Fact check: Viral quote cards pounce on Robredo saying election loss helps her 'avoid bigger problems'

Fact check: Viral quote cards pounce on Robredo saying election loss helps her 'avoid bigger problems'
Vice President Leni Robredo, a presidential contender, delivers her final campaign address at her miting de avance to cap the 90-day campaign season in Makati City's central busines district on Saturday night, May 7, 2022.
Joselle Reyes for Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Pro-Marcos vloggers and even media outlets are pouncing on a supposed quote by Vice President Leni Robredo. But did she actually say that? 

CLAIM: Vice President Leni Robredo said her loss in the 2022 elections was a blessing in disguise that helped her avoid "bigger problems" had she been elected the country's next president.

RATING: This is true

FACTS: The vice president did say that but urged supporters not to give up on fighting for the Philippines. 

What the posts say

The graphic card quotes Robredo as saying:

"Ako kasi naniniwala ako na yung lahat na nangyayari ay may dahilan. So ako, nung hindi ako nanalo, marami akong sinasabi sa sarili ko, pero one of the things that I kept telling myself was talagang mahal ako ng Diyos na siguro iniiwas ako sa mas malaking problema."

(I believe that everythign happens for a reason. So, for me, when I didn't win, I had a lot of things to say to myself, but one of the things that I kept telling myself was that God really loves me and maybe I lost so I would not have to face bigger problems)

Pro-Marcos accounts used this quote to back the narrative that Robredo ran for the presidency for self-serving reasons and that she "only thinks about herself" instead of the country. 

Others took offense at the implication that being president of the Philippines would only bring problems. 

What they left out

No photos, videos, or transcripts of that meet-and-greet event were released by the media relations team of the Office of the Vice President, indicating that it was a private event. 

Though Robredo did say what she was quoted as saying, the viral posts on social media are misleading. Some videos posted on Twitter were cut to include that one quote. Immediately after this, though, Robredo followed it up in Filipino with: 

"But again, having said that, we know that we can't give up. When I say that we can't stop, I do not mean it in the sense that we have to be fighting every day. But what we should be doing everyday is fighting for our country."

Before the meet and greet, Robredo actually welcomed and gave Vice President-elect Sara Duterte's transition team a tour during their visit to the Office of the Vice President in Quezon City.

On June 1, the transition teams held a Zoom meeting to discuss the overview of the organization and primary reforms and projects during Robredo's term.

In an interview also on June 1 with Sa Totoo Lang on One PH, lawyer Barry Gutierrez, Robredo's spokesperson, said that holding meet-and-greets with supporters was on the Vice President's itinerary in the twilight days of her tenure as vice president. 

"Little by little, the physical space is being prepared, our office, all of VP Leni's belongings, all of the staff's belongings, are preparing to be vacated," he said in mixed Filipino and English. 

"She has several meetings to discuss the Angat Buhay NGO that she plans to start on July 1 — the first day after the end of her term as Vice President. And of course, the meet-ups with the supporters continue...there are some meet-ups with the supporters who we are thankful to [and] VP Leni wants to personally show her gratitude to them. So that's also part of what we're going to do here in the last 30 days."

Essential context

In the months leading up to the 2022 elections, Robredo found herself on the receiving end of disinformation created by accounts supporting Marcos' presidential run.

The vice president, the de facto leader of the opposition, had long been the target of disinformation by pro-administration accounts on social media since she was elected in 2016.

Earlier, 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.

Why did we fact-check this?

As of press time, the post has received over 11,000 likes, 1,300 comments, and 800 shares on the social networking platform.

According to CrowdTangle, a social media monitoring tool by Facebook's parent company Meta, 177 posts about that quote were published between June 5 and June 9. Collectively, the posts garnered nearly 220,000 interactions on Facebook alone. 

The post was even "liked" by Salvador Panelo, the chief legal counsel and former spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte. — 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 here. Have a claim you want fact-checked? Reach out to us at [email protected].

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