VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Iloilo gov’t employees were NOT required to attend Robredo rally


A day after Vice President and presidential aspirant Leni Robredo’s campaign rally in Iloilo City, several Facebook (FB) pages falsely claimed that provincial and city government employees were forced to attend the Feb. 25 event.

The pages uploaded on Feb. 26 and 27 a screenshot of a TikTok video including comments made by netizens alleging that employees’ salaries will be withheld if they did not join Robredo’s campaign sortie in Iloilo City.

There was no announcement or directive on the city government’s website or Facebook page requiring or urging employees to attend the campaign rally of the Vice President.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, who openly supports Robredo, said on his FB page that “nobody out of the 40,000 who attended was forced, required or paid” to attend the rally. He further said that they did not need to manipulate drone shots and that people were “sincere” in supporting the vice president.

“Both the governor [Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr.] and myself have denied these allegations,” Treñas said in an email to VERA Files Fact Check.

In a Feb. 28 FB statement, Defensor also debunked the false claim and said “not one” of Robredo’s supporters was “forced or paid” to join Robredo’s “People’s Rally.”

Lawyer Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson, described the event as a “people’s campaign” driven by the “energy and enthusiasm of ordinary citizens.”

“Tens of thousands of Ilonggos attended the hugely successful Iloilo rally on their own initiative and at their own expense,” Gutierrez said in a Viber message to VERA Files Fact Check.

The screenshot of the TikTok comments was spread by FB pages No Ilokanoka Tumiponka Group (created on April 24, 2014), Kobe’s Page (Aug. 24, 2011), Team Philippines (July 17, 2016), BBM SARA BICOL 2022 (July 9, 2017) and JUAN as ONE (Jan. 29, 2020). Their posts have collectively garnered more than 15,075 reactions, 3,320 comments and 10,370 shares.


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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.)