VERA FILES FACT CHECK: This Navy ship did NOT carry a ‘Let Leni Lead’ banner

A photo featuring a Philippine Navy ship bearing a large banner with the words “Let Leni Lead” is being shared on Facebook (FB). The image, which first appeared last Aug. 30, is manipulated.

The photo of the vessel was actually taken by Associated Press (AP) photojournalist Bullit Marquez at the Manila South Harbor on May 16, 2016, years before the “Let Leni Lead” movement emerged.

The campaign is a call by various groups for Vice President Leni Robredo to take over the government’s COVID-19 pandemic response, while others have also used it to urge her to run for president in 2022.

Apart from the digitally-added banner, the blue umbrellas held by Navy personnel in the original image were changed to yellow, the color associated with the opposition. A small image of President Rodrigo Duterte dressed in a camouflage uniform was also photoshopped on the deck area of the ship.

The original AP photo showed the docking of the BRP Tarlac, the first strategic sealift vessel of the Navy, as it arrived from Indonesia, according to the news agency.

A day before the edited photo surfaced on FB, Robredo was quoted by several media outlets saying there should be “no excuse” for the months-long delay in the government's release of the risk allowance pay for health workers.

The altered image was published by at least three FB users, including one who shared it on the FB group #LeniRobredo Let Leni Lead where it obtained 670 shares. A few people in the comments section asked whether the photo was legitimate.

(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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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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