VERA FILES FACT CHECK: FALSE 2016 report on Robredo’s disqualification resurfaces

Vice President Leni Robredo was not disqualified from the 2016 national elections due to the Liberal Party’s supposed “noncompliance” with election rules, contrary to an erroneous 2016 article that resurfaced recently.

A reader asked VERA Files Fact Check to look into the claim of Facebook (FB) page GetRealPhilippines.COM. which revived its own report dated June 10, 2016.

The five-year-old article was first published after the Liberal Party in 2016 appealed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend for another 14 days the deadline for filing of statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE) for that year’s polls. The article argued that the party’s failure to submit SOCE on time deemed Robredo “unqualified” to be the country’s vice president.

The claim was invalid then because the LP was able to submit its SOCE for the elections several days before the extended deadline set by the election body. No disqualification took place and Robredo was sworn into office as the country’s 14th vice president on June 30, 2016.

She is one of the presidential aspirants in the 2022 national polls.

Also, the claim that a late SOCE filing entails disqualification is inaccurate. Failure to submit SOCE only warrants administrative fines as penalty, ranging from P1,000 to P30,000 depending on the position pursued by the concerned candidate.

Reviving the false claim just as the vice president is about to end her six-year term is seen as an attempt to sow confusion.

The spurious report resurfaced around the same time the eligibility of Robredo’s nemesis, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., to run for president in next year’s elections is being challenged due to his 1997 tax evasion conviction. (See Final decision to bar Bongbong Marcos in 2022 nat’l elections due to tax evasion is on SC — Carpio)

Social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle shows the erroneous article already has over 5,000 engagements and could have reached more than 420,000 netizens. It was revived by Get Real Philippines’ FB page four times this year, the latest being last Oct.17.

Get Real Philippines’ website was registered in February 2005, while its FB page was created in July 2008.

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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.)