A photo of President Rodrigo Duterte has been tampered with to show him holding a sign declaring the anti-terrorism bill as a solution to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The manipulated photo appeared in multiple Facebook posts after Duterte on June 1 certified as urgent House Bill 6875, which seeks to amend Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007. The sign the president was flashing in the photo supposedly reads:
SOLUTION SA COVID-19 ANTI-TERROR BILL
The House of Representatives on June 3 passed the bill on final reading despite opposition from various sectors.
The bill provides for, among others, the creation of the Anti-Terrorism Council, which is made up of top Cabinet secretaries and security officials and empowered to determine what constitutes terrorism and authorize arrests without a warrant.
A reverse image search shows the original photo was taken by Agence France Presse’s Ted Aljibe on May 16, 2016, at Duterte’s first press conference as president-elect in Davao City.
The document he was holding contained notes he was referring to at the press conference.
Duterte said at the time he would pursue peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines and would offer it government roles, including a Cabinet position for CPP founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison.
He ended the peace talks with communist rebels on Nov. 23, 2017 and declared the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, as a “designated/identified terrorist organization” under RA 10168, or The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.
The United States designated the CPP-NPA a “foreign terrorist organization” in 2002.
Aljibe’s photo of Duterte has been altered on at least two other occasions: One maliciously linking actress and Duterte critic Agot Isidro to illegal drugs; the other jokingly announcing that Duterte would cancel Valentine’s Day.
Agence France Press. (2020, May 16). Philippines’ president-elect offers olive branch to communist chief. Retrieved from https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/1946064/philippines-president-elect-offers-olive-branch-communist
Cervantes, F. (2020, June 3). House approves anti-terror bill on 3rd reading. Retrieved from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1104838
Jennings, R. (2016, May 16). Upbeat Philippine Economic Forecast After Duterte Election. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphjennings/2016/05/16/fair-to-sunny-philippine-economic-forecast-under-tough-guy-president-elect-duterte/#1b9287db6ca1
Parrocha, A. (2020, June 1). Duterte certifies anti-terror bill as urgent. PNA. Retrieved from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1104615
Proclamation 360. (2017, November 23). Declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army. Retrieved from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/downloads/2017/11nov/20171123-PROC-360-RRD.pdf
Proclamation No. 374. (2017, December 5). Declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA) as a designated/identified terrorist organization under Republict Act No. 10168. Retrieved from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/downloads/2017/12dec/20171205-PROC-374-RRD.pdf
Reuters. (2016, May 16). Philippines’ Duterte offers posts to rebels, vows to renew death penalty. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/philippines-duterte-peace-talks_n_5739cf79e4b077d4d6f37b78?ir=WorldPost