VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Report claiming Imelda Marcos world’s richest female billionaire UNTRUE

No, Imelda Marcos is not the richest woman in the world.

An Oct. 21 post of a Facebook page tagging the wife of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as the world’s richest woman is fake news.

A fan page of the film Heneral Luna wrote, “KUNG IBABALIK LANG NG MGA MARCOS ANG PERANG ITO SA MGA PILIPINO, MALAMANG WALA NANG MAHIHIRAP SA BANSA (If only the Marcoses would return this money to the Filipinos, there probably would be no poor people in the country). It then listed 10 of the world’s wealthiest female billionaires, allegedly ranked in real time as of Oct. 7, 2017.

Marcos, currently second district representative of Ilocos Norte, topped the list at “US$ 280 billion or P14 trillion.”

Also on the list:

  • Lilliane Bettencourt of France, $ 39.5 billion ( L’oreal )
  • Alice Walton of USA, $ 33.8 billion ( Walmart )
  • Jacqueline Mars of USA, $ 27 billion ( Candy Company )
  • Ma. Franca Fissolo of Italy, $ 25.4 billion( Nutella )
  • Susanne Klatten of Germany, $ 20.4 billion ( BMW )
  • Laurene Powell-Jobs of USA, $ 20 billion (Apple, Disney)
  • Gina Rinehart of Australia, $ 15 billion ( Mining company )
  • Abigail Johnson of USA, $ 14.4 billion ( Money management )
  • Iris Fontbona of Chile, $ 13.7 billion ( Mining company )

The fan page’s list is lifted from Forbes’s 2017 richest women in the world article, published by the American business magazine in March 2017.

Marcos is nowhere in the lineup. Bettencourt topped the list.

The fan page’s claim that its list is updated at “real time” is also not true, with Walton topping the Forbes list by October 2017. L’oreal heiress Bettencourt had passed away the month earlier.

The fake story was published five days after members of the Marcos family filed their certificates of candidacy for the midterm elections in 2019, among them the former First Lady herself, daughter Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, and grandson Ilocos Norte Board Member Matthew Marcos Manotoc.

The Marcoses have been accused of amassing ill-gotten wealth during the strongman’s 20-year rule. President Rodrigo Duterte said last year the Marcos family was willing to return some assets, including a few gold bars, to help support the country’s economy.

The fake online post could have reached more than 240,000 people.

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