Despite the successful return of Balangiga bells in its hometown after 117 years of being in possession of the United States, some media outlets still found negative news related to the said historical event.
After the turnover ceremony of the bells led by President Rodrigo Duterte in the town of Balangiga in Eastern Samar, several news networks reported that some members of the presidential staff tried to shoo the members of the Catholic Church in the said event.
They got the source from Fr. Edmel Raagas, claiming that Borongan Bishop Crispin Barrete Varquez and Apostolic Nuncio Gabriele Giordano Caccia were told by the members of the presidential staff to leave the event before Duterte arrived.
“Priests, including the Borongan bishop, the Archbishop of the Military Ordinariate (AMS) of the United States, and the Apostolic Nuncio, were earlier told to go out of the Balangiga plaza. Duterte only wants Archbp. Valles to be in the area. Some priests were even asked to remove their Roman collars so as not to offend the President. Also, chairs were placed in front of the priests to cover them.” Diocese of Borongan Facebook page said in their post.
However, photos and several videos show that the Bishop Barrete and and Apostolic Nuncio Caccia were present during the event and they even shook hands with the President when he arrived.
In the video posted by PCOO, the camera was even pointed to the position of Apostolic Nuncio Caccia.
Several supporters of Duterte pointed out that if the President wanted to cover the priests who attended the event, why the camera of PCOO took some footages of the Catholic officials.
Several netizens criticized the alleged fake news spread by Diocese of Borongan.
“You are spreading FAKE NEWS!!! Pictures and Videos of civilians prove otherwise. Instead of fostering love and peace, you sow HATRED AND DISCOURSE! May God have mercy on your souls!” Monique Francoise wrote.
“It is a sin to lie and you are lying. If you don’t take this malicious post down I will most certainly expose you and your evil lies. We have proof that this didn’t happen.” Sherry Zimmer told the Diocese of Borongan
“Instead of being thankful to pdu30 the diocese is trying to sow anger! Grabe” Yolanda Ortiz said.
As of writing the Diocese of Borongan is not yet releasing a new statement on their claims.