VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Online post claiming to reveal Robredo's 'ex-lover' FABRICATED

A video published by a pro-Duterte Facebook page on Nov. 14 that shows photos of Vice President Leni Robredo with a man it claims is her “ex-lover” is fake news.

Agila ng Pilipinas's 3-minute video with the title "Fake VP Leni’s Moments Together With Ex-Lover Goes Viral" consisted of:

  • about two seconds of a 25-second clip showing a man and a woman walking hand in hand, uploaded on the website Dailymotion by an unofficial account of gag show Just For Laughs Gags 2016;
  • a July 7, 2015 photo of Robredo, then Camarines Sur representative, with her then political affairs officer Jonas Soltes at the Philippine Embassy in Brazil, uploaded by Robredo on her personal Facebook account;
  • a July 9, 2015 photo of Robredo and Soltes at the Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brazil, also uploaded by Robredo; and
  • a solo photo of Soltes that could not be traced.

The video also carried comments by netizens calling the vice president a "naughty girl" and insinuating she was "getting back at (her husband) Jesse's wrongdoings" by dating a staff member and taking him to the United States. They also said she is pulling "a Leila De Lima," in reference to the detained senator and former justice secretary who admitted to having a past relationship with her former driver and bodyguard.

Robredo and Soltes have denied the allegations.

Last May, Robredo, in a video series on her official Facebook page debunking fake news, said Soltes managed her pilot food security program in her district and joined her in the Brazil trip on the invitation of the World Food Programme. She called the claim an "insult," saying it made her appear like Soltes' "sugar mommy."

The netizens in Agila ng Pilipinas' video also wrongly claim Robredo and Soltes went to the US; Brazil is in South America.

Soltes, on the other hand, wrote a Facebook post in March 2017 where he said all the photos circulating in social media showing him and Robredo "were taken in public places." The post has been taken down, but anti-fake news website Meme Buster has a screengrab of it.

Agila ng Pilipinas' post is similar to a 140-second March 9, 2017 video of Youtube channel PRRD realworld, which bore the title "VP Leni’s Moments Together With Ex-Lover Goes Viral." The two videos bore the same content, except for a still of the photo at the Philippine embassy in the last 40 seconds of the Facebook post.

Agila ng Pilipinas released the video two days after Robredo criticized former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos in a radio show for still going to a party after the Sandiganbayan convicted her of of graft.

Marcos is the mother of Robredo's rival in the 2016 election, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who has lodged an electoral protest against her.

Traffic to the fake post came from the pages PRESIDENT RODY DUTERTE -FEDERAL MOVEMENT INTERNATIONAL, Pres. Duterte Supporters, and Duterte-Marcos Real Change. It could have reached more than 1.6 million people.

Agila ng Pilipinas was created on April 24.

(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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