VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Reports about failed anti-Duterte protest UNSUPPORTED, MISLEADS with doctored photos

Several stories published Sept. 13 to 17 about a “flop people power rally” supposedly led by Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan are unsubstantiated, and use outdated and manipulated photos.

Published by websites,, and, the stories bore the headlines:

  • “JUST IN: PEOPLE POWER NI RISA AT KIKO NILANGAW (Just in: Risa and Kiko’s people power, a flop)!”
  • “PEOPLE POWER NI RISA AT KIKO NILANGAW (Risa and Kiko’s people power, a flop)!”
  • “DI NAGTAGUMPAY ANG GINAWANG PEOPLE POWER NI RISA AT KIKO NILANGAW LANG! PANOORIN (Risa and Kiko’s people power did not succed, just a flop! Watch)!”
  • “BREAKING NEWS: PEOPLE POWER NI RISA AT KIKO LABAN KAY DUTERTE NILANGAW (Breaking news: Risa and Kiko’s people power against Duterte, a flop)!

All four stories carried a 10-minute clip from an almost 3-hour long Sept. 13 Facebook Live video of Duterte supporter Dante Maravillas. Echoing the claim veteran broadcaster Jay Sonza made in a Facebook post the day earlier, Maravillas said the supposed rally held at Mendiola drew a mere 29 attendees, who were promised P500 and dispersed when it began to rain.

Both Maravillas and Sonza fail to provide proof of such a protest happening, with neither of them even mentioning when the protest was held. Mainstream media has not reported about any such event recently.

The thumbnails used for the Maravillas clip also mislead. Youtube channel TOKHANG TV, which uploaded the 10-minute video, used a Feb. 17, 2017 Cebu Daily News photo of Pangilinan leading an anti-death penalty rally in Cebu. It also photoshopped the tarp behind Pangilinan to bear out the words “We Love Trillanes” instead of “Candlelight Walk For Life.”

Youtube channel Tatay Duterte News on the other hand, which uploaded the clip used by, featured as its thumbnail a collage of photos Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino tweeted Feb. 25, 2017 showing him, Pangilinan, Hontiveros and Vice President Leni Robredo attending a commemorative mass for the 31st anniversary of the EDSA Revolution.

The four websites published their misleading, unsubstantiated stories a few days after Hontiveros called President Rodrigo Duterte’s Sept. 11 televised conversation with Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo “a total waste of time and government resources.” In the exchange, Duterte claimed several of his critics are banding together for his ouster.

The misleading, unsubstantiated stories could have reached more than 4.5 million people, its largest traffic generators being the pages PRESIDENT RODY DUTERTE -FEDERAL MOVEMENT INTERNATIONAL and Bagong Pag-asa ng Pilipino. was created Sept. 12, on Sept.. 5, on Aug. 11 and on April 13.

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