Fact checks on public officials

FACT CHECK: No orders from Marcos expelling Chinese envoy to PH


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FACT CHECK: No orders from Marcos expelling Chinese envoy to PH
Marcos did not make any official pronouncements about expelling Huang Xilian, China’s top diplomat in Manila, over the water cannon incident last August 5

Claim: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expelled China’s top diplomat in Manila, Ambassador Huang Xilian, following the water cannon incident in the West Philippine Sea on August 5.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this:  The claim was made in a YouTube video posted by Boss Balita TV, which has gained 16,000 views and 644 likes as of writing. 

The bottom line: Huang has not been expelled by Marcos. No official orders from the President have been made in relation to the claim. The upload of the misleading video comes days after a Chinese coast guard vessel blocked and fired water cannons at Philippine ships heading to Ayungin Shoal on August 5, increasing tension between the two countries.

Following the incident, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) summoned Huang and emphasized the Philippines’ sovereign rights within its exclusive economic zone based on the historic 2016 arbitral ruling striking down China’s claims over the entire South China Sea.  

The foreign affairs department said it delivered a “strong protest” through a note verbale to Huang.

“The DFA firmly asked China to direct its vessels to stop their illegal actions against Philippine vessels, and to stop interfering in legitimate Philippine Government activities,” it said.

Marcos’ statement: In the misleading video, the narrator alleged that Marcos had strong words against China and supposedly issued a warning to Huang.

The narrator said: “Walang karapatan dito ang China, kaya wala sila sa lugar para tayo’y bombahin, kaya binalaan niya si Huang Xilian na kung ‘di titigil ang China talagang makakatikim na sila sa atin.”

(China has no rights here, so they have no grounds to threaten us. That’s why he warned Huang Xilian that if China doesn’t stop, they will truly face the consequences.)

However, during a media interview on August 7, Marcos made statements with a more diplomatic tone than what the video claimed. He stated: “We continue to assert our territorial rights in the face of all of these challenges and consistent with the international law and UNCLOS [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea], especially. So, that has always been our stand. But we still have to keep communicating with the Chinese government, with President Xi, with Beijing. We still have to keep communicating with them because we need to really come to a conclusion.”

Since the water cannon incident, numerous erroneous claims have circulated, which Rappler had debunked:

  1. FACT CHECK: Video of China’s South China Sea missile drills not new
  2. FACT CHECK: US not involved in water cannon incident in West Philippine Sea
  3. FACT CHECK: PH not under martial law after China water cannon incident

  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.

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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