Fact Checks about media

FALSE: News report blames Martial Law for Lean Alejandro’s death

FALSE: News report blames Martial Law for Lean Alejandro’s death
The news video did not attribute the student leader's death to Martial Law. It correctly reported that Alejandro was shot dead in 1987.
At a glance:
  • Claim: A “24 Oras” report blamed the death of student leader Leandro “Lean” Alejandro on Martial Law.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: The video’s contents did not attribute Alejandro’s death to Martial Law. It correctly reported that Alejandro was killed in 1987 – years after Martial Law was lifted.
  • Why we fact-checked this: A Facebook post with this claim was posted on October 25, 2020 and has been continuously shared by users. As of writing, the post has 1,300 shares, 5,200 reactions and 134,000 views.
Complete details:

Facebook Page “PSSAP Underground Media” said that a “24 Oras” news report supposedly blamed the murder of prominent student leader Leandro “Lean” Alejandro on Martial Law. 

The video on “PSSAP Underground Media” was digitally altered to show that the reporter said Alejandro was gunned down in 1987. The video’s caption claimed this was a mistake on the reporter’s part, as the report intended to blame Alejandro’s death on Martial Law, which was formally lifted in 1981 by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who still continued to carry martial law powers after.

The caption stated: “Buti na lang nagkamali ng pagbasa ng script yung tagapagbalita nabuking tuloy sila. 1987 daw binaril pero Martial Law ang sinisisi.” (Fortunately, the reporter misread the script and was caught red-handed. The killing took place in 1987, but the incident was blamed on Martial Law.)

While the video first became viral in October 2020, many social media users are still sharing it as of writing. The post currently has an estimate of 1,300 shares, 5,200 reactions, and 134,000 views. 

The GMA news program “24 Oras” was factual and did not link Alejandro’s death to Martial Law.  (It was widely believed that soldiers disgruntled with the Cory Aquino regime were behind his killing.)

Aired in September 2018, the actual footage of “24 Oras” said: “Isa ring pag-aalala ang fun run sa kamatayan ni Leandro Alejandro, isang youth lider noong Martial Law. Dalawampu’t pitong taong gulang lang siya nang barilin noong September 19, 1987.” (The fun run also honored the death of Leandro Alejando, a youth leader during Martial Law. He was only 27 years old when he was gunned down on September 19, 1987.) 

The original news report highlighted “The Great Lean Run,” a fun run event held to teach students about Martial Law and to remember the Marcos regime’s brutality. 

The fun run also commemorated Alejandro, a University of the Philippines student leader and activist during the Marcos years. Alejandro led the protests against tuition hike in the early 1980s. He was also a founding member and secretary-general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), an alliance of left-wing Philippine organizations.

Alejandro’s activism continued after the Marcos administration. He was ambushed on September 19, 1987, after a press conference where he called for a street protest against military control under the Cory Aquino administration.

Rappler had previously fact-checked “PSSAP Underground Media” when they falsely shared about Marcos’ role in the introduction of tilapia to the country and the pork barrel as part of the Philippine Constitution. – Danah Cubacub/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.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one fact check at a time.

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