COVID-19 Watch FACT CHECK Health

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Robredo quote on ‘sucking in’ cough to prevent virus spread NOT TRUE

A netizen posted on March 17 a fake quote card of Vice President Leni Robredo that shows her giving senseless advice on proper respiratory hygiene and quarantine practices.

The fabricated post, sent to VERA Files Fact Check by a reader, is an edited copy of an infographic that GMA News Online published on its Facebook and Twitter pages on March 15.

The original quote card featured an image of Robredo juxtaposed with a statement she made that day on her radio program BISErbisyong Leni, about the community quarantine in Metro Manila aimed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Ngayon kasi, parang nangingibabaw ulit iyong public order and safety na dapat sana supportive lang siya sa health concern. So, sana hindi masyadong grabe ‘yung focus sa military, sa kapulisan, kasi ito, health concern ito (Now, it looks like public order and safety are given precedence when they should just be supportive to the health concern. [I] hope there won’t be too much focus on the military, the police, because this is a health concern).”

The netizen placed a white-colored cover over GMA News Online’s text and pasted the fake statement, “Ngayon kase, kapag ikaw ay uubo ngayon sa public place, dapat ay pahigop ang pag ubo para maiwasan natin ang pagkalat ng virus. Pag nag home qurantine kayo ng 14 days, tapos dalawa kayo, bali, 28 days kayo dapat na magquarantine (If you have to cough in a public place, you have suck in your cough so we can prevent the spread of the virus. If you go on home quarantine for 14 days, but there’s two of you, you should undergo quarantine for 28 days).”

There are no reports of Robredo making such comments. GMA News Online published on March 19 an FB post denying that the quote card was theirs, calling it fake.

The fabricated FB post surfaced the same day Robredo published a video on her official Facebook page urging the public to follow social distancing measures, and called on the government to have social safety nets in place for citizens who will be heavily affected by the Luzon-wide community quarantine.

This particular fake quote card has received over 130 shares as of posting. Several copies of it, however, are also circulating on social media.

In 2019, Robredo topped VERA Files Fact Check’s list of public officials who are usual targets of viral fake quotes. (SEE: VERA FILES FACT CHECK YEARENDER: Fake quote cards: Weapon of choice for disinformation makers in 2019)

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