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At least four Facebook (FB) accounts and the page Karambolista published from Nov. 14 to 20 a manipulated screengrab of a Twitter exchange between Tricia and Aika Robredo — daughters of Vice President Leni Robredo— where the two appeared to confirm the romantic relationship between their mother and former Quezon City Rep. Jorge “Bolet” Banal.
A review of the sisters’ recent tweets reveals that their original statements did not mention either Robredo or Banal, and did not insinuate any relationship between the two.
The falsified screengrab shows Tricia having published a tweet at 8:11 a.m. on Nov. 14 that read, “Nanay ko katabing natulog si Bolet Tulog pa rin? Alas otso na (My mother slept next to Bolet, [and] she’s still sleeping? It’s already eight).” Six minutes later, Aika supposedly responded, “Sabado eh. Weekend. Chuktsakan talaga yan (It’s a Saturday. Weekend. They’re snuggling).”
Using digital verification tool InVID, a forensics analysis of the circulating image revealed irregular noise levels, suggesting evidence of tampering.
A JPEG Ghosts analysis also showed “ghosts” in the manipulated photo, or new elements that have a different compression than the rest of the picture. VERA Files Fact Check’s screengrab of the sisters’ original tweets, on the other hand, bore no ghosts.
The vice president has also dismissed rumors about her having a boyfriend. Without mentioning Banal, Robredo in a Nov. 19 FB post, said one of the men she is linked with “works for me because he was assigned by our party to handle my political needs.”
While no name was mentioned in the sisters’ tweets, netizens and Malacañang were quick to infer that they referred to President Rodrigo Duterte, as the tweets came at the same time the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo trended on Twitter as Typhoon Ulysses swept across Luzon.
On the Nov. 22 episode of her radio program BISErbisyong Leni, where she was asked about her daughters getting “dragged into controversies” because of their tweets, Robredo said she “will not apologize for her daughters’ beliefs.” And in her Nov. 19 FB post, the vice president said her daughters are “outspoken and rightfully so.”
Aside from the four FB netizens and page Karambolista, California-based pro-Duterte vlogger Maharlika also shared the manipulated photo on her FB page, although it was accompanied by a disclaimer that said it was a “satire meme.”
The five FB posts have collectively received over 1,100 reactions, 130 comments, and 400 shares from social media users. On the other hand, Maharlika’s post alone got around 6,300 comments, 900 comments, and 650 shares.Karambolista was created in November 2018.