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Claim: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered the expulsion of Senator Robinhood Padilla from office.
Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video bearing the claim was posted by the channel PHILIPPINES TRENDING NEWS on October 16 and has gained 62,240 views, 1,000 likes, and 451 comments as of writing.
The video’s title reads: “KAKAPASOK LANG BAGONG UTOS! Pumutok si Pres Marcos Senado tanggal na ROBIN PADILLA CHINA WPS NAHULI.”
(Just in: New orders have been issued! President Marcos enraged at the Senate, Robin Padilla was removed, and China was caught [in the West Philippine Sea].)
The video’s thumbnail displayed the text “Pinatalsik sa Senado” (kicked out of the Senate) and “Utos ng Pangulo” (order of the President), suggesting that Marcos had issued an order to remove Padilla from the Senate.
The bottom line: Padilla is still a sitting senator, as seen in the Senate website’s roster of members of the 19th Congress. Moreover, no official sources have confirmed Padilla’s removal from office nor any supposed order from Marcos.
The video didn’t provide any concrete evidence to support its claim. Instead, it showed commentary from a different YouTuber criticizing Padilla for his remarks during an October 12 Senate hearing on the Bajo de Masinloc collision that killed three Filipino fishermen.
The narrator alleged that the senator is siding with the commercial foreign vessel that rammed a Filipino fishing boat passing through the waters off Bajo de Masinloc or Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
Payment of damages: During the Senate hearing, at least three senators including Padilla urged the immediate payment of damages for the victims of the incident even as authorities have yet to decide on the possible filing of criminal cases against the foreign vessel.
Citing humanitarian reasons, Padilla called for early compensation as the victims and their families were in dire need of financial assistance: “Ang akin lang gustong imungkahi sa ating taga-gobyerno at siyempre dito sa ating mga bisita, for humanitarian purposes ika nga, if we could consider because these are very poor fishermen…. I hope we could consider giving them compensation right away.”
(What I would like to suggest to our government officials and, of course, to our visitors, is that for humanitarian purposes, we could consider [giving them early compensation] because these are very poor fishermen…. I hope we could consider giving them compensation right away.)
Bajo de Masinloc incident: On October 2, three Filipino fishermen were killed when a foreign vessel collided with their fishing boat while passing through the waters near Bajo de Masinloc in the West Philippine Sea. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said the victims were fishermen aged 47, 38, and 62 from Calapandayan, Subic, Zambales. In a statement, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the government would “exert every effort to hold accountable those who are responsible” for the incident.
The foreign commercial vessel was later identified as the Pacific Anna, a crude oil tanker registered under the flag of the Marshall Islands.
Situated in the West Philippine Sea, Bajo de Masinloc or Panatag Shoal is a maritime feature that has been a site of tensions between the Philippines and China. Recently, the China Coast Guard blocked Filipino fishermen from accessing the shoal by placing a floating barrier, which the Philippines later removed.
Rappler has debunked a similar claim of Padilla’s expulsion from the Senate, supposedly for questioning US presence in the West Philippine Sea. – Andrei Santos/Rappler.com
Andrei Santos is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.
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