VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video WRONGLY claims that election contributions not allowed

A viral TikTok video is making a false claim that candidates are disallowed from receiving contributions for their electoral campaigns. The untrue minute-long clip was posted on Oct. 10 by a TikTok user and has been re-uploaded several times.

It is also misleading netizens with an old interview, made to look like Vice President Leni Robredo said she pocketed donations from her election campaign fund in 2016.

Robredo’s interview taken out of context

The TikTok video began with a clip showing Robredo saying: “Nag-file ako ng certificate of candidacy nung October. Maraming mga nagdodonate na pinapasok ko sa aking personal account.

(Translation: I filed my certificate of candidacy in October. There were many donations which I put in my personal account.)

Robredo made this remark during a May 2, 2016 interview on ABS-CBN’s late night newscast Bandila. But it was cut and taken out of context.

When asked by host Karen Davila how much cash-on-hand she declared in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, Robredo mentioned a figure but said it was bloated because some of the campaign fund donations she received were put in her personal account.

Her full quote:

“Hindi ko sigurado kung ano ‘yung eksakto. Siguro mga P8 million, if I’m not mistaken. Pero bloated kasi ‘yon ngayon kasi nagkandidato ako nung… Nag-file ako ng certificate of candidacy nung October. Maraming mga nagdodonate na pinapasok ko sa aking personal account. So kailangan ko iyon isiwalat.”

(Translation: I’m not sure of the exact figure. Maybe around P8 million, if I’m not mistaken. But that’s bloated right now because I became a candidate in… I filed my certificate of candidacy in October. There were many donations which I put in my personal account. So I needed to declare that.)

Donations are allowed

After showing the Bandila clip, the TikTok user then wrongly claimed that “if a candidate accepted any form of financial contribution, it is grounds for disqualification,” and showed a statement on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) website.

This is wrong. Under the Omnibus Election Code, which governs elections of public officers in the country, candidates may receive electoral contributions. This includes money, as well as other things of value, including the use of facilities voluntarily donated by others.

However, there are prohibitions — which the TikTok user showed in his video. Under the Article IX-C, Section 2(5) of the 1987 Constitution, candidates and their political parties are not allowed to receive financial contributions from foreign governments and their agencies.

The full list of prohibited sources of contributions can be viewed here. An explainer from CNN Philippines, which was flashed in the same TikTok video, also cited the named prohibitions.

In the Robredo interview, there was no mention that the donations she received came from foreign sources.

The misleading video emerged three days after Robredo announced on Oct. 7 that she was running for president.

The TikTok video has been shared nearly 30,000 times and viewed by over 2.3 million users. Another TikTok account that uploaded the video got over 1,500 views. On Facebook, the clip was uploaded by pages HAPPY TEETH and Halalan 2022, and collectively garnered about 5,000 views.


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

Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Send us a message here or here.

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