VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Another FAKE ad uses Doc Willie Ong’s name to promote weight loss cereal


An impostor Facebook (FB) page using the name of cardiologist Willie Ong posted a video promoting a cereal product that allegedly helps consumers lose weight. 

Ong is not endorsing MEIZOU chia seeds cereal and the product is not registered with the Food and Drug Administration, as the post claims. 

Published on Dec. 23, the one-minute- and-10-second altered video contained clips and photos of Ong supposedly endorsing the cereal. Part of the incorrect caption read:

“Research on thousands of people who have successfully regained their shape, lσst mαny k.g in a short time and improved their health effects after eating MEIZOU Chia seeds. The product has been approved by the FྂDA (sic) as safe and good for health.” 

The video contained spliced clips and altered photos of Ong to deceive netizens, including one  at the 0:10-second mark where he was talking about the benefits of nuts, which played over a different clip taken from his vlog published nine years ago.

He was also shown holding what looked like the product’s quality certification, but it’s actually a manipulated photo of a ballot secrecy folder that was uploaded in May 2022

The image of Ong behind cans of cereal was also edited. Originally on top of the boxes were Molnupiravir capsules for coronavirus disease distributed by Ong and former Manila mayor Isko Moreno last year. 

Ong’s Dec. 30, 2021 Instagram photo shows him with a bowl of instant noodles, not the cereal. 

Altered videos and photos of dermatologist Vicky Belo and celebrity Coleen-Garcia Crawford were also featured.

VERA Files Fact Check previously debunked a fake ad promoting the same cereal. (Read related story IMPOSTOR FB page uses Sharon Cuneta to sell cereal product

The post bore a link to a website where netizens are asked for their personal information to purchase the product. 

Scam posts and fake ads were on the rise in 2022, many of which featured Ong as endorser of various cures and supplements. (Read VERA FILES FACT CHECK YEARENDER: ‘Buy one, get scammed free’: Mga scam, nagkalat sa social media nitong 2022)

The FB page Dr. Willie T Ong Daily (created on Oct. 5, 2022) posted the fake advertisement garnering 2,800 reactions, 1,400 comments and 83,000 views. The page originally carried the name Tubtim Suphatta but was changed on Dec. 23, 2022.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)