Uson: 'Fake news' post under NBI probe an 'honest mistake'
Photo shows OWWA Deputy Administrator Mocha Uson.
Mocha Uson Facebook page

Uson: 'Fake news' post under NBI probe an 'honest mistake'

Kristine Joy Patag ( - May 18, 2020 - 4:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Workers Welfare Administration official Mocha Uson said a Facebook post that was tagged as "fake news" and is now subject to an investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation was an “honest mistake.”

Uson lifted a photo for the post she made in April from an article by The Philippine STAR that was posted on and that used a file photo of health workers wearing PPEs., the online counterpart of broadsheet The STAR, changed the photo on the same day that the article was published online and included a note on the correction. 

The OWWA deputy administrator went to the NBI headquarters on Monday to respond to a subpoena the bureau sent her over the post.

“What I did, my intention was to inform our countrymen that our government is not neglecting our health workers, our frontliners,” she told reporters in Filipino.

“What I used was a photo from The Philippine Star, a respected mainstream media [outfit], [a] broadsheet. But a wrong photo was used... It was a mistake. The photo was an honest mistake,” she added, in a video posted by Super Radyo dzBB.

On April 2, Uson posted on her Facebook page photos of new sets of PPEs supposedly purchased by the government . One of the photos she used in her post, however, came from SM Foundation and was of PPEs donated to a hospital.

The OWWA official later changed the photo and apologized for the “misleading content on the meme” she attributed to an article by The STAR entitled “First Batch of 1 Million PPEs Delivered.”

NBI Cybercrime Division chief Victor Lorenzo told reporters that Uson submitted photos and a sequence of events on the April 2 social media post.

"We will wait for their affidavit. Will make a report, will have it evaluated," he added.

Cybercrime probe

A copy of the subpoena posted by ABS-CBN News showed that the NBI summoned Uson after it received complaints over an alleged violation of Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said last week the bureau included Uson in its investigations following Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s order to probe "fake news" — a term for disinformation or misinformation, often for propaganda.  

Lavin said early April that the NBI sent out dozens of “invitations” to individuals under its fact-finding probe into social media posts spreading "false news".

The Bayanihan law also punishes individuals or groups spreading false information on the COVID-19 crisis that have “no valid or beneficial effect on the population and are clearly geared to promote chaos, panic, anarchy, fear or confusion.”

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