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Claim: Senator Robinhood Padilla was kicked out of office after questioning US presence in the West Philippine Sea.
Why we fact-checked this: The false claim was made in the thumbnail of a YouTube video posted by a channel with 74,900 subscribers. As of writing, the video has accumulated 3,671 views, 286 likes, and 54 comments.
The video featured soundbites from a September 12 joint Senate panel hearing into issues in the West Philippine Sea, or parts of the South China Sea within Philippine territory.
The video’s thumbnail displayed the text “Robin sibak sa senado” (“Robin kicked out of Senate”), implying that the senator was removed from office over his comments during the Senate hearing.
The bottom line: Padilla was not removed from office. He is still a sitting senator, as seen in the Senate website’s roster of members of the 19th Congress.
The video did not contain proof Padilla is no longer in office, and there are no official sources corroborating the claim.
What the video actually shows: The video merely presents the narrator’s commentary and reaction to audio clips from the joint Senate inquiry with officials from the defense department and the Philippine Coast Guard.
The senator recently questioned the presence of the US Navy in the West Philippine Sea. A US Navy Poseidon plane had been present in the Philippines’ most recent resupply missions to its outpost in Ayungin Shoal, which came weeks after Chinese ships harassed Philippine vessels during a resupply attempt last August.
Padilla insisted that the Philippines’ sole treaty ally should not be in the West Philippine Sea. For the senator, the US acting as a third party could lead to an “escalation” in tensions between Manila and Beijing.
However, maritime expert lawyer Jay Batongbacal reminded Padilla that it was China that first escalated tensions in the South China Sea. Despite a 2016 Hague ruling invalidating China’s nine-dash line claim, Beijing has refused to acknowledge the tribunal ruling and continues its hostile actions against Manila.
Previously debunked claims: Rappler has debunked false claims made by YouTube channel AI TOO KAYE:
- FACT CHECK: No Senate death sentence for employers of Filipino domestic worker
- FACT CHECK: No order from Marcos, Tulfo to close NAIA
– Tisa Nacional/Rappler.com
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