VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Post FALSELY claims Noynoy Aquino falling into a creek in old video

In a Sept. 24 post claiming to show “two sloppy projects” of former president Benigno Aquino III, a Facebook (FB) user wrongfully used an old, unrelated video of a boat capsizing in a creek, passing it off as an incident involving the former chief executive. The false post continues to gain traction nearly a month after publication.

The two-minute-long video led off with a 64-second footage showing a man in yellow, a color of the Liberal Party, and a handful of other men falling into a creek after losing their balance while aboard a small boat. The post said the man wearing a yellow shirt was Aquino.

The man in the video is actually an Indian politician.

The earliest traceable copy of the video can be found in a June 27, 2016 tweet by India-based media Asian News International, showing then-mayor Surendra Furtado of Panaji, a city in Southwestern India. He fell into the St. Inez creek the day prior during a demonstration of a new weeding machine.

Similar clips were carried in news reports by Indian media on the incident.

This is not the first time a post asserted that it was Aquino in the boat incident. In October 2018, Agence France-Presse debunked a similar post. Furtado himself confirmed with AFP that he was the man in the clip.

The rest of the FB user’s video showed a portion of Zamboanga-based media TV 11’s news report on the collapse of a wooden footbridge in Zamboanga City on April 26, 2018. Fifteen people, including two lawmakers, and local government and National Housing Authority (NHA) officials, fell through the structure.

They were reported to be on their way to inspect a housing project for families in Barangay Rio Hondo displaced during the September 2013 Zamboanga siege when the incident happened.

According to an FB post by Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, the footbridge was part of the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) Program that was announced in 2014 by the Aquino administration.

In a May 2018 story, the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted then-Rio Hondo barangay captain Rasdie Mukarram saying the footbridge was built in 2016, while other reports quoted officials saying its construction began in 2015 and was finished in 2016.

The false and misleading post, which a reader asked VERA Files to fact-check this month, continues to circulate on FB as discussions about the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure program Build, Build, Build made headlines. Philippine and Japanese officials met this week to discuss the progress of ongoing projects.

The false post has been shared over 42,000 times and has received more than 73,000 reactions. It could have reached 8.4 million people, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle. Its top traffic generators are public groups JAIL TRILLANES & NOYNOY NOW, DITO COMMUNITY AND OTHER MATTERS, and PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)