VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Pacquiao DID NOT say poverty made him 'dumb'

A quote attributed to Sen. Manny Pacquiao, where he admits to being dumb because of lack of education due to poverty, is making the rounds on social media. This is fabricated.

The fake graphic has been published and shared by Facebook pages and netizens in public FB groups from June 29 to July 5. It featured a photo of the boxer-turned-senator and a statement that read: “Kung kasalanan maging bobo, yes guilty ako! Dahil hindi ako nabigyan ng pagkakataong makapag-aral ng [sic] dahil sa hirap sa buhay... Guilty ako kung kasalanan ang walang pinag-aralan. Pero malinis ako at hindi ako corrupt at magnanakaw.

(If it’s a sin to be stupid, yes, I am guilty! Because I wasn’t given a chance to study due to poverty… I am guilty, if it’s a sin to be uneducated. But I am clean, and I am not corrupt neither am I a thief.)

Pacquiao did drop out of school at an early age due to poverty, but there are no records of him making such a statement on his official accounts on FB, Instagram and Twitter, or in his latest Senate statements.

The legislator's office said in an interview with VERA Files Fact Check that the senator has not made "any statement regarding being ‘bobo.’"

A search through social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle revealed that the quote card falsely attributed to Pacquiao first emerged on June 29. That day, the senator had issued a statement accepting President Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge to prove his allegations of corruption under the current administration.

In the statement, Pacquiao said he was neither “corrupt” nor “a liar.” He made no mention of his level of education.

Data from CrowdTangle showed that the made-up quote card has been republished or shared by multiple FB accounts, collectively garnering at least 161,000 interactions. It was first posted on June 29 by FB page Patama sa Iyo, which got 25,000 reactions, 4,000 comments and 3,800 shares as of publishing.

Among its other top traffic generators were the official FB page of rapper Bassilyo, and the pages Politikalhaka, Move On and Pepe News.

Patama sa Iyo, which has undergone three name changes, was created in August 2016, Bassilyo in October 2015, Politikalhaka on March 21 this year, and Move On last Jan. 30. Pepe News, originally named Pareng Duterte, was created in June 2015.


(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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About Vera Files

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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