VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Report about Bam Aquino using Boracay and Pasig River rehab efforts as election propaganda FAKE NEWS

Website published on Oct. 19 a fake report claiming Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino has taken credit for the cleanup operations on Boracay island and Pasig River, using it as campaign material for the 2019 midterm elections.

Bearing the headline, “Sigaw Ng Netizens, Bam Aquino, Credit Grabber Sa Paggamit ng Litrato Ng Boracay at Pasig River Para sa Eleksyon (Netizens call out, Bam Aquino, credit grabber for using photos of Boracay and Pasig River for elections),” the fabricated story carried a screengrab by the page DU30 Media Network of an “already deleted” Oct. 17 online post from the opposition senator’s official Facebook page.

The screengrab showed a photo of Boracay and Pasig River, with a caption misspelling the Filipino word “disiplina (discipline).” The caption read:

“Desiplina (sic) ng demokrasya. Samahan ninyo kami para alagaan ang kalikasan. Suportahan ang Partidong Liberal. Clear Boracay, Clear Pasig River. (The discipline of a democracy. Join us in taking care of the environment. Support the Liberal Party. Clear Boracay, Clear Pasig River).”

The screengrab is doctored, and wrongly uses a photo of the Estero de Binondo – taken by the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission – as its photo of the Pasig River.

Aquino’s office debunked DU30 Media Network’s post two days after it was published. On Oct. 19, the senator’s Facebook page posted a photo of the screengrab and said, “Mag-ingat sa pekeng post at caption na ito. Ni minsan, hindi po namin ito pinost o sinabi (Beware of this fake post and caption. We have never posted or said such a thing).”

A look through the senator’s previous posts also shows that on Oct. 17, at 3 p.m. – the time the falsified online post was supposedly published – the senator posted material about the free tuition law he co-authored. and DU30 Media Network’s fake stories were published three days after the opposition lawmaker submitted on Oct. 16 his certificate of candidacy for senator for the 2019 elections.

The fake news could have reached over 1.3 million people. The story’s largest traffic generators are the pages Angat Pilipino, Filipino Vlog and Tulfo Brothers Worldwide. was created on March 6.

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