FACT-CHECK: Robredo camp did not pay attendees of Capiz campaign sortie

Vice President Leni Robredo and running mate Sen. Kiko Pangilinan during a station caravan in Roxas City, Capiz. February 15, 2022. Photo by VP Leni Media Bureau

By Reed Tulio

People who joined the stationary caravan of presidential bet Vice President Leni Robredo in Roxas City, Capiz did not receive incentives, contrary to an online post claiming that Capizeños were bribed to show up at activities to express support for her and running mate Senator Francis Pangilinan.

Facebook user Charles Vincent Morales Velarde shared publicly on his profile a post from the Capiz for Leni page, alleging some Capizeños were given P200 and a shirt in exchange for their attendance at the 5-kilometer caravan from Roxas City Airport to the Archbishop’s Palace in Barangay Lawaan.

The post was made when Robredo, Pangilinan, and some members of their senatorial lineup Senator Richard Gordon, lawyers Chel Diokno and Alex Lacson, and representative of detained Senator Leila de Lima flew to Panay Island for their campaign in the northwestern provinces of Capiz, Aklan, and Antique from February 15 to 16, 2022.

Velarde’s post had at least 58 reactions and 65 comments hours after it was posted. The user was quick to delete his post and removed his account from Facebook when it received negative responses from commenters. However, some netizens were able to take screenshots of his post and relayed it to the organizers of the Capiz event.

The organizers were quick to debunk the claims of Velarde on his post, stating that there wasn’t any kind of compensation given to the attendees of the event.

On their clarification post on Facebook, the organizers called the post “purely a false and baseless statement”. Additionally, they called it “one of the many deliberate attempts to damage the reputation” of their preferred candidates. Lastly, the organizers said that the Capizeño supporters attended the event out of their very own will so that they could show their utmost support for Robredo.

The Capiz for Leni post was flooded by witnesses who claimed they were not bribed to join the Leni-Kiko activities during that day.

“There was no 200. This is a big lie. We were there and did not receive any amount,” said Facebook user Mecedita Abas.

“I was there with my friends, and we weren’t paid! We even made the props we used. Volunteers kami da tanan!” Carla Joy Roxas explained.

In another post, the organizers thanked the Vice President and her team for visiting the province and proudly shared their pictures taken from the event. They called it a success as many people showed up. They also thanked the overwhelming support they received from the Capizeños even if they did not receive any gifts from the public official.

They also reminded the public to be more vigilant when they come across posts made on social media, as these can mislead the public. Finally, they asked the same people to report such malicious posts when they see them online.

Daily Guardian is part of #FactsFirstPH, which brings together various sectors that are committed to promoting truth in the public space, and exacting accountability on those who harm it with lies. For those interested to join the initiative, email editorial@dailyguardian.com.ph and info@factsfirst.ph, or send a message to facebook.com/DailyGuardianPH.