VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Robredo DID NOT say basketball allowed if players are ‘3 meters apart’

Vice President Leni Robredo is once again the subject of a fake quote card where she gives senseless health advice amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two readers asked VERA Files Fact Check to look into a manipulated GMA News and Public Affairs graphic uploaded June 2 and 3 by several netizens on Facebook (FB), attributing to Robredo the fabricated statement: “Pwede naman pong mag basketball pero dapat may social distance sa bawat player Kahit mga 3 meters away (You can play basketball but there should be social distance between each player of about 3 meters).”

She said no such thing.

The fake quote even contradicts what she said during the May 31 episode of her radio show BISErbisyong Leni, where she said contact sports like basketball would still be disallowed under a more relaxed quarantine setup.

In her program, Robredo talked about the outdoor activities not allowed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) but which can now be done under a less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ).

[N]oong ECQ binawal talaga yung pag-exercise sa labas ng bahay. Ngayon sa GCQ, pwede na yung outdoor exercises pero non-contact yung sports… so pwede na yung golf. Yung basketball hindi pa pwede kasi contact sports iyon (During the ECQ, outdoor exercises were totally prohibited. Under the GCQ now, outdoor exercises are allowed as long as the sport is non-contact… so golf is now allowed. Basketball is not yet allowed because that is a contact sport),” said Robredo.

The fake quote card twisted her comments on basketball during her radio show and followed the publication on her official FB page of a video giving safety tips on the reopening of offices under the GCQ. Among the the tips is to practice social distancing of about one meter or three feet.

This is not the first time disinformation publishers attributed an incredulous health advice to the vice president. Editing the same March 15 GMA News and Public Affairs graphic, netizens claimed Robredo told the public to “suck in their cough” to avoid infecting others with COVID-19 in March.

Two more fake quote cards on Robredo using News5 templates also surfaced in March.

VERA Files Fact Check flagged at least two netizens and two FB pages -- SOLID Duterte and Duterte WatchTower & Phils. Travel -- that published the fabricated 'basketball advice' graphic. It collectively has over 1,200 shares, and could have reached more than 116,000 people.

A day after Duterte WatchTower & Phils. Travel published its post, it edited its caption to include a disclaimer saying it did not claim Robredo made the statement. However, the graphic clearly shows Robredo’s name under the statement, alongside her photo.

Duterte WatchTower & Phils. Travel was created in November 2016, SOLID Duterte last April 16.

(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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About Vera Files

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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