Volunteers not paid for support, Robredo camp says of social media claims

Volunteers not paid for support, Robredo camp says of social media claims
Around 100 vehicles converge along Session Road in Baguio City yesterday to join a nationwide caravan in support of the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo and her running mate Sen. Francis Pangilinan.
Andy Zapata Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo's office and her supporters on Sunday dismissed allegations on social media of people getting "incentives" to show up at activities to express support for her and Sen. Francis Pangilinan, her running mate. 

In separate statements, both the Office of the Vice President and Team Leni Robredo said it checked on the allegations and found them untrue.

"After a thorough investigation with all the team leads in the areas that participated in the caravan, we found that no such activity took place," the statement read in Filipino. 

"Because we were super solid yesterday, we received these pictures this morning. Fake news again. Let us expect these kinds of defamation as we grow stronger in numbers," Robredo's spokesperson Barry Guttierez also said in a tweet. 

One of the first viral images making the allegations were shared by Facebook page Wer2GoPH, which describes itself as an "infotainment vlog. " The page claimed that some Filipinos were given P100 bills to participate in the caravan. 

A similar claim was made by Manuel Mejorada, who identifies as a freelance investigative journalist. Mejorada, who also describes himself on his Twitter profile as the "Number one enemy of Senator Franklin Drilon", was convicted for libel in 2017.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction in 2018 and the Supreme Court did the same in 2019. Mejorada initially posted a photo of the supposed "incentive" of P100, a Fudgee Bar, a face mask and what was supposedly a sticker in support of Robredo. In a subsequent tweet, he labeled the photo as "CTTO", or online shorthand for "Credits to the Owner".

This screenshot shows the Facebook page Wer2GoPH, where claims originated that Vice President Leni Robredo's camp paid off participants to attend its support motorcade, posting content defending presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos, the son of the late dictator.
Philstar.com screenshot

Team Leni Robredo: We condemn any form of buying public support

In a statement, Team Leni Robredo said it "strongly condemns any type of support purchase and we call on the public to be more critical in sharing these types of information on social media."  

"As the volunteer arm of the Leni Robredo presidential campaign, TLR believes in the principles held by our constituents."

Speaking earlier Sunday on her weekly radio show aired over dzXL, the vice president said she was not expecting the numbers that came out in support of her bid for the highest post in the land. 

"We were so shocked yesterday. I did not expect that it would be that big because before yesterday, many people from different areas were conducting caravans which were also successful. But, we were shocked because from north to south, people participated," she said in mixed Filipino and English.   

"What's good about this is that it shows that it is becoming a people’s movement. This is not traditional campaigning." 



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