False information can literally cause deaths. That’s why the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is warning Filipinos about misinformation on election matters gathered from group chats online.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez posted in a length Twitter post, “Group chats are sources of unsubstantiated information, opinions, and speculations. Be careful about spreading posts found in group chats. If you cannot personally verify their accuracy and veracity, it is suggested you refrain from spreading them. #fightfake”
He posted this statement as a response to a Twitter user who was sharing information from a Viber group about the possibility of Sara Duterte running for president in the upcoming 2022 national elections. The tweet also shared that former senator Bongbong Marcos will be running for vice president instead because “Comelec will disqualify him upon instruction of President Duterte.” The false tweet also said the move is brokered by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
“This tweet shares unsubstantiated conclusions clearly based on nothing but speculation. This is a form of misinformation, regardless of the intention for tweeting. Stop spreading fake news. #fightfake,” Jimenez replied to the netizen.
In case you’re not aware of the latest developments in Philippine elections, incumbent Davao mayor Sara Duterte recently withdrew her reelection bid in the city. She has yet to announce her election plans to the public. Hence, the grapevine is going wild with speculations.
It looks like the public will know for sure if she is indeed running for a different government post by November 15. Meanwhile, the petition to cancel Marcos’ presidential candidacy has been raffled off to the second division of Comelec.
Given that misinformation can cause a lot of confusion, let’s hope things get cleared soonest. The 2022 national elections are only a few months away, and the public deserves to know the truth.