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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has deplored moves by some sinister groups to target some of her family members, notably her sister and son, as unwitting victims to fake news across social media platforms.

Noting that no one has become immune from fake news nowadays, De Lima vowed to fight back the tide of fake news, including lies and deceits, directed not only to her and her family but also to those who are critical of the present Duterte administration.

“My sister was reported to have been arrested in Beijing for drug trafficking. Her friends called her about that. When that fake news came out, my sister happened to be at the hospital, watching over my sick mother,” she recalled.

“Another fake news targeted my youngest son, Vincent, who was reported to have been arrested at an airport in Berlin, for possession of drugs. My son has never set foot in another country,” she added.

The fake news articles about De Lima’s sister and son both circulated in social media in December 2016 and were mostly shared and re-shared by pro-Duterte pages and websites to various social media platforms, including Facebook and Youtube.

De Lima, one of the human rights defenders under threat, lamented how some of the fake news stories and videos uploaded online may have easily corrupted the public’s mind in trying to differentiate between what is real and what is fake news.

“Absurd and incredible these fake news are, the sad reality is some people tend to be fooled into believing them,” she said.

The Senator from Bicol recalled instances where several fake news articles peddled against her made their rounds on Facebook and Youtube, causing her relative and friends to worry about her condition.

“I remember there were relatives and friends who frantically contacted me or my family to check on my well-being when it was reported that I had committed suicide, or was suffering from one ailment or another,” she shared.

Last January 2017, De Lima delivered a fiery privilege speech to denounce the unabated proliferation of fake news on the Internet and other social networking sites, where she likened fake news to a “virus” that could “bring about a zombie apocalypse.”

She has been at the receiving end of more than 33 fake news stories as part of the well-oiled and orchestrated campaign to damage her good name and discredit her due to her vocal opposition to the Duterte administration’s murderous war on drugs.

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