Fact check: Comelec has not disqualified Robredo from 2022 polls

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Fact check: Comelec has not disqualified Robredo from 2022 polls
Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo poses for the media after filing her candidacy to join the 2022 presidential race, at Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay, Metro Manila on October 7, 2021.
AFP / POOL / Ezra Acayan

MANILA, Philippines — Several video posts on Facebook and YouTube claimed that the Commission on Elections had confirmed the disqualification of Vice President Leni Robredo, supposedly due to a crowdfunding initiative by her team. These claims are false. 

What the posts say

 At least three videos have been posting claiming that the Comelec has ruled to disqualify Robredo from the 2022 polls, supposedly due to crowdfunding efforts that foreigners may have donated to.

"Kumpirmadong binatas ng Commission on Elections ang tila naging maling hakbang ni Vice President Leni Robredo at ng kanyang team matapos ang tila naging online limos sa mga foreigners at ilan pang mga Pilipino para sa kanyang campaign sa 2022 elections," one video claimed.

Screenshots of Philstar.com as of October 17, 9:09 a.m.

It added that Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon herself confirmed this on her Twitter account.

The video also quoted a report from the Manila Standard to supposedly support its claim.

What the posts left out

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez immediately squashed false posts implying that the commission had ruled to disqualify Robredo from the 2022 polls as "fake news" — the common umbrella term for misinformation and disinformation.

"VP Leni Robredo has not been disqualified. Video and articles that imply or suggest otherwise are #fakenews," he posted on Twitter on Sunday night.

Robredo, a member of the Liberal Party but running as an independent, filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the presidency on October 7.

The Comelec has also yet to release its official list of candidates for the 2022 polls. An Inquirer.net report quoting spokesperson Jimenez said they may post it in December.

The Manila Standard report that was also read in the video only said that Guanzon has "flagged possible campaign donations by foreigners to Filipino candidates." 

The report did not say that Robredo has been disqualified from the polls.

Essential context

The posts spreading Robredo’s supposed disqualification came days after Comelec Commissioner Guanzon, on October 13, posted on Twitter that "foreigners cannot contribute to any Filipino candidate."

Guanzon posted the tweet as she quoted a news report on crowdfunding support for Robredo’s presidential bid.

In a reply to a lawyer on October 15, Guanzon explained that while crowdfunding is not illegal, she stressed that "foreigners cannot contribute to any candidate."

This was in line with Section 81 of the Omnibus Elections Code that states that it shall be unlawful for a foreign national to "aid any candidate or political party, directly or indirectly, or take part in or influence in any manner any election, or to contribute or make any expenditure in connection with any election campaign or partisan political activity."

Jimenez also explained that Comelec’s reminder on the prohibition against donation from foreigners "[applies] to all would-be candidates."

Why does this matter?

The video posted on the "Duterte News Info" Facebook page already had 1.7 million views on the morning of October 19.On YouTube, the video posted on "Showbiz Fanaticz "already has 228,281 views, while a similar video on "Banat Trending News" was viewed 198,914 views.

The video will lead viewers to believe that Robredo, a known opposition leader, is already out of the running for the 2022 polls.

Jimenez, in a guesting for "The Howie Severino Podcast" in July, said the Comelec is monitoring attempts at voter suppression that can come in "very insidious forms."

Among these is making the voter believe that a candidate has already withdrawn from the race, which means a "unity leader" has been chosen.

In September, Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III also refuted false posts claiming that they withdrew from the presidential and vice presidential race.

Other ways of voter suppression would be making the public believe that the elections have been canceled, which may discourage those yet to register to vote from signing up.

There were also those who would spread false information that operators would know who they vote for. If the voter pushes back and asks how that is possible, they would be told that it is because elections are now computerized.

They would "leverage people's lack of information about modernized elections," Jimenez said. "That suppresses the vote. Some people would rather not vote than expose themselves to retribution."

What type of misinformation is this?

The statements in the flagged videos are examples of false claims.

This classification of misinformation includes posts that can make use of genuine statements and media but are used to push a false narrative.



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

Have a claim you want fact-checked? Reach out to us at [email protected]


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