VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Bela Padilla DID NOT call Duterte administration ‘despotic’

ABS-CBN artists who have spoken up against the media network’s shutdown after its legislative franchise expired on May 4 have become the latest targets of disinformation producers.

On May 9, a fake social media card surfaced online claiming actress Bela Padilla, speaking on behalf of the “Padilla clan,” condemned the "despotic" Duterte administration for shutting down ABS-CBN.

The post also claimed the actress excluded her uncle, Robin Padilla, from the statement and said the actor, a known supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, is not really a Padilla as per “DNA tests” results.

The actress has said no such thing.

The graphic is a manipulated version of ABS-CBN News’ May 8 quote card where Padilla said the network's closure scared her. The original quote card was from the artist's emotional narration of how she felt upon learning of the shutdown, which she expressed during the May 8 Laban, Kapamilya Facebook (FB) livestream of ABS-CBN artists:

Hindi po ako makagalaw after mag-sign off. Sa 50 plus days na mag-isa ako sa bahay, ‘yun po yung pinakatahimik na moment para sa akin… Para sa taong hindi naman matatakutin at hindi naman masyadong madamdamin, natakot po ako (I couldn’t move after [ABS-CBN] signed off. In the 50 plus days I’ve been home alone, that was the quietest moment for me… For a person who’s not very fearful nor emotional, I became afraid).”

Bela made no mention of neither Robin nor Duterte in her message. A search through the actress’ official social media accounts, and a keyword search on Google, bore no result of the artist making the statement being attributed to her.

On May 10, ABS-CBN issued a “disinformation alert,” disowning the graphic “containing a fabricated statement of the actress.”

The earliest version of the fake post flagged by VERA Files was published by Facebook page BULAG PIPI AT BINGI around noon on May 9, and has been shared over 210 times.

Two other ABS-CBN talents -- actress Kim Chui and actor Coco Martin -- who also took part in the May 8 live stream, figured in manipulated graphics dubiously imitating the network's template. One is a post that duplicated the news organization’s May 6 quote card on Martin, but was edited by a netizen to quote him speaking with a lisp. The false post also photoshopped the logo of ABS-CBN to read “AB-ET TBN.”

The version on Chui edited out the logos of ABS-CBN from the network’s original May 8 graphic on the actress, and replaced the original quote with a different statement the actress made in her message on the FB livestream that day.

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


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About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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