VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Robredo is NOT disqualified from the 2022 presidential race

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has not barred incumbent Vice President and presidential aspirant Leni Robredo from running in next year’s polls, contrary to the claim made by a circulating video on social media.

The erroneous clip, published on Oct. 17 by YouTube channel Showbiz Fanaticz, bore the title “JUST IN: COMELEC KINUMPIRMANG MADI-DISQUALIFIED (sic) si ROBREDO Matapos ang PANGHIHINGI ng PERA | LAGOT (Just in: COMELEC confirms Robredo’s disqualification after solicitation of money)!”

It said a “Comelec ruling” confirmed that Robredo’s camp violated election laws by asking and receiving “donations from some foreigners and Filipinos” for her 2022 election campaign.

No such ruling exists. In an Oct. 17 tweet, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez refuted the circulating claims about Robredo’s supposed disqualification and called it “fake.”

YouTube channel skews fact

In its false video, Showbiz Fanaticz twisted an Oct. 14 Manila Standard report about Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon quote-tweeting an ABS-CBN News article about crowdfunding efforts for Robredo’s presidential bid.

The YouTube channel incorrectly reported that Guanzon “confirmed that Robredo may be disqualified” for the solicitation of donations.

This is a stretch. Guanzon only wrote in her tweet: “Foreigners cannot contribute to any Filipino candidate.” This pertains to the Constitutional prohibition against receiving funding from foreign governments and their agencies. The Omnibus Election Code likewise enshrines this rule, and says its violation is a ground for a candidate’s disqualification.

The untrue post video surfaced five days after ABS-CBN published its story about the crowdfunding website set up by the group Team Leni Robredo. In a follow up report, a Comelec official said the crowdfunding drive may have potential flaws particularly in identifying the donors, and said it was possible for the commission to release a policy on the novel fundraising method.

The YouTube channel’s false clip has so far over 221,000 views, with over 2,000 engagements on Facebook (FB). A copy of the video was also posted on FB by the page Duterte News Info, which has received over 1.6 million views and could have reached around 17.3 million netizens, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

The falsehood also reached TikTok users through a clip published on the platform by a pro-Marcos account, which now has 1.7 million views and 11,500 shares, and which was requested by a reader to be fact checked.

Showbiz Fanaticz was created in November 2017 and has repeatedly published inaccurate content.

(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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