December 22, 2023
MANILA – Dec. 22 is not a “special half-working day’’ in the country, Malacañang clarified on Thursday, hours after a Palace official shared a “fake” proclamation online.
Malacañang said Proclamation No. 427 “has been edited to appear as an official government declaration, but it lacks any official status or authentication.”
Undersecretary Cesar Chavez, the newly appointed presidential assistant for strategic communications, posted the doctored document on his Facebook account on Thursday morning but later took it down.
Chavez’s post even came with a caption: “Ayan na!” (Here it is)
Before the Palace could flag the fakery, some local government units had already reposted the bogus proclamation on their official Facebook pages. Even the Facebook page of the Philippine Information Agency suboffice in Albay province shared it.
The proclamation was finally taken down on these social media channels after Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil issued a statement calling the proclamation fake.
Chavez, a former radio station manager, later apologized.
“Apologies. I also posted a content that was not first verified by me. For the confusion it has created, the blame fall[s] on me,” he said. “I take full responsibility for this oversight. As a former newsman who has been a stickler for fact-checking, this one evaded me.”
It remained unclear at press time whether Chavez, a former transportation undersecretary who was given a new post in Malacañang on Dec. 5, would be facing sanctions.
Malacañang reminded the public “to seek information from legitimate government sources and avoid sharing unverified or manipulated content.”
Later on Thursday, Malacañang issued the real “Proclamation No. 427,’’ which is about the nine Filipino artists who were named this year’s “Manlilikha ng Bayan.”