VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Ayala Corp president DID NOT say ‘luxury isn’t for the lazy’

(UPDATE: On Feb. 24, The Global Filipino Investors Facebook page reached out to VERA Files and said it made a “mistake” by posting information from an unverified source. See additional information at the end of the story.)

A fabricated quote card is making the rounds on Facebook (FB) featuring the face of Ayala Corporation President Fernando Zobel de Ayala with the following statement: “Luxury isn’t for the lazy. One reason why money exist is to seperate dreamers who execute their dreams from people who sleep and dreams [sic].”

This is fake. In an email to VERA Files Fact Check on Feb. 8, Yla Alcantara, the company’s head of corporate communications, said Zobel de Ayala “did not say any of these things.”

Alcantara added that the business executive “never guested” in any forum of the group The Global Filipino Investors (TGFI), whose logo can be seen in the upper right corner of the circulating graphic. A copy of the fake graphic, however, could not be found in TGFI’s FB page.

Through an organic search on the social media platform, VERA Files found at least 102 FB accounts that uploaded the spurious quote card from Jan. 21 to Feb. 9. It used a Dec. 2, 2008 Getty Images photo of Zobel de Ayala speaking at an event in Hong Kong.

A cursory search for the statement revealed that it first appeared as a caption of a June 2015 post by FB page Aimspire Juan. It was not attributed to Zobel de Ayala, and had the additional line “WORK HARD, WORK SMART, BE A BILLIONAIRE!”

(Archived copy of FB post)

The connection to Zobel de Ayala appears to have started in November 2015, when the quote was overlaid on a photo of the Ayala executive.

One of the first publicly viewable posts bearing the fake quote card this year was uploaded on Jan. 21 by FB page MaiDen2316MaiChard24 which got only 7 FB interactions. A reupload of FB page Financial Savvy on Jan. 24 gathered over 400 engagements, while another FB user’s version got nearly 150 total interactions.

FB page Financial Savvy was created in December 2016, MaiDen2316MaiChard24 in October 2015.

This is the second time in a month that the business tycoon is made the subject of disinformation. In early January, a Youtube channel uploaded a video with concocted claims that the Ayala head had “bravely” spoken out against the political opposition while defending the administration. The falsehood surfaced after Ayala Corp announced plans to procure COVID-19 vaccines and help in their distribution.

UPDATE: On Feb. 24, an administrator of The Global Filipino Investors Facebook page reached out to VERA Files and said they made a mistake “reposting a statement from an unverified source.” They added that they have taken down the post and asked people who shared it to do the same.

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