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Fact check: Vlogger claims Rowena Guanzon now supporting Marcos

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Fact check: Vlogger claims Rowena Guanzon now supporting Marcos
This undated file photo shows Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon. Her division at the commission handles three disqualification suits against presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Former Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon has defended herself over photos showing her meeting with Rep. Martin Romualdez (Leyte 1st District), cousin of presumptive president Bongbong Marcos, saying she was present as a party-list member. 

CLAIM: Guanzon supposedly switched loyalties to the Marcoses after she was photographed shaking hands with them at an event. 

RATING: This is false. 

FACTS: Guanzon has denied this, saying her appearance was only as a guest and she was trying to forge partnerships for her PWD advocacy. 

What the posts say 

In a video posted by pro-administration "information" page DDS Watch, entitled "ROWENA GUANZON bumaliktad? Naisahan ang mga KAKAMPINK, nakipagkamay kay SANDRO MARCOS anak ni BBM" claims that Guanzon switched sides and backed by 

Its basis for this claim? Two photos that surfaced showing Guanzon shaking hands with Sandro Marcos, the son of the presumptive president, and presumptive House Speaker Martin Romualdez, the cousin of Marcos. 

"Just days after the elections, Rowena Guanzon already flipped... for netizens, it looks like Rowena Guanzon duped the kakampinks," the video said in Filipino. 

"Thinking Pinoy" blogger Rey Joseph Nieto even admits in the video that Guanzon is being "a political animal" by "respecting the majority."

"It is not in her interest to go against the majority. So yes, to a certain extent, I give her some credit," he says. "My problem is [that there are] trust issues, because we know what Guanzon did... it's a bad look."

"The problem is that so few opposition members won seats in Congress. If she wants anything to happen, if she wants to get anything done as a congressman, she needs to learn to work together," he also adds.

What they left out 

One of the photos that showed Guanzon shaking hands with the younger Marcos was actually issued by the media arm of Lakas-CMD. 

"The elections are over, politicking is over. Let us all work, let us all unite as one country and one Filipino race. We are all for the Filipino," Romualdez even said in a statement. 

“So thats what we all are about. We are about the House of the people, the House of Representatives of the Phiippines. We are for every Filipino. No more colors no more politics work."

Guanzon later clarified that she was only a guest at the gathering. She was present to represent the P3PWD or Pamilya, Pasyente, at Persons With Disabilities party-list as part of her advocacy for the PWD community. 

"Mga [a]nak, wala tayong mapapasang batas and budget para sa mga PWD kung hindi tayo magtratrabaho with them. Hindi puwedeng kontra lang nang kontra," Guanzon wrote in a Facebook post, adding that it was important for the party-list to work with the incoming lawmakers to forward their advocacy work. 

(We can't pass a law and budget for PWDs if we don't work with them. We can't just go against it.)

"Suportahan natin ang magagandang programa pero hindi magdadalawang isip na batikusin ang mali. Wala akong utang na loob sa kanila, kayo ang nagluklok sa akin dito," she also wrote. 

(Let's support good programs but don't hesitate to criticize the wrong. I'm not indebted to them, you're the ones who installed me here.)

Essential context 

Guanzon, an appointee of the late President Benigno Aquino III, admitted to the media that she voted to disqualify Marcos' bid for the presidency when she was still with the Comelec. She also hinted that there is a “powerful” individual intervening in the release of the main ruling.

Lawyer George Briones, PFP general counsel, said Guanzon should be "disbarred, with forfeiture of her retirement benefits and lifetime pension" for "illegally" disclosing her vote on the disqualification petition against Marcos pending before the Comelec’s First Division.

That same week, content from pro-administration accounts flooded social media claiming that Guanzon said that the Robredo family was "not very well educated."

This was eventually fact-checked by news sites Rappler and ABS-CBN

Guanzon eventually posted on social media with the caption “Back to work! From Commissioner to Congresswoman.“ She is, however, not a nominee of the P3PWD Party-list. 

Why does this matter?

The video in question, which was published on May 16, has garnered nearly 12,000 views on YouTube. It was also shared on the DDS Watch page on Facebook, which has 8,000 followers as of this post. 

DDS Watch, which joined YouTube in January 2018, describes its content as "sharing latest news and trends in the Philippines." It also encourages its viewers to "keep supporting [President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.]" It is unclear who runs the account. 

Tsek.ph — a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 Philippines’ elections and an initiative of academe, civil society groups and media — said its findings indicate the Marcos Jr. is the top beneficiary of online disinformation. 

On the other hand, it also found that online disinformation targeted his rivals the most, including Vice President Leni Robredo and other noted opposition figures. — reviewed by Franco Luna 

___

This story is supported by 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 and an initiative of academe, civil society groups and media to counter disinformation and provide the public with verified information.

Want to know more about our fact-checking initiative? Check our FAQs hereHave a claim you want fact-checked? Reach out to us at [email protected]

 

2022 ELECTIONS

BONGBONG MARCOS

FACT CHECK

ROWENA GUANZON

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