VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Comelec spox DID NOT express support for ‘Run, Sara, Run’ campaign

Amid calls for Davao City Mayor “Inday” Sara Duterte-Carpio to run for president in the 2022 polls, notorious disinformation purveyor Showbiz Fanaticz joined the fray with a false claim. It said Commission on Elections (Comelec) Spokesperson James Jimenez is also championing the “Run Sara Run” campaign.

The video, uploaded on March 2 in both Showbiz Fanaticz’s YouTube channel and Facebook (FB) page, bore the spurious title: “JUST IN: JAMES JIMENEZ ng COMELEC SUPORTADO ang “RUN SARA RUN” CAMPAIGN| MAYOR ISKO MORENO NAPAHIYA (Comelec’s James Jimenez supports ‘Run Sara Run’ campaign | Mayor Isko Moreno humiliated)!”

This is a spurious spin on a statement made by the Comelec official in a Feb. 24 interview with ANC Matters of Fact host Christian Esguerra, where he was asked whether the early display of tarpaulins urging Duterte-Carpio to run was considered premature campaigning.

“Technically there is no violation (of election laws) because in order for premature campaigning to be committed, there should be an official candidate. And no official candidate exists right now,” Jimenez said.

The putting up of such materials is still “a matter of free expression at this point,” he added.

Republic Act 9369 states that a person who filed for candidacy “shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period.” For the 2022 elections, this will start only on Feb. 22 next year for the presidential, vice presidential and Congressional positions.

Jimenez’s answer, however, was twisted by Showbiz Fanaticz which claimed the elections official “came to the defense” of the presidential daughter. A Feb. 24 Manila Standard report — read in full in Showbiz Fanaticz’ video — shared the same misleading claim in its headline: “Comelec defends ‘Run Sara Run’ banners.”

Jimenez has called out Showbiz Fanaticz in a March 2 tweet and said its post about him was a “lie.” He also asked people to report the FB post carrying the video.

Showbiz Fanaticz put words in Jimenez’s mouth, falsely claiming the Comelec spokesperson said Duterte-Carpio has a “huge chance” of winning the elections. He said no such thing.

The FB page and YouTube channel also erroneously claimed that Jimenez made jabs toward Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso.

On Feb. 23, Domagoso told reporters about “a joke” going around Manila about a certain politician, saying the people are questioning why “tarpaulins, not vaccines” are flooding the city — seemingly referring to the sudden influx of “Run Sara Run” tarps throughout Manila.

Jimenez made no reference to Domagoso in the ANC interview.

The Davao City mayor has repeatedly said she has no plans of running for the land’s highest job in 2022. This firm refusal of Duterte-Carpio to bid for the presidency has also been echoed numerous times by her father, President Rodrigo Duterte.

Showbiz Fanaticz’s false video on Youtube has gotten over 69,400 views. Its reupload on FB, on the other hand, already has around 60 interactions and almost 600 views, and could have reached 2,600 FB users.

Showbiz Fanaticz’ Youtube channel was created in November 2017, while its FB page was made four months later.

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