FALSE: Villegas says not voting Otso Diretso 'betrays' God

CLAIM: A Facebook post which has gone viral on Facebook quotes Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas as supposedly urging the public to vote for the opposition slate in the 2019 senatorial elections.

Facebook page Sa Ngalan Ng Gobyerno posted the claim dated March 6, 2019 with a caption that reads, ‘If you don't vote for Otso Diretso, you will betray God.’

The post includes a photo of Villegas in his priestly vestments. 

Their post generated 6,788 reactions and comments combined with 7,380 shares. 

Six pro-Duterte pages with accumulated page likes of almost 400,000 have been spotted in Crowdtangle to have posted the same claim. These have elicited 5,932 reactions, 3,580 comments, and 6,135 shares.

Rappler received over a dozen emails asking the team to have this claim fact checked. 


The Facts: The archbishop did not specifically endorse Otso Diretso or mention any specific candidates when he urged Catholics not to betray God by their vote. 

The archbishop posted a video on his Facebook page which compiles clips of Duterte's tirades against God and criticisms of the Church in the past years. It has a caption that reads, "Are you going to betray God again?"

Below is the exact statement that he said at the end of the video:

"The Lord said, 'Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?' My dear brothers and sisters, are you going to betray God, are you going to deny your faith, by your vote?"

The original video has been confirmed to still exist, but has been restricted to "friends" only. Nonetheless, here is the clip where the quote was taken:

The Church has been the subject of false or misleading claims in the past. A review of content fact checked by Rappler in  2018 shows that the Church is a frequent target of disinformation. – Glenda Marie Castro/Rappler.com

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