Fact check: Text messages falsely claim QC mayor, congressional bet handing out money to citizens

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Fact check: Text messages falsely claim QC mayor, congressional bet handing out money to citizens
This is a screenshot of the text message which the Quezon City Public Information Office said is peddling lies.
Quezon City Public Information Office / Viber

MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte and actor Arjo Atayde, who is running for a congressional seat, are not handing out money in denominations of P1,000 to the city's residents, contrary to a text message's claim. 

CLAIM: On Tuesday, a text message claimed that Belmonte and Atayde are giving out P1,000 each to residents of Brgy. Bahay Toro, Bagong Bantay and Project 6. It said the eligible citizens must be wearing a green shirt to receive the cash and must show up at "Hereford St. cor Congre Ave."

It added that Belmonte and Atayde (who was referred to as a congressman) were buying the three areas in Quezon City.

The text message reads:

"K Brgy punta n po tau sa Hereford St cor. Congre Ave. (Green Gate) at mgsuot lng ng GREEN t-shirt meron bigyan ng 1k gling kay Mayor Joy & Cong. Atayde 11-3 pm lng bukas ang gate. Bblhin n po nla ang buong Brgy Bahay Toro Bgong Bantay & Proj6 Salamat po."


This is false.

There was no such event that occurred. The Quezon City Public Information Office, moreover, warned the public on Tuesday that the message is intended to deceive citizens.

"This did not come from the local government of Quezon City or anyone who is serving it," the QC PIO said in a statement in Filipino over Viber. 


Belmonte is running for re-election this year and is seeking a second term as the city's mayor. This isn't the first time her name was used in a fake message.

In July last year, Belmonte decried a fake congratulatory message addressed to Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz who bagged the historic win at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The message that circulated online included the mayor's picture. 

"In a way, it is somewhat understandable that as the elections draw nearer, malicious individuals will sadly engage in black propaganda and smear campaigns," she said in a statement issued July 28. 

Atayde, meanwhile, filed his certificate of candidacy last year to run as a congressman of Quezon City's first district.  He is running against the city's 1st district representative Onyx Crisologo and Marcus Dee Aurelius. 

According to the 1985 Omnibus Election Code, it is an election offense to give, offer or promise money or anything of value to any person or community to induce them to vote for or against any candidate or withhold their votes in the elections.



This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts

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

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