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Claim: Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar has been appointed the new Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief, replacing Gregorio Catapang Jr.
Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in the title and thumbnail of a YouTube video posted on August 13 which has 69,252 views, 2,300 likes, and 524 comments as of writing. The channel that posted the video has 750,000 subscribers and has been fact-checked by Rappler multiple times.
The video’s title reads: “KAKAPASOK LANG KONGRESO DI-MAKAPANIWALA sa UTOS PRESBBM GEN ELEAZAR IPALIT CATAPANG RESlGN sa BUCOR”
(Just in, Congress cannot believe the order of President BBM. General Eleazar to replace Catapang, resigning from BuCor).
The video thumbnail also shows pictures of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Eleazar, and Catapang with the text, “Ipalit si Eleazar, ito ang matinding utos ng Pangulo” (Replace with Eleazar, this is the firm order of the President).
The bottom line: Catapang remains the current head of the Bureau of Corrections. No official statements were released on Marcos’ Facebook or Twitter accounts, on Radio Television Malacañang, the Office of the President, or the Bureau of Corrections about the supposed order to replace Catapang with Eleazar. Instead, the content of the video comprised mainly of comments from social media users urging Marcos to replace Catapang given the recent controversies that have plagued BuCor.
BuCor issues: The video was uploaded several days after a House inquiry on the alleged corrupt activities inside the New Bilibid Prison, which prompted a lawmaker to call for Catapang’s resignation.
Several months after assuming the BuCor chief post, Catapang faced a number of controversies inside the bureau, with lawmakers questioning the continued access to the internet and phones by persons deprived of liberty and the disappearance of Michael Cataroja, who was reported missing from the maximum security compound last July and recently rearrested.
Following the replacement of numerous New Bilibid Prison personnel as part of prison reform measures, Catapang said that there were still individuals causing issues who have managed to find ways to evade his supervision.
“The challenge here isn’t limited to the inmates alone, but also involves some of my own staff who I inherited and who continue to exhibit stubborn behavior,” Catapang said during an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source.
During the August 10 House probe, Catapang said he was willing to resign but asked for more time to address the problems he inherited. “I’ve inherited a broken system, a broken organization, and it will really take a while to fix this broken BuCor, but I’m not giving up,” he added. – Jezreel Ines/Rappler.com
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