VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Circulating Robredo ‘lutang, madumb’ statement NEEDS CONTEXT

needs context

A couple of Facebook (FB) pages are spreading a statement where former vice president Leni Robredo admitted to being stupid, out of her wits, and dumb. This needs context.

The two pages shared a quote card published by the Daily Tribune on Sept. 4. It read: “Bobo ako, lutang, Madumb. ‘Yun ‘yung sabi [ng trolls] (I’m stupid, out of my wits and Madumb. That’s what they are saying).”

But Robredo merely repeated the disparaging remarks she had received from her detractors during the last election. She did not in any way agree with their comments.

During a Sept. 3 thanksgiving event in Pampanga, Robredo took note of the insults flung at her and said she is waiting for what the naysayers are going to say now that she has been bestowed a Harvard fellowship.

She said:Bobo ako, lutang, Madumb. ‘Yun yung sabi nila. Pero sabi ko nga, talaga ang Diyos, yung Diyos talaga marunong. Kasi ‘yung mga dumarating sa akin, parang hindi ko naman sino-solicit.”

(I’m stupid, out of my wits, “Madumb”. That’s what they say. But as I said, God is really righteous. Because I have never solicited any of the [blessings] coming my way.)

But netizens were quick to twist her remarks. “Finally admitted,” said one post published on Sept. 7. Another post a day before read: “TAMA Ka dyan…FACT yan. (You’re right. That’s a fact)”

The Daily Tribune, meanwhile, said the awards given to Robredo have vindicated her.

Robredo said the academic awards she has received proved her critics wrong. “Do you think Ateneo [de Manila University] will give an [honorary degree] to someone who’s stupid and out of their wits? Probably not. And now, it’s not just Ateneo, but also Harvard,” she further said in Filipino.

These FB posts appeared days after the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School announced the appointment of Robredo as one of the five Hauser leaders who will engage with the rest of the Harvard community on “effective public leadership.”

FB pages Luminous by Trixie Cruz-Angeles & Ahmed Paglinawan (created on Jan. 29, 2017) and VOVph (June 5, 2016) published the post, garnering over 12,800 reactions, 1,800 comments and 200 shares.

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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.)