin, a product that claims to cure Type II diabetes.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The post was submitted to Rappler via email on October 15. The Facebook post included a link to a page featuring a supposed interview of Lambino and his photo, along with a caption identifying him as a renowned Filipino chemist.

The bottom line: A Google reverse image search showed that the man shown in the misleading ad is a Japanese World War II prisoner of war named Akiyoshi Chikada. The original photo was posted in a story published by Japanese newspaper The Mainichi on May 18, 2022.

World War II survivor: According to The Mainichi article, Chikada was formerly interned in Ukraine during World War II after being tricked into forced labor by Soviet troops.

Chikada was a firearms manufacturer in Mukden (present-day Shenyang) in the former Manchuria region of northeast China in August 1945. From China, he was transported by Soviet forces in Siberia to assist in military tasks and was eventually moved to Ukraine to help repair a hydroelectric dam. Chikada finally returned to Japan in 1948.

At the time of the story’s publication in May 2022, Chikada was residing in Fussa, Tokyo.

No such chemist: The misleading ad misrepresented Chikada as a certain Tristan Lambino, supposedly a 103-year-old Filipino chemist and a former diabetic.

The ad claimed that Lambino was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2002 for “discovering phosphoanhydride bonds in ATP molecules” along with “American scientists” Bruce Kessler and Garrett Johnson.

This is false. There is no “Tristan Lambino” among the 2002 Nobel laureates. There is also no mention of the supposed American scientists among the Nobel prize winners.

The first Filipino to receive the prestigious Nobel prize as an individual is Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, who won the award along with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov in 2021.

While Ressa is the first Filipino named as Nobel laureate, several Filipinos who were part of organizations based overseas have received the Nobel Peace Prize:

  • 2017: Jasmin Nario Galace and Loreta Castro of the Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
  • 2013: Franz Ontal, Criselda Javelosa van Dasler, Helen Andriessen, Gemma van Oudheusden-Vincoy, Jenniefer Balatbat, Allan Laroza, Roycelynne Reyes, Mary Ann Nieto-Schroor, Michael Conche, and Emily Castriciones of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
  • 2007: Fr. Jett Villarin, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which won the Prize together with former US vice president Al Gore
  • 1997: Members of the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines, a member-organization of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines

Unregistered: As of writing, Diabetin is not on the Food and Drug Administration’s list of registered food products and drug products. – Lorenz Pasion/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. You may also report dubious claims to #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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