PARTLY FALSE: Cory Aquino to blame for media ownership provision in 1987 Constitution

Claim: The media ownership provision in the 1987 Constitution that allows only Filipinos to own mass media was approved by former president Corazon Aquino.

Facebook page VOVph posted a graphic that contained this claim on June 15. The graphic had the photos of Aquino and her son and former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

The graphic had a text that reads: “The Constitution drafted and ratified during AQUINO administration requires 100% Filipino ownership of Mass media is haunting Lopez back. The cyber crime law signed by Noynoy AQUINO on Sep 2012 CONVICTS Maria Ressa.”

VOVph captioned its post “AQUINO LEGACY,” followed by two laughing emojis.

Claim Check, Facebook’s monitoring tool, flagged the post for fact checkers to verify. The tool also showed that Facebook users reported it at least 22 times for containing false information. As of writing, it had over 1,700 shares, 4,300 reactions, and 286 comments.

Rating: PARTLY FALSE

The facts: The section that allows only Filipino citizens to own mass media in the country is in the 1987 Constitution, but it is not a new provision. The ownership provision was also in the 1973 Constitution, which was ratified during the administration of Ferdinand Marcos.

Under the general provisions of the 1973 Constitution, which was promulgated after Marcos' declaration of Martial Law, section 7 reads: “The ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations wholly owned and managed by such citizens.”

The 1987 Constitution expanded the provision to include the regulation of commercial mass media.

Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution’s general provisions reads: “The ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly-owned and managed by such citizens. The Congress shall regulate or prohibit monopolies in commercial mass media when the public interest so requires. No combinations in restraint of trade or unfair competition therein shall be allowed.”

ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III's Filipino citizenship was questioned by critics opposing ABS-CBN's franchise renewal. (READ: PARTLY FALSE: Gabby Lopez is an American citizen)

Meanwhile, it is true that former president Noynoy Aquino signed the cybercrime law in 2012. The cyber libel provision was proposed by Senator Tito Sotto.

In relation to the conviction of Rappler executive editor Maria Ressa and former researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr, Noynoy Aquino said: “It’s not clear to me how the judge was able to reach the conclusion that there was malice [intended] in the [Rappler] story.” (READ: Aquino: Why not use cybercrime law to go after trolls, purveyors of fake news?)

It’s not the first time Rappler fact checked a claim posted by Facebook page VOVph. In 2017, it wrongly compared reports from non-consecutive years of an index in an attempt to question the accuracy of Ressa's tweets and Rappler's reports. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.