Fact checks on public officials

FACT CHECK: Surigao del Sur Governor Ayec Pimentel is alive


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FACT CHECK: Surigao del Sur Governor Ayec Pimentel is alive
The governor posts a video on his Facebook page debunking the social media posts about his supposed death 

CLAIM: Surigao del Sur Governor Alexander “Ayec” Pimentel died at the age of 71 due to lung cancer on Monday, April 1, according to his family. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: As of writing, the post from the Facebook page “Surigao Del Sur Ngayon” has gained 805 reactions, 398 comments, and 1,700 shares.

The post included a screenshot of a purported social media post from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., extending his condolences to Pimentel’s family.

It also featured a screenshot of supposed social media graphic from GMA Public Affairs allegedly confirming Pimentel’s death. The report cited the governor’s brother, Surigao Del Sur 2nd District Representative Johnny Pimentel, as a source.

The facts: Pimentel is still alive. In a video posted on Facebook on Monday, the Surigao del Sur governor addressed the false claims about his death.

“I would like to tell my beloved Surigaonons that your good governor, by God’s mercy, is still alive. These evil deeds do not belong to the Lord and cannot be praised by a Christian,” he said in his native language.

“This only shows how desperate our political opponents are. We will not be deceived by fake love, and I will continue to serve my brothers here in Surigao del Sur. We’re together in fighting malicious and harmful lies,” he added.

In a Facebook post, Representative Pimentel also debunked the fake posts about his brother’s death. 

“This is to clarify that these are fake, baseless, and untrue. Gov. Ayec is very much alive and well,” the lawmaker said. 

“It is urged that everyone refrain from spreading the said fraudulent stories. Let us not be victims to April Fool’s pranksters, rumor-mongers, and peddlers of fake news,” he added. 

The Pimentel brothers and their families are currently in Japan. On Facebook, Representative Pimentel shared a photo of their family at the ambassador’s residence in Tokyo, Japan. They were hosted by Philippine Ambassador to Japan Milen Garcia Albano and Isabela Governor Rodito Albano.

The social media accounts of Marcos and GMA Public Affairs also do not show any posts related to the supposed death of the governor. – James Patrick Cruz/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. You may also report dubious claims to the #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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