VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video claiming Robredo scammed students, disowned by Harvard NOT TRUE

A YouTube video falsely reported as news a satirical piece and claimed that former vice president Leni Robredo scammed students resulting in Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government disavowing her.

Posted on Oct. 22, the false YouTube video bore the headline: 

HARVARD DISSAPOINTED (sic) KAY LENI! INISCAM ANG MGA STUDENT SA KANYANG FREE LECTURE (Harvard is disappointed with Leni! Scammed students with her free lecture)!”

The thumbnail also carried the text: 

“HARVARD ITINAKWIL SI LENI (Harvard disowned Leni)!”

LENI NILOKO ANG MGA STUDYANTE SA HARVARD (Leni deceived Harvard students)!”; and

HARVARD STUDENTS GALIT AT NA SCAM NI LENI (Harvard students mad for being scammed by Leni)!”

The “news report” was based on an Oct.15 piece by The Adobo Chronicles, a satirical website.

The satire talked about how Harvard students were supposedly “deeply disappointed” by Robredo for not serving her “famous” lugaw (rice porridge) at her lecture as a Harvard Kennedy School Hauser Leader. 

The YouTube channel presented this as news and did not identify it as a spoof, deceiving netizens. 

It is also not true that the institution disowned Robredo, as her name is still on the list of Harvard Kennedy School’s Fall 2022 Hauser Leaders.

For the rest of the 15-minute video, the YouTube channel only showed clips of former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s Oct. 20 interview with SMNI News where he commented on various issues, including Robredo’s stint at Harvard.

The video was posted more than a week after Robredo started her participation in the university’s Hauser Leaders program, in which high-level leaders and practitioners from the private, public and non-profit sectors “spend their time on campus advising students and engaging with faculty” throughout the academic year.

The false YouTube video by the channel News Trends (created on July 23, 2020) garnered 62,000 views. Some netizens also reposted the YouTube link on Facebook (FB).

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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.)