VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Sara Duterte did NOT tell teachers to ‘shut up’ over DepEd laptop issue


Netizens and several Facebook (FB) pages and groups are circulating a fake quote card of Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio allegedly telling teachers to hold back their criticism over slow and outdated laptops allegedly purchased by the Department of Education (DepEd).

The hoax spread as early as May 16 and was supposedly published by Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) News. It quoted Duterte-Carpio, who is concurrently the Education secretary, as saying on April 7:

“DepEd teachers who find their issued laptop to be slow or not in accordance with the latest specifications should return it and buy their own laptop. If they can not be thankful, the least that they can do is SHUT UP.”

This is fake. Duterte-Carpio did not make such a statement. SMNI News has disowned the circulating graphic and called it “fake” in a May 16 Facebook post.

A 2018 graphic of quoting the vice president on an unrelated issue was altered and used in this fabrication. The statement and context were changed, and SMNI’s social media handles were added.

SMNI’s logo was also mirrored. The same altered logo has appeared in posts of “Satire Media Network International” which is a spoof of SMNI.

(Read related story: Sandro Marcos DID NOT call Filipinos ‘entitled’ over flight delays)

The fake graphic circulated five days after Duterte distributed laptops to teachers in Basper Elementary School and Tacloban National Agricultural School in Leyte. 

Last year, the Commission on Audit flagged DepEd’s purchase of P2.4 billion worth of outdated and pricey laptops for teachers in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A Senate Blue Ribbon Committee also found that the laptops bought were overpriced by at least P979 million.

The fake quote card was posted by FB pages like Beyond the Chalk (created on July 26, 2020 as DepEd Latest News and Updates) and Ang Kapal Na Nga, Ang Kupal Pa (Jan. 16, 2014) and shared in groups like ICC International Criminal Court (March 28, 2019) and LENI- Let’s Empower Nationalist Individuals (Nov. 16, 2021).

These posts have collectively gathered 692 interactions as of writing according to the social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle. Several FB netizens also reposted the quote card which also reached Twitter.

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