Asec. Mocha Uson on spread of alleged inaccurate photo: It's symbolism

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 30) — Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson on Tuesday blasted critics of her Facebook post in which she was accused of allegedly misrepresenting Philippine troops on the field.

Uson on Sunday reshared a photo from Facebook page CinEmotion Digital Films. In the post is the photo of soldiers kneeling, as if in prayer. The post was captioned "Even those who are Armed recognise that Jesus is the Command of all the Commanders," with the hashtag "#copypaste_from_the_owner."

Uson's repost was captioned, "Let's pray for our army. Panalangin din po natin ang mga pamilyang naiwan at nababahala sa kalagayan ng kanilang asawa at tatay."

Hundreds of government troops are deployed in Marawi City, battling the Maute group which took control of the city by surprise on March 23.

Uson's repost was met with criticism online, saying the photo was not of Filipino soldiers.

Using reverse Google search, the result yielded the photo was of Honduran police officers kneeling during a day of prayer in 2015.

Uson defended herself, saying she did not say the photo was of the Philippine Army.

"I did not say that picture was taken from Marawi. It's a symbol of army praying… Pag nagpost ba ako ng picture ni Bonifacio na may hawak na itak at may caption na tuloy ang rebolusyon ibig bang sabihin ay lalaban tayong naka-itak???" she said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

[Translation: I did not say that picture was taken from Marawi. It's a symbol of the Army praying. If I post a picture of Bonifacio holding a bolo knife, saying let's fight for the revolution, does it mean we will all fight using bolo knives???]

She added, "Common sense lang na hindi sa atin yan kasi may flag sila sa vest nila. Ba't ko ipopost na sa Pilipinas yan e may flag nga ng ibang bansa. Common sense na it is a symbolism."

[Translation: It's common sense that it's not our Army because of the flag in the vest. Why would I post that it is in the Philippines if there is a flag of a different country? Common sense that it's a symbolism.]

She said her post is simply calling for the public to pray for our troops.

She challenged local media who reported on her Facebook post to use their common sense in reporting.

"'Wag mema lang. Journalist kayo diba?" she said referring to journalists making news about viral social media posts for the sake of having something to report on.

Uson commands a following of more than five million on social media with an active engagement rate online. Her critics regard her and her blog on Facebook as a conduit for so-called "fake news."

State-run news outfit, Philippine News Agency, has also been criticized for publishing erroneous articles and using inaccurate photos. It apologized on Tuesday for the mistakes.