VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Report claiming US intel officer said Marcos lost 1.7M votes in 2016 FALSE

A rehashed online post making rounds on Facebook this week again makes false claims about cheating in the 2016 vice presidential race.

On Aug. 2, website The Daily Sentry revived a March 17 report bearing the headline, "An American official confirms Marcos lost 1.7 million votes due to cheating."

The report, however, contains a hodgepodge of claims that contradicts the headline, among them:

  • That former Biliran Rep. Glenn Chong said Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who narrowly lost to Leni Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential race, lost 1.7 million votes to cheating.

    This claim is not supported by news reports nor the three-hour footage of the Senate’s July 31 probe, where Chong was a resource person, on “irregularities” in the 2016 polls.
  • That an unnamed American “Intel” officer, alias “John,” said Marcos lost 1.5 million votes.

    The claim is unproven and based on a March 15 Facebook post by a certain Adolfo Mortera. Mortera’s post shows the “transcript” of a supposed conversation between blogger and presidential adviser Jose Alejandrino with “John,” who “confirmed” some 1.5 million votes -- not 1.7 million as the headline claims -- for Marcos had been “fiddled with” and given to Robredo. No reputable news outfit has reported such an exchange.

The Daily Sentry’s false story, which could have reached over 3.6 million people, was revived two days after senators conducted a probe July 31 on the 2016 elections.

The probe was the result of Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III’s privilege speeches on March 6 and 14, while still Senate majority leader, where he raised concerns about questionable activity of some vote-counting machines.

He introduced the 1.7 million figure but did not directly relate it to votes for Marcos.

Sotto questioned why only 96.14% of election returns were received by the Commission on Elections Transparency Server, leaving 3.86% or some 1.7 million votes untransmitted.

Traffic to the false story was largely generated from social media by The Daily Sentry’s official Facebook page and The Filipino News.

The Daily Sentry, which has previously shared false and misleading content, was created January 10.

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

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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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