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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: SATIRE crowd shot of Robredo’s Pasay rally misleads netizens

Netizens believed a satirical photo supposedly taken from Vice President Leni Robredo’s April 23 grand rally in Pasay City. The original publisher clarified he intended the circulating image to be a joke.

The satire image first surfaced on the day of the rally, supposedly showing a sea of pink-clad Robredo supporters swarming Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard. The same photo of the crowd was edited in the shape of buildings and placed in the background.

A part of its caption read: “WALA NA! FINISH NA! Grabe kayo PASAY! Daog na! Daog na! (It’s done! It’s finished! You’re so great, Pasay! We won! We won!) CROWD ESTIMATE: 90000 Billion Million Thousand People!”

The netizen who first published the satire graphic on Facebook (FB) has a history of publishing satirical posts that exaggeratedly illustrate crowds at the vice president’s campaign rallies.

The FB user said in a message to VERA Files Fact Check on April 25 that he edited the photo “for fun” and that he made the alteration “obvious”. 

The original photo, traced via reverse image search, featured the same boulevard with no crowd in sight and was taken from a photo set published by another FB netizen on April 22. It featured the preparations one day before Robredo’s grand rally in Pasay City.

Other FB pages that reposted the satire photo did not clarify it was a joke. But some netizens, believing the vice president’s camp released the photo, criticized the Robredo camp in their comments.

“Leni and Kiko are so desperate. They are doing everything to get noticed,” one commenter said in Filipino.

The satirical graphic was posted the day of Robredo’s grand rally in Pasay City, which was also her 57th birthday. Thousands attended the event as several prominent celebrities, including comedian and television host Vice Ganda, formally endorsed Robredo for president.

FB pages Pilyong Meme (created on Dec. 3, 2017), Hahaha Gago (Feb. 25, 2019), GavinxWarren (Dec. 2, 2019), Barkadahan (Aug. 27, 2019) and Ambo TV Erasga (Nov. 10, 2019) reposted the manipulated photo.

Their posts collectively garnered more than 40,600 reactions, 6,810 comments and 6,780 shares.

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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.)