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It was a rather embarrassing blunder from President Marcos’ new communications official only two weeks into his job.
Presidential Assistant for Strategic Communications Cesar Chavez is now cleaning up his mess after posting on Facebook a fake document that said December 22 had been declared by Malacañang as a special half-working day.
“Apologies,” he said on Thursday afternoon, December 21.
Chavez shared the fake memo on Thursday morning, with a caption that read: “Ayan na (This is it)!”
Because he is a communications official from Malacañang, it makes sense for news publications to carry that document, right?
Some major media outlets, as well as local government pages, did. They perhaps thought that the document came from the Palace.
As it turned out, there was no such document.
“The document circulating as Proclamation No. 427, declaring Friday, 22 December 2023, as a special (half-working) day throughout the Philippines under the signature of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., is false. It has been edited to appear as an official government declaration, but it lacks any official status or authentication,” Malacañang said on its Official Gazette page.
Proclamation No. 427 also refers to the declaration of nine artists as “Manlilikha ng Bayan for 2023,” signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on December 15.
Chavez is making no excuses, taking full responsibility for the oversight.
“I also posted a content that was not first verified by me. For the confusion it has created, the blame [falls] on me,” he said in a statement.
Chavez, a former radio station manager, added: “As a former newsman who has been a stickler for fact-checking, this one evaded me.”
Marcos transferred Chavez from the Department of Transportation to the Office of the President earlier in December. As presidential assistant for strategic communications, he retains the rank of undersecretary.
Will this be a costly mistake for Chavez? Maybe even our top government officials need a refresher course on fact-checking. – Rappler.com