VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Netizens resurface FAKE Vico Sotto quote on electing a leader

A fake quote attributed to Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, where he advised the public not to elect a certain type of politician, was revived by a Facebook (FB) page and several FB users in public groups.

Published from Dec. 29, 2020 to Jan. 1, the concocted post quoted Sotto as saying, “Lesson yan sa inyo na kung boboto kayo sa susunod ang inyong iboboto yung hindi minumura ang God at hindi SINUNGALING, hindi RAPIST, hindi MASS KILLER, hindi MAGNANAKAW.” He supposedly said this on April 12, 2020 in an FB Live video.

(This is a lesson that when you vote next time, vote for someone who doesn’t curse God and is not a liar, not a rapist, not a mass killer, and not a thief.)

The Pasig City mayor said no such thing and issued a statement on Jan. 3 on his official FB page and Twitter account (@VicoSotto) calling the posts “fake news” as he warned the public to be vigilant against disinformation.

New year na new year ang dami nang fake news. Please be careful and vigilant on social media. Tandaan natin kung gaano kadali gumawa ng pekeng balita o mag-imbento ng quote (It’s the New Year and there’s already a lot of fake news. Let’s remember how easy it is to make fake news or invent quotes),” he wrote.

The post is a manipulated copy of a quote card published by on April 13, 2020, which originally showed Sotto promising aid for Pasig City locals amid the current health crisis.

The altered photo cropped out the news media’s identifying information, and bore a logo of photo editing software PhotoGrid on its bottom right corner.

In the 45-minute April 12, 2020 FB Live video where Sotto supposedly made the statement, the mayor only gave updates on the Pasig government’s social aid programs and medical facilities. He gave no comment on other public officials or the elections.

Rappler had also debunked an earlier version of the fake post in April 2020.

The fabricated quote cards began reemerging three days after Sotto assured Pasig City scholars on Dec. 26 that they will receive cash allowances this January. Among the earliest revivals of the fake quote was published on Dec. 29 by a netizen on FB public group Sen Trillanes for a Better Philippines, which gathered a total of 2,200 interactions according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

The erroneous post was also re-uploaded by netizens in FB groups PROTECT ABS-CBN GROUP, LABAN Senator Antonio Trillanes-Kakampi Mo Kami, LAS PIÑAS COMMUNITY, FB page Angel Locsin Unofficial, and at least two FB users on their personal profile.

Sen Trillanes for a Better Philippines was created in August 2016, PROTECT ABS-CBN GROUP in July 2020, LABAN Senator Antonio Trillanes-Kakampi Mo Kami in March 2017, LAS PIÑAS COMMUNITY in April 2020, and Angel Locsin Unofficial in November 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.)