VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Pro-BBM netizen, groups spread FAKE caravan photo of Robredo

An image of a crowd during the Feast of the Black Nazarene a few years back that was manipulated to look like a caravan of Vice President Leni Robredo has gone viral on Facebook. It surfaced as she met with supporters around the country ahead of the 2022 presidential elections.

A pro-Marcos FB netizen posted the altered image on Nov. 29 with the caption: “Caravan ni Ma’am Leni Dinumog (Ma’am Leni’s caravan was mobbed).” He updated his post a week later to say it was “obviously” fake, but it had already been reuploaded by several FB users and shared by thousands.

The original photo showing devotees of the Black Nazarene crossing the Jones Bridge in Manila on Jan. 9, 2018 was taken by a netizen and republished by media such as GMA News and ABS-CBN.

In the circulating doctored image, pink paint was digitally brushed over the crowd to reflect the vice president’s campaign color.

Robredo denounced the photoshopped graphic in a Dec. 5 FB post, urging supporters to report the circulating graphic that was “obviously done to put (them) in a bad light.” Health officials have warned against huge crowds or superspreader events amid the pandemic.

The netizen’s fake post garnered more than 9,600 reactions, 1,900 comments and 4,000 shares.

The edited image was also uploaded in a number of FB groups including Proud Ilocos Norte Rider Ako (created on Nov. 22, 2020) and Marcos Parin Movement Isabela (last Oct. 29). Their posts have garnered a total of over 3,200 interactions.

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