VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Claim that PH media did not report on Marcos’ presence in SMNI debate FALSE


Contrary to a claim of a Facebook (FB) page, the country’s mainstream media did report on former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s presence in the Feb. 15 presidential debate organized by the Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

In a post published just a day after the debate, FB page VIRAL video tv posted a screenshot of the SMNI event. In its caption, it accused seven media organizations of “silence” over Marcos’ participation in the forum, while they made an issue out of his decision not to take part in a few media outlets’ presidential interviews and debate.

Not true. All of the seven mainstream media groups called out in VIRAL video tv’s post — ABS-CBN, GMA 7, CNN Philippines, TV5, Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Manila Times, and Rappler — reported on Marcos’ decision to participate in the SMNI debate.

Below are some of the stories on the event, including the former senator’s responses to questions.

GMA News

CNN Philippines

News 5

The Manila Times


Marcos’ absence in some election-related fora made headlines. He declined to attend three events organized for presidential candidates: the Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews on Jan. 22, the Feb. 4 Panata sa Bayan Presidential Candidates Forum hosted by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, and the upcoming The Filipino Votes Presidential Debate of CNN Philippines, to be held on Feb. 27.

Aside from the SMNI debate, Marcos also participated in four presidential interviews: One PH’s Sa Totoo Lang, Boy Abunda’s 2022 Presidential One-On-One Interviews, DZRH’s Bakit Ikaw? Presidential Job Interview, and Korina Sanchez’ Upuan ng Katotohanan.

VIRAL video tv, which was created in August 2020, carries the username @BBMSARABICOLANOS and often shares posts supportive of Marcos. Its spurious post already has 19,000 reactions, 2,300 comments, and 19,000 shares from FB users.

It could have reached over 850,000 netizens, with traffic to the post coming largely from VIRAL video tv itself and public groups BBM for President United and KBL-BBM-SARA UNITEAM (KILUSANG BAGONG LIPUNAN), as per social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Fill out this reader request form or send it to ‘VERA, the truth bot’ on Viber.

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