"Please do not believe everything you get from group chats."
This was Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen's sentiment following rumors that he is asking for prayers in handling the disqualification case of presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
In a tweet on Monday, May 23, the magistrate said the messages being passed around on social media group chats are fake news.
“Suddenly getting messages from friends that they are praying for me. Apparently there is fake news going around that I am asking for prayers from everyone. Those who know me know my beliefs. Also, I am well po. Please do not believe everything you get from group chats,” he tweeted.
Leonen further denied the claims in another tweet where he reminded people that posting unvalidated information is also a form of spreading disinformation.
“I know you mean well. But kindly be critical about what you send to others. Just because you receive a message that you want to believe it does not make it true. When you repost unvalidated information, you participate in disinformation,” he wrote in his tweet.
“I did not ask for prayers from everyone," he added.
I know you mean well. But kindly be critical about what you send to others. Just because you receive a message that you want to believe it does not make it true.— Marvic Leonen — maroon check (@marvicleonen) May 23, 2022
When you repost unvalidated information, you participate in disinformation
I did not ask for prayers from everyone
Leonen said likewise in his reply to a now-deleted tweet by another netizen: “This is false information po. But thank you for your concern. Let's not pass on invalidated information. We just participate in disinformation if we do so. Many thanks again."
The false messages about Leonen's prayer requests have been making the rounds on social media group chats in the past few days.
“Forwarding as received. Justice Leonen is asking for prayers asap. He will handle the dq case of BBM. Lets storm heaven for Justice Leonen. Requesting prayer warriors. Please pass around,” one message read.
Moreover, one Facebook post even asked for the intercessions of the late Corazon Aquino and Susan Roces in Leonon's rumored review of the case.
“Cory and Susan help us pray for the strength of Justice Marvin Leonen for he will handle the disqualification case of BBM. For Filipinos who love our country, our freedom, our democracy LETS STORM HEAVEN FOR PRAYERS TO GIVE STRENGTH TO MARVIN LEONEN...in Jesus name. Amen,” the post said.
A Facebook group named Angat Buhay Global reposted the FB post and also urged its 1.5K followers to pray.
The false request for prayer is associated with the petition to disqualify the candidacy of Marcos Jr. that reached the Supreme Court last week.
The petition, spearheaded by counsel Theodore Te, requests to declare Marcos Jr.'s Certificate of Candidacy (COC) as void.
In addition, the petition asks the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order to stop Congress from canvassing presidential votes for Marcos Jr. and proclaiming him president until the resolution for the petition is issued. It comes a month after Comelec dismissed DQ cases versus Marcos Jr.
The petition is anchored on Marcos Jr.'s failure to file his income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 when he was serving as the governor of Ilocos Norte. It also covers the Marcoses' alleged family estate tax liability.
Prior to debunking the fake prayer requests, Leonen told bar examiners that posting prayers to deities and saints, mantras, motto, and special pleas to the examiner or bar chairperson is considered cheating and can resort to disqualification from the 2022 bar exam.