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Solon reminds military: Make sure media releases adhere to facts, truth

House Committee on Public Information chair Ron Salo on Wednesday reminded the military that their media releases must be based on facts and the truth, amid the Philippine Army's admission that the photo of supposedly surrendering rebels they released was "manipulated."

In a statement, Salo said that a sound crowd analysis of the manipulated photo was enough basis for an internal investigation and slapping possible sanctions to those behind it.

"The netizen’s outrage is understandable and justified. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s order for an investigation is both prudent and commendable," he said.

Netizens last week tagged as "manipulated" the pictures the military released regarding the supposed surrender of members of New People's Army.

Philippine Army's 9th Infantry Division has admitted that its line unit manipulated a picture, but there was no intention to mislead as it was only done to protect the identities of the "former rebels."

But Salo said one "doctored image" may cast doubt on the news releases and information campaigns of the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines, and even that of the Philippine National Police.

"What also worries me are other possible future consequences like delays in the release of information because of the abundance of caution the military would exercise as control measures," he said.

"Even in so-called propaganda materials, the truth and real facts must not be sacrificed," he added.

AFP Chief of Staff General Noel Clement has already ordered a "thorough" investigation into the manipulated photo. —Erwin Colcol/LBG, GMA News