ABS-CBN’s “Flesh-Eating Disease” Hoax Takes a Sadly Predictable Turn

Prophet-MemeSo the story goes like this: Sometime in April of last year, a self-styled “prophet” — an Indian man whose name is either “Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj” or “Vincent” — of a hiterto unheard-of religious organization called Jesus Ministries delivered a fire-and-brimstone sermon to a gathering in the Cuneta Astrodome, in which he prophesied, among other things, that a terrible flesh-eating disease would sweep the world, beginning in the province of Pangasinan. On Monday, the prophecy, at least to those with extraordinarily poor critical thinking skills, appeared to have come true, thanks to a hilariously-dramatic report on the ABS-CBN news program Bandila, replete with a correspondent interviewing pathetic victims of the “strange new disease” while swathed head-to-toe in surgical garb.

The disturbing story immediately started a storm on Twitter, with the hashtag #PrayforPangasinan being the country’s top trending topic for most of the day, even long after the story was revealed by anxious provincial and Department of Health officials to be a complete hoax — the two victims (“two” being a rather small number for an epidemic of any sort) were immediately hospitalized after the story was aired by ABS-CBN, whereupon it was discovered the first, a young woman, was suffering from the combined effects of leprosy and an adverse reaction to some medication, whereas the male “victim” had nothing more than a severe case of psoriasis.

So far, no word from ABS-CBN as to when they plan on eating the humble pie they so richly deserve for seizing a moment in the spotlight as the World’s Stupidest and/or Most Irresponsible News Network, but Filipino people being what they are, the embarrassed media outlet may yet avoid any repercussions, thanks to this:

PrayForPangasinanYes, you are seeing that correctly: The mood among the country’s netizens has quickly shifted from “unfounded panic” to “See, the prayers worked!”

As some of us here at Get Real are fond of saying — and find ourselves having to say far, far too often — the joke writes itself.

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About BenK

I write a column for The Manila Times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Most of the energy sector and the heads of several government agencies probably wish I didn't.

57 Comments on “ABS-CBN’s “Flesh-Eating Disease” Hoax Takes a Sadly Predictable Turn”

  1. ABS-CBN has done it again…rushing to deliver news that wasn’t researched thoroughly.

    And the ignorant masa will no doubt defend this biased station, unless ABS-CBN will do a press release about the error they have made.

    A pity that the whole country will suffer from this joke gone horribly wrong.

  2. Once again, proof that the Philippines is a nation of morons. And of course people like the Lopezes continue to capitalize on this.

        1. I carefully look at the election results. MAJORITY of the filipinos voted for inept politicians.

  3. I see this as another distraction for the Netizens.

    First, the rape case, and now, this. It does flood the social media feeds, and it will take the minds of others off of the “more important” issues. It keeps the easily manipulated netizens at bay.

    1. Moronic news keeps the people from inquiring more about their moronic president.
      Classic smooths moves you got there Abias-CBN.

  4. Well, my Sherlock nerve tingles me again. My take on that:

    Please compare these two videos:
    http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/video/171001/24oras/dalaga-nangangailangan-ng-tulong-medikal-para-maipagamot-ang-maraming-sugat-sa-buong-katawan (posted July 2013)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CthXIWKdW0o&list=HL1393311151 (posted a day ago)

    Now, first video patient is named “Mary Grace” and mother is “Leticia”
    second video patient is “Claire” and mother is “Letty”. Hmmmmm…

    First video is fine, you can see Leticia’s face, but Letty’s face was blurred out. Check on the angles of the two persons.

    Second video:
    * The reporter + doctor was wearing some blue suits but other people weren’t including her mother. Assuming the case is not contagious, why are they wearing protective gear? If it is contagious, why aren’t the other relatives were not stricken with this illness?
    * And what’s with the 5 second hashtag on the start of the report? I find it new for a report. They really made up a “hashtag” for the story for it to be mentioned?

    whew 🙂

  5. Actually that “flesh-eating disease” already spread to my household last night. I caught my niece in the living room biting the skin off around her toenails.

  6. that story by abs-cbn is not a public affairs item… it is a pitch to attract more viewers to attract more advertisers… they are just selling the masses’ gullibility… abs-cbn is a for-profit entity (just like the rest of the mainstream media worldwide) lest we forget… its primary goal is to make as much money to the shareholders as possible at the consuming public’s expense…

  7. ABS-CBN is the reason why most of us Filipinos and dumb and ignorant. They should stop with the soap operas that don’t have any substance or sense.

  8. I would rather watch ABS CBN because they have the filipino heart. Maybe in their haste this time reporting was inaccurate, but better a honest filipino broadcaster for the masa than have evil kano CNN foreign propagandas brainwashing my children. The foreign news cannot be trusted because they are not filipino thus do not safeguard the truth. The good news about our country CNN will never broadcast because they want put bad image of us.

    1. Filipino and truth. Yes those two things. Really go together. I have seen the error of my ways and will only watch abs CBN since you said so. Btw , does Noynoy give you the courtesy of a reach around ? I have no idea what that means. Just heard in Full Metal Jacket.

    2. jesus christ. i wouldn’t waste time replying to such a moronic statement. No matter how hard i would try to simplify my explanation to you, a person of your level of intellect could never ever comprehend.

    3. “I would rather watch ABS CBN because they have the filipino heart.”

      So you flat-out admit that you would rather stay brainwashed and live a life of mediocrity than question their dubious reporting?

      “Maybe in their haste this time reporting was inaccurate, but better a honest filipino broadcaster for the masa than have evil kano CNN foreign propagandas brainwashing my children. ”

      For you, foreign media reporting the TRUTH about what happened in Tacloban is eeeviillll because they exposed your president as a total incompetent f*ck.
      So much butthurt man, let it go.

      “The foreign news cannot be trusted because they are not filipino thus do not safeguard the truth.”

      You are only saying that AGAIN since they exposed your boss as incompetent. Local media is controlled by your boss and that doesn’t even safeguard truth but instead it propagates LIES like what you are posting here.

      “The good news about our country CNN will never broadcast because they want put bad image of us.”

      WRONG AGAIN, CNN is also on cable or you forgot to mention that in your haste to troll. They are reporting the TRUTH and you are clearly too butthurt to accept it.

      TROLL HARDER

    4. What a dumb statement you’ve made there: “The foreign news cannot be trusted because they are not filipino thus do not safeguard the truth. The good news about our country CNN will never broadcast because they want put bad image of us.”

      So an American can’t pitch the news in London because he’s not British? And I guess you would rather hear perfumed lies than bittersweet truths about the Philippines? I pity your kids because they have a parent who’s as dumb as a pile of nails.

    5. “It seems to me like the best part of you ran down the crack of your momma’s ass and ended up as a brown stain on the mattress!”
      Full metal jacket

  9. Unless you go and investigate and see for yourselves, Do not believe everything what CNN tells you, and of course the incompetent Abs cbn ( i hate tony Velasquez’s face and karen davillas moronic questioning).
    And how has FB become a source of reliable information? A lot of idiots out there.

    1. i agree. the people who unknowingly spread this kind of BS can use facebook & twitter and yet they can not do a simple google search to verify if it really is legit. what a bunch of… -_-

  10. ABS-CBN knew all along that this is not real.. This is just a test run. They succeeded with their goal of causing mass hysteria. And now that they’ve gauged that the Filipinos are indeed gullible enough to believe everything reported by them, they are now preparing for the really big bombs to be dropped. They’re just waiting for the call from the Yellow Government on when and how. If these times weren’t damned enough, let’s see how the country will be when it becomes forever.

  11. This shows that common Filipinos are very gullible to this type of propaganda. This event shows how effective their propaganda machine is.

    In India, Self-proclaim prophets are jailed, they are considered criminals in their state because they misinform the public and to the extent that they use them to their advantages.

    I do not believe ABS CBN on their broadcast. Firstly because, If there is really a flesh eating disease, the Philippines would be in World Wide News. Second, there will be multinationals arriving, experts in health, bacteriology, virology etc., from the World Health Organization. Lastly, I do not believe in ABS CBN because for decades they are paid hacks of the Yellow Government, covering lies, creating propaganda, and turning devils into saints.

  12. Bravo ABS-CBN !!! You achieved your goals of causing panic among your kapamilya fantards and adding another layer of distraction on how incompetent your master, PWEsident Noynoy,is.

  13. That is one way to hide the truth do that people won’t panic…..but in reality it is true….the government made a press release so that people will calm down …..let us be very vigilant.

    1. If it means repenting for being gullible for 28 years, then sure. However, I’m not betting on this happening anytime soon.

  14. This is very sad and frightening at the same time knowing that majority of Filipinos are loyal with local TV networks and are greatly influenced by the latter in many aspects. I agree in what the “more educated ” people know about unfounded, poorly researched, overyhyped-to-get-attention news. No offense to whoever for the quote but truth tells us that yes, this is the national TV, and many will believe in the news as is, without further asking and go spread the news like wildfire.

    The local media (not just ABS) must pick it up frome here. I believe they have top-caliber personnel to gather and filter more substantial and useful news. The country is already suffering from bouts of national and international issues and the media not being able to help, to say the least makes it worse.

    1. Audience has been dumbed down too much for too long. They couldn’t pay attention to anything with smidgen of intelligence if their lives depended on it.

  15. ABS-CBN is the media of the Lopezes. The prime propagada network of Aquino. His sister, Kris Aquino works there…showing her antics.

    I guess, it’s not a flesh eating virus/bacteria , or whatever. It is a Brain eating one. Aquino is already afflicted by this desease. His few brain cells left; are slowly being eaten…

  16. Flipnoys believes more what that quack prophet ‘prophesied’ and what that Abias-CBN ‘reported’ tells them than DOH aka Real Science people! And we whine why we never became a rich country?
    India and China already have their satellites on the moon yet until now Flipnoys still believe that earthquakes and typhoons are caused by God’s wrath. Pathetic, uberly pathetic, so pathetic Filipino can replace the word pathetic itself.

    =____=;

    Somebody bring a nuclear bomb and carpet bomb-shit their headquarters in Mother Ignacia st. Quezon City NOW.

  17. What the hell is wrong with these people? (What do you mean “these people”?) I’m talking about the people who swallow the bullshit (Philippine News) fed to them each and every day without question. The news media personalities have spent the last week sucking each others dick over what “they” did during EDSA 28 years ago while at the same time feeding the people bullshit today. So long as GMA-7, ABS-CBN, etc throw in a generous portion of showbiz gossip and add a little news about some 1/10 Filipino born and raised overseas the people stay happy.

    I know exactly how ‘Taylor’ (Charleston Heston’s’ character in “the Planet of the Apes) felt when first seeing the humans in the field… “If this is the best they’ve got around here, in six months we’ll be running this planet. “

  18. This could be a new low for Phlippine media for setting up a hoax as a diversionary tactic. I wonder if this is related to the disapproval of netizens over the ruling of online libel as constitutional and some of their attempts to protest at EDSA yesterday. ABS-CBN could have just said that the diseased are in intensive care now, and stop the coverage at that. Then they could get away so easily.

  19. This is the classic result of FREE PRESS and NO OBLIGATION AT ALL.

    FREEDOM? or FREE-DOOOOM! Somebody or something should be held responsible.

  20. As I understand it, the Province of Pangasinan and especially the two unfortunate “victims” involved now have strong grounds for libel cases against ABS-CBN.

  21. They should be held liable, If ABS CBN is a person or a politician, this is a ground for impeachment. Betrayal of Public Trust

  22. I don’t know why there are so many gullible people these days. is it not imperative to scrutinize reports first before reacting?

  23. Just a heads-up: There are two of these nutbags – Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj and Vincent Selvakumar; “prophet Sadhu” interprets the prophesies (read as: gibberish) made by “prophet Vincent”.
    Either way, they’re both nutbags whose job description is to spread fear and idiocy among the gullible masses.

    You don’t need a “prophet” to tell you that the Philippines will experience typhoons and earthquakes. No sh*t Sherlock, that’s in the Geography subject taught to us in elementary school; and diseases? To be expected in a tropical climate and especially so in a country with piss-ass government apathy!

    Who needs Multi-Level Marketing and Networking, if you can make your own religion and enjoy tax-free income? And these nutjobs who call themselves faithful? A “faith” driven by scaremongering tactics and doomsday prophecies is no faith at all, but damn if it isn’t a recession-proof business model.

  24. Very irresponsible for ABS to give such news to the public. Sobra. Makapanakot lang. Maling mali. I condemn them for that. Dapat mabigyan ng action yan.

  25. This trend among the giant tv networks ain’t new. Watching local news is synonymous with reading tabloid. full of garbage. Filtered garbage naman. They should be blamed for the mediocre attitude of our countrymen. They will give you crap in the morning, make you look stupid and gives you cash at noon, make you cry in the afternoon, then give you another bag of crap before making you cry again. This pattern goes around for years.

  26. Of course they should be prosecuted for libel because not only did they “report” a falsehood, but the words from the mouth of “Vincent” should be prosecuted for simply causing a public health panic where none should have happened.

  27. ABS-CBN exagerrates everything about flesh eating disease in Pangasinan. Masyado nang OA, credibility check please.

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