VERA FILES FACT CHECK: FB video MISLEADS with Gordon’s supposed ‘apology’ to Duterte

A misleading video by Facebook (FB) page Trending Viral TH2 claims that Sen. Richard Gordon “finally apologized” to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The 24-minute-long video was published on Sept. 18 and continues to garner views over a week after it was posted. Its headline: “GORDON NAG SORRY NA KAY PANGULONG DUTERTE (Gordon finally apologized to President Duterte).”

But the senator’s “apology” featured in the video is not what the headline suggests it to be.

In the post’s comments, several netizens slammed Gordon’s supposed apology, with one suggesting that his “sorry” is “fake,” and another saying that the Philippine Red Cross — a humanitarian organization where the senator serves as the chairman — “should still be investigated” despite the apology.

Gordon did say sorry during a Sept. 17 Senate hearing, but it was not directed at Duterte. The senator said he was sorry for the president and upset that he was protecting businessmen. He called him “a cheap politician,” adding “no country deserve[s] the kind of leadership” he offers.

Below are Gordon’s exact statements:

“I am really sorry for you, Mr. President. Ang ipinagtatanggol ’nyo si Lao? May utang na loob kayo dahil sa eleksyon? You are a cheap politician, Mr. President. Cheap politician, as cheap as they come, Mr. President. I’m sorry.” (Watch from 1:06:46)

“I will pray for forgiveness, Mr. President, for you.” (Watch from 1:09:09)

The clip used by Trending Viral TH2 shows a part of a four-hour-long investigation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee — which Gordon chairs — on the controversial Commission on Audit report that pointed out “deficiencies” in the Department of Health (DOH)’s budget utilization amounting to P67.32 billion.

During the session, the senator responded to the President’s tirade during his taped “Talk to the Nation” address, where he referred to Gordon as a “fraud” and a “pathological liar,” and the Senate probe a “witch-hunt.” Duterte also accused the senator of using the Philippine Red Cross as his “milking cow,” adding he would order an audit of the organization.

Trending Viral TH2’s misleading video came amid the continuing word war between Duterte and Gordon anchored on the Senate’s probe on issues surrounding the DOH’s dubious budget use in relation to the government’s pandemic response, as well as on the anomalous grant of P8.68 billion worth of supply contracts to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. that breached procurement rules.

(See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: How did Pharmally break procurement requirements in P8.7 billion pandemic contracts with DBM?)

The video now has over 722,000 views and 56,000 engagements from netizens, and could have reached around 6.2 million FB users, according to social media tool CrowdTangle. Traffic to the post came largely from Trending Viral TH2 itself, as well as public group 1Sambayan Official Volunteers and Support Group and page Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter.

Trending Viral TH2 was created in May 2020.

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

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