FACT CHECK: No, these are not images of suspects arrested over Cebu teen's slay

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 14 2019 06:25 PM

Posts that have been shared hundreds of times on social media contain images that they claim show suspects who have been arrested in the Philippines over the March 2019 killing of a teenage girl.

The claims are false; the images show two separate, unrelated 2018 arrests. Police told AFP they have not detained anyone over the recent killing.

The posts, which can be seen here and here, contains a screenshot and a video that they claim show men who have been arrested over the March 2019 killing and mutilation of a 16-year-old girl in Lapu-Lapu City.

Below is a screenshot of one of the posts:

Screenshot of website

The misleading posts' headline, when translated to English, says: “3 suspects who killed the 16-year old rape victim in Lapu-Lapu city who was also skinned have been arrested.”

The killing of the girl has attracted widespread media attention in the Philippines, for example here, with President Rodrigo Duterte expressing anger over the incident.

A reverse image search traced the photo of the three men used in the misleading posts back to this YouTube video about the arrest of six young Filipino men in 2018 over claims they had smoked marijuana.

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The image used in the misleading post appears at 5:52 in the video. It is a screengrab which has been flipped from the original.

AFP did a fact-check post on the young men in the marijuana case.
Using search engine aggregator IntelTechniques, AFP traced the pixelated image in the misleading post to similar pictures of the murdered girl that have appeared in Philippine media.

The photo in Philippine media and the misleading post both show a person lying on their left side, with the right arm crossed over the chest in a grassy area.

The misleading post also contains a video. Clicking on the video leads to a Philippine news program report which was uploaded to YouTube on July 14, 2018.

The news report is about the July 2018 arrest of three suspects over a rape case in the central province on Bulacan.

The police city director for Lapu-Lapu told AFP that they had not arrested any suspects over the March 2019 murder and skinning case.

“No, we have not done any arrests yet. We are still pursuing them, hunting them down,” Police Col. Limuel Obon said in a phone interview on March 13, 2019.

The post has been shared over 200 times.