At a glance:
- Claim: Senator Panfilo Lacson said in a sponsorship speech that the lawmakers in the Makabayan bloc are members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
- Rating: FALSE
- The facts: The claim referred to Lacson’s sponsorship speech for Committee Report 186 about red-tagging. It did not state that the lawmakers in the Makabayan bloc are members of the NPA.
- Why we fact-checked this: This claim was made in a video by YouTube channel “Showbiz Fanaticz,” which frequently shares false information and has been frequently fact-checked. It had 35,941 views before it was taken down. The video is still available on the group’s Facebook page.
The YouTube channel “Showbiz Fanaticz” claimed in a video published on Tuesday, March 2, that Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson revealed that lawmakers in the Makabayan bloc are members of the New People’s Army (NPA). The video had at least 35,941 views before it was removed. It is still available on the group’s Facebook page.
Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, who is also spokesperson for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), shared the YouTube video on her verified Facebook profile on March 2. Badoy had red-tagged CNN Philippines, Rappler, the Makabayan bloc, and activists in the past.
The video of “Showbiz Fanaticz” is titled “EXCLUSIVE: Sen PING LACSON, ISINIWALAT Na ang MATAGAL at MADILIN [sic] na LIHIM ng MAKABAYAN BLOC!” (Exclusive: Senator Ping Lacson revealed the longtime dark secret of the Makabayan bloc!)
The video showed the following text from the 0:05 mark to 0:11: “Sen LACSON, IBINULGAR ang MADILIM ng BUONG KABAYAN [sic] BLOC, PAGIGING KASAPI NG NPA, BISTADO!” (Senator Lacson revealed the darkness of the whole Makabayan bloc, being members of the NPA, caught!)
This claim is false.
The video by “Showbiz Fanaticz” pertained to, and also contained, Lacson’s Sponsorship Speech for Committee Report 186 about the “red-tagging and red-baiting” issue. The 77-page Committee Report 186 on the issue was submitted by the Senate committee on national defense and security, peace, unification, and reconciliation on February 22. Lacson is the chairperson of the said committee.
Based on the transcript and the video recording of Lacson’s sponsorship speech, he never said that the Makabayan bloc were members of the NPA. The speech contained 7 mentions of “Makabayan bloc,” with none referring to them as members of the NPA.
The Makabayan bloc were mentioned in relation to the claim of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr, spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC and commanding general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command, that the lawmakers were under surveillance using the Anti-Terrorism Act as legal cover. On Wednesday, March 10, the Senate adopted a committee report recommending the removal of Parlade as spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC.
The Makabayan lawmakers were also mentioned in relation to their testimonies, counter-arguments, and documentary submissions to the committee; the committee’s call for them to work with the national government in denouncing the acts of the NPA; and legal remedies already in place or that they can pursue against the red-tagging done against them.
The current members of the Makabayan bloc in Congress are: Eufemia Cullamat (Bayan Muna), Ferdinand Gaite (Bayan Muna), Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna), Sarah Elago (Kabataan Partylist), France Castro (ACT Teachers Partylist), and Arlene Brosas (Gabriela Women’s Party).
Lacson’s committee previously conducted 3 hearings on the red-tagging issue in 2020: November 3, November 24, and December 1. Lacson once recalled that, in the course of the hearings, he was bashed online by both sides – netizens favoring political progressives as well as those favoring the government and security sector, including accounts “traced to the AFP and Malacañang.”
Rappler has fact-checked Badoy’s claims that the term “Lumad” and the term “red-tagging” are terms made up by the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratci Front. Rappler has also fact-checked posts and videos by “Showbiz Fanaticz” multiple times. – Percival Bueser/Rappler.com
This article was written by a volunteer of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program, a 5-week exclusive and hands-on training on detecting, investigating, and verifying online misinformation and disinformation.
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