On August 21, 2022, the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) posted and alert on Facebook, alleging that state security forces abducted Stephen Tauli, member of the Cordillera People’s Alliance Regional Council, in front of a store along Ag-a Road, Appas, Tabuk City, Kalinga. Police report showed that Mr Tauli was on a drinking spree when a group of unidentified men on board a white vehicle allegedly took him in front of a store in Tabuk City.
On August 22, the daughter of Mr Tauli posted on Facebook that her father has returned alive and well. Surprisingly, he was brought back in front of the office of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) also at BRgy Appas. There were no marks of him having been mauled. It is absurd that with these facts, the CHRA immediately concluded that the it is the state forces who are behind Mr. Tauli getting mauled and went missing.
How can they be certain about this when there could have been other factors to be considered? What were Mr Tauli up to days before the incident? What about witnesses who could corroborate said allegation? Has any of them actually saw the mauling and alleged abduction? What transpired during the drinking spree? Have there been any violent altercation between Mr Tauli and those whom he had been drinking with? Where are these people now? There was no corroboration on the vehicle used by the men who took Mr Tauli.
No mention of plate number or witness who actually saw the vehicle. Why did the supposed abductors brought him back to the CPA office with no bruises? Is this mere coincidence? Only naive people will believe that. None of these were considered before the CHRA posted a malicious statement on social media. Rather, they went on spreading a speculation or even a scenario to malign a group without any concrete basis.
This incident is a clear example of fake news and disinformation. It is therefore important that we first look into the facts of the incident. Let us wait for the result of the police investigation and avoid spreading baseless accusations on social media. Let this be a lesson for us to be more cautious and discerning.
Ma. Louisa Foligan, Spokesperson, SAMAHAN NG MAMAMAYANG NAGKAKAISA KONTRA TERORISMO