Overview:

Notes and trends on election-related disinformation from verified claims and fact-checks of Tsek.ph partners.

Presidential candidates increase campaign efforts

With less than a hundred days before Filipinos take to the polls, presidential aspirants boosted campaign efforts with media appearances, from participating in presidential interviews to creating viral digital content. These became a steady source of quotes and videos used to create spurious content disseminated across online channels.

As Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. failed to appear in another interview, for the third time, netizens scorned his evasions to discuss his platform live whereas his supporters attempted to overturn the situation by leading online readers to manufactured falsehoods.

A columnist falsely claimed that former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III did not participate in any presidential debate when he campaigned in 2010. An art card that gained traction online also misrepresented a quote made by the former president as well. Another alleged that Vice President Leni Robredo declined a radio interview when, in fact, it was moved after a conflict of schedule.

From the interviews, one misleading claim involved a quote by Robredo answering a question concerning the mining industry. While another was taken from a question by a talk show host on whether the country is already considered a narco state. Like Robredo, other presidential candidates fell victim to misleading claims too. Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who answered a question related to the country’s diplomatic relations with China, was misquoted in a viral post.

Fool’s gold and false connections

While Marcos was nowhere in the presidential interviews, he was very much present in several false claims being propagated online. Differing allegations regarding the Tallano gold, his supposed foreign gold investments, and their family’s regime of corruption continue to surface. Fake endorsements increased as more famous personalities are drawn into the manufactured narrative, among them K-pop superstar Jimin of BTS, an alleged Saudi princess, and a made-up version of Jose Rizal who lived more than a hundred years.

Fact-checkers also caught a post that claimed former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.’s supposed ties with Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, the president of the Communist Party of the Philippines. These are all untrue as verified by Tsek.ph’s pool of partners. Even vice presidential candidate Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan was not spared—one falsehood claiming that Sison is his “master.”

Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez also made false statements to promote Marcos. The ex-actor and model declared that only Marcos helped the city during disasters. It was found out that in 2013, then-Saranggani congressman Manny Pacquiao donated P1.3 million to Ormoc City government. Finally, Meta issued a statement to clarify that Facebook has no ties with Robredo, a claim propagated by false news peddlers.

Political fact-checking workshop held by Tsek.ph and conducted by VERA Files

Tsek.ph media partner Vera Files led an online workshop on political fact-checking on Feb. 4. Partners from media, the academe and civil society participated in the interactive discussion. The workshop aims to equip editors, journalists and media practitioners with up-to-date fact-checking techniques and strategies to combat the onslaught of election-related disinformation as the May elections draw near.

More this week:

Resurfaced issues on Robredo’s win in the 2016 elections:

False claims on Marcos’ credentials as a presidential candidate:

Robredo’s campaign faces more falsehoods from detractors:

 FELIPE JOSE GONZALES

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Tsek.ph is a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 Philippines’ elections. It is an initiative of academe, media and civil society to counter disinformation and provide the public with verified information.