Fact checks on public officials

FALSE: 6 senators to be sued for treason for defunding NTF-ELCAC

FALSE: 6 senators to be sued for treason for defunding NTF-ELCAC
A lawyer’s opinion made on social media is not equivalent to filing a complaint. NTF-ELCAC’s P19.1-billion budget also remains in place as of Monday, May 3.
At a glance:
  • Claim: Six senators will be sued for treason for defunding the National Task Force to End Local Communist Insurgency (NTF-ELCAC).
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: The video containing this claim only cited a social media post of a pro-administration lawyer who said that the senators’ suggestion to defund NTF-ELCAC may be construed as treason. It is not equivalent to filing a complaint. NTF-ELCAC’s P19.1-billion budget also remains in place as of Monday, May 3.
  • Why we fact-checked this: A reader emailed a link to a YouTube video containing this claim for verification. The video was also reuploaded on Facebook. As of writing, the videos had over 169,000 combined views on both platforms.
Complete details:

Youtube channel “Robin Sweet Showbiz” uploaded a video on Tuesday, April 27, that falsely claimed 6 senators will be sued for treason because they defunded the government’s anti-communist insurgency task force, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Insurgency (NTF-ELCAC).

The senators mentioned in the video were Joel Villanueva, Risa Hontiveros, Sherwin Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, Franklin Drilon, and Grace Poe. 

“Robin Sweet Showbiz” titled the video, “6 NA SENADOR KAKASUHAN NG TREASON NG ABUGADO DAHIL SA PAGTANGGAL NG BUDGET NG NTF-ELCAC (Lawyer to sue 6 senators with treason for removing NTF-ELCAC’s budget).” It then cited a post by Facebook page “Nick Nañgit – NCN Law,” and then urged its viewers not to vote for the mentioned senators in the next elections.

The video’s claim is false. The social media post by “Nick Nañgit – NCN Law” only said that the senators’ suggestion to defund NTF-ELCAC may be construed as treason. This is not equivalent to filing a complaint. NTF-ELCAC’s P19.1-billion budget also remains in place as of Monday, May 3.

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On April 26, all the senators mentioned in the video, except Hontiveros, drafted a proposed Senate resolution and called for a Senate inquiry on NTF-ELCAC’s P19.1-billion budget. This came after several “baseless” and “unsubstantiated” public claims of its spokespersons – Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr and Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy. (READ: Esperon orders Parlade, Badoy to stop commenting on community pantries)

Hontiveros earlier filed on April 22 a proposed Senate resolution calling on the entire chamber to “strongly condemn” the harassment and red-tagging of community pantries.

The mentioned senators also suggested realigning NTF-ELCAC’s P19-billion budget for pandemic response purposes. The issue hasn’t been resolved yet as of writing.

It is not the first time the public has suggested the realignment of NTF-ELCAC’s huge budget. In October 2020, health workers urged lawmakers to defund the NTF-ELCAC and instead reallocate its budget to 66 public hospitals under the Department of Health (DOH) to help in the COVID-19 pandemic response.

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Health workers: Use P19-B NTF-ELCAC budget to fund cash-strapped public hospitals

A reader emailed the video from “Robin Sweet Showbiz” to Rappler for verification. It had 67,082 views on YouTube as of writing. Claim Check, Facebook’s monitoring tool that identifies potentially dubious posts shared on the platform, flagged an exact copy of the video that was reuploaded by Facebook page “Philippine News Live.” It had over 102,000 views on Facebook as of writing. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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.