VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Cynthia Villar DID NOT take a swipe at Robredo with ‘ABS-CBN buyout’ statement


A fabricated quote card that had Sen. Cynthia Villar saying her family could afford to buy ABS-CBN because they “work hard” has been posted on several Facebook (FB) pages. It came out as an apparent jab at Vice President Leni Robredo.

The manipulated graphic was first published on Jan. 27 and included text which read: “Eh, ano ngayon kung bilhin namin ang ABS-CBN. May pera naman kami. Nag susumikap kami sa trabaho. Yung iba jan [sic], 18 hours daw, pero wala ka makita kahit isang eyebag. Ano siya Robot (So what if we buy ABS-CBN? We have the money. We work hard at our jobs. Some people, they say they work 18 hours, but we don’t even see an eye bag. Are they a Robot)?” It also bore the logos of ABS-CBN News.

Five days earlier, in an interview aired on Jan. 22, Robredo told broadcast journalist Jessica Soho that she works roughly 18 hours a day.

In an email to VERA Files Fact Check, ABS-CBN’s Integrated News and Current Affairs Division head Ging Reyes, disowned the graphic, branding it as “false”.

The official FB page of ABS-CBN News debunked the fake quote card the same day it surfaced and warned citizens to be wary of disinformation.

A few hours later, Villar shared ABS-CBN News’ advisory on her official FB page and also denounced the fabricated quote card, saying everyone should be “careful with misleading posts.”

The original quote card was from a post on ABS-CBN’s official FB page in August 2020 after Villar said healthcare workers should “work hard” and dismissed their appeal to place Metro Manila under enhanced community quarantine again.

News reports on Jan. 26 said the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) confirmed awarding the digital frequency Channel 16, previously assigned to ABS-CBN, to the Advanced Media Broadcasting System, owned by business tycoon and ex-senator Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr.

The NTC also said it gave the company a temporary permit to broadcast its programs on Channel 2, ABS-CBN’s former analog frequency.

The fake quote card came out on the following FB pages: Kapitan Solomon 2022 (created on May 24, 2018), Negros Oriental Updates (March 21, 2020), SARA DU30 Supporters for 2022 (Jan. 8, 2020), Sara Duterte for President Movement (Dec. 25, 2019) Federal Philippines (May 24, 2016), The truth about Philippines (April 15, 2011), Filipino Community (Aug. 12, 2017), DT (Dec. 29, 2009), The Lumad Times (April 7, 2020), and Tamaraw News (March 18, 2016). A netizen also posted the same fabricated graphic.

It has since collectively garnered more than 51,200 reactions, 4,000 comments, and 15,300 shares. The fake image has been shared by more than 200 FB pages and groups, according to 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.)