VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Story on pork barrel scam MISLEADS with photo of Noynoy, old reports

A story on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam misleads readers with recycled content and an unrelated photo of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Published on Feb. 20 by website, the story was headlined, “Janet Napoles ibinunyag na ang mga Pari at bishops na kasama sa kanyang listahan ng mga beneficiaries (Janet Napoles reveals priests and bishops included in her list of beneficiaries).”

It carried as its thumbnail a 2014 photo of Aquino with then-Cotabato City Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, spliced with a 2013 ABS-CBN News photo of PDAF scam mastermind Janet Napoles.

Aquino and Quevedo were never mentioned in the article.’s story also misleads by claiming it reported recent developments in the PDAF scam case; it simply mashed and paraphrased an August 2013 Bandila report and a May 2014 story on clergy members whom Napoles allegedly gave donations to using government money.

The PDAF scam is a P10-billion controversy involving businesswoman Napoles and several lawmakers, including senate reelectionists Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile. They were charged with plunder for alleged misuse of the state’s “pork barrel” or discretionary funds on fictitious projects.

The Sandiganbayan granted Estrada bail in September 2017. Revilla was acquitted of charges in December 2018. Napoles was convicted as co-accused in Revilla’s case.’s misleading story was published a day after the Sandiganbayan canceled and put on hold Enrile’s trial, pending the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Napoles to attend the proceedings as his co-accused. The high court granted Napoles’ request on Feb. 21.

Over 255,000 people could have been reached by’s misleading story, through Facebook pages Duterte Bloggers, Tatay Digong, and Manila Daily News among others. The website was created on June 26, 2018.

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