VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Robredo and Pangilinan DID NOT say Duterte is dead

The tandem of YouTube channel Showbiz Fanaticz and Facebook (FB) page News PH Daily has again published disinformation. This time, it falsely claims Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said President Rodrigo Duterte has passed away.

The two senior officials have spread no such news. There have been no media reports about them discussing the matter.

Showbiz Fanaticz’s and News PH Daily’s false videos were headlined, “JUST IN: Arnel Ignacion (sic) Tinawag na Gago sina VP LENI at KIKO matapos IPAKALAT na Patay na si PRRD (Arnell Ignacio called VP Leni and Kiko fools after spreading news of Duterte’s death)!!”

Its content included a 96-second FB Live video on April 8 by celebrity and Duterte appointee Arnell Ignacio originally uploaded on his personal FB account. In it, the former Overseas Workers Welfare Administration deputy administrator berated people who supposedly wished Duterte dead.

Ignacio did not identify any specific group or individual. He made no mention of the two opposition leaders. He made his video shortly after the hashtags #PatayNaBa went viral as Duterte canceled his weekly national address twice in one week.

Contrary to the circulating false claim, it is Duterte who has a history of telling Robredo to die.

Mamatay ka na. Hindi ko iwanan ‘yong mga (Just die. I will not abandon the) frontliners and you do not need to really be redundant about it,” he said in a March 1 press briefing, after the vice president said the Chinese-donated Sinovac vaccine should first receive a recommendation from the Health Technology Assessment Council.

The false posts continue to circulate as Duterte’s long-time-aide turned senator Christopher “Bong” Go on April 11 published photos and videos of the president motorbiking and jogging at night amid speculations over this health after he disappeared from the public for days.

Showbiz Fanaticz was created in November 2017. Its video was viewed over 50,000 times. News PH Daily was made on Sept. 25, 2020, and its clip has over 224,000 views, 7,000 reactions, 2,100 comments and 1,500 shares.

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