HOAX: CHR 'offers help' to Ateneo bully

Claim: The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) reportedly offered protection to the "student bully" from the Ateneo de Manila Junior High School whose video of him beating up a fellow student went viral.

The agency's "spokesperson," a certain Edcel Bakunawa, supposedly said this in an interview with radio station dzRH on Saturday, December 22.

Bakunawa supposedly even said, "He needs protection more than the victim. There are hundreds and thousands of people who want to hurt this kid and as [a] human rights agency, this is our job."

The claim was made in a post by philnewstoday.com on December 22 with the headline, "My God He's Just a Kid: CHR ay nag-aalok ng tulong sa Ateneo Bulilit Star dahil sa mga bashers" (CHR offering help to Ateneo "kid star" due to bashers).

The claim was sent by one of our readers for verification.

The facts: CHR did not issue such statement. The supposed CHR spokesperson also does not exist.

In a text message to Rappler, CHR chairman Jose Luis Martin "Chito" Gascon said the agency "has only one official & designated spokesperson, that is our executive director, Attorney Jacqueline de Guia."

Gascon also got feedback from the agency's human resources department, which said that it does not have an employee going by name "Edcel Bakunawa" either in the central office or in regional offices (plantilla or job offer).

Gascon added, "By the tenor of the so-called interview, I have doubts that this had occurred. Still, in this case, we are concerned that the rights of all children involved are respected." 

De Guia told Rappler in a separate message that the only statement CHR issued on the Ateneo bullying incident "is an advisory issued by CHR NCR (National Capital Region) posted on [our social media] accounts which calls for protection for both minors." 

In addition, the name "Edcel Bakunawa" is not in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

NO 'BAKUNAWA'. The name of the supposed CHR spokesperson and lawyer is not in the list of lawyers maintained by the Supreme Court.

NO 'BAKUNAWA'. The name of the supposed CHR spokesperson and lawyer is not in the list of lawyers maintained by the Supreme Court.

Asked about the supposed interview, dzRH told Rappler via Facebook Messenger that it was not on their online news website, Twitter account, nor in the logs of their Tech department. "Negative. That's fake," replied an administrator of its official Facebook page.

A review of the livetweets and video uploads of dzRH's broadcasts, as posted on their Twitter and Facebook accounts on December 22 also do not show any interview with a CHR spokesperson.

The website philnewstoday.com does not contain an "About Us" page. Its posts also do not have any byline. According to a whois lookup, the website was registered only on August 7, 2018. Michael Bueza/Rappler.com

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