Two videos with similar inaccurate headlines misleadingly claimed former Vice President Leni Robredo could soon be spending time in jail after the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged her old office in its 2021 audit report.
The inaccurate videos with the misleading claim first appeared on July 19, then again on July 24. One of the videos bore the headline: “LENI, SA KUL0NGAN NA TATANDA MATAPOS MAHALUGHOG NI COA CHAIRMAN CALIDA KATIWALIANG NANGYARI SA OVP (Leni will grow old in prison after COA Chairman [Jose] Calida unearthed the corruption inside the OVP [Office of the Vice President]).”
The voice-over for the July 19 video claimed Robredo could “possibly” be sent to prison after the Calida-led COA marked out the OVP for illegally hiring a private lawyer after allegedly “squandering” pandemic-related funds worth over P25 million. This claim twisted the facts on the matter.
In the report, released July 15, COA flagged the OVP for the unauthorized hiring of legal consultants without the prior approval of the solicitor general, which violated COA rules and regulations.
Contrary to the claim in the video, the OVP was not flagged for “squandering” public funds.
Former OVP spokesperson Barry Gutierrez clarified on July 20 that the OVP appealed the matter to COA on May 27, which COA successfully granted on June 29, and “effectively lifted” the notice of disallowance issued by COA on the hiring.
Gutierrez also said that the consultant worked for the OVP as a “key adviser on policy matters” and not as a lawyer.
In another section of the annual audit on the OVP, the COA also flagged the office for realigning its P25-million COVID-19 research budget to other services and COVID-19 projects after failing to “obtain suitable project proposal.” The COA recommended that the OVP “exercise prudence in managing government funds.”
On the other hand, the narrator of the other video, dated July 24, claimed that COA investigated the OVP’s hiring of a private lawyer for Robredo’s non-profit organization (NGO) Angat Buhay. It is not true.
Robredo’s NGO, officially named “Angat Pinas Inc.,” was registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission and launched on July 1 this year, which is outside the COA report’s scope of calendar year 2021.
These videos emerged a few days after the COA released its 2021 annual audit reports on all national agencies, local government units and other state-owned corporations.
The two misleading videos, published by YouTube channels WHISTLE-BLOWER PH (created on Nov. 13, 2021) and BANAT PH UPDATE TV (Oct. 13, 2021), collectively garnered more than 81,300 views.
BANAT PH UPDATE TV’s video was reuploaded by Facebook pages Stardust & Stories (April 8, 2020) and Bbm&Sara2022 (March 15, 2022), receiving more than 76,600 views, 4,700 reactions, 1,000 comments and 1,300 shares.