A netizen published a series of four videos in which he claimed some citizens in Muntinlupa received rice as bribe to attend an event in support of Vice President and presidential candidate Leni Robredo earlier this month. A reader asked VERA Files Fact Check to look into the claim.
No evidence was presented by the netizen to corroborate his claim that the distributed rice were bribes. VERA Files Fact Check reached out to the leadership of the barangay where the supposed giveaway took place. He denied the claim.
“Wala namang katotohanan doon sa allegation (There’s no truth in the allegation),” Raffy Sevilla, captain of Barangay Sucat, Muntinlupa, told VERA Files Fact Check in an interview.
Sevilla said the videos show employees of Barangay Sucat distributing rice to co-workers and volunteers on March 1. The rice is part of their hazard allowance from him for working amid heightened restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contrary to the circulating claims on social media, the activity was neither related to Robredo’s visit to Muntinlupa nor part of the city’s 27th establishment anniversary that day, he said.
The barangay employees who were captured in the video wearing pink shirts and carrying posters of Robredo had just returned from the anniversary event organized by city officials. They were there to express support for the vice president, who was a guest, and later picked up their rice allowance near the vicinity of the barangay hall, Sevilla added.
News organizations reported that supporters of Robredo convened at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex on March 1 awaiting her arrival as a guest of Muntinlupa’s cityhood anniversary celebration that day.
Sevilla explained that the project to distribute rice to barangay employees and volunteers started in mid-2020 during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Namimigay kami ng bigas sa empleyado kasi ang empleyado namin ay hindi sumuko sa pagtulong sa mga kabarangay namin, at sa pag-iwas sa COVID. So as parang hazard allowance nila, bigas yung binibigay namin,” he said.
(Translation: We give rice to our employees because they never cease to help our barangay members and fight COVID-19. As a hazard allowance of sorts, our barangay gives them rice.)
He denied one of the videos’ allegation that the rice distributed to the village’s staff and volunteers came from state-provided stocks intended for “ayuda” or aid.
“Never, never naging part ng ayuda dahil sa akin galing ‘yan (It was never part of ayuda because it came from me),” he said.
The four videos were first posted on TikTok, but have been taken down by its publisher. Five Facebook posts from March 1 to 5 that published the videos separately got a collective total of over 437,300 interactions.
Its publishers were the pages AdminRichTV (created March 14, 2021), Lugaw Chronicles (March 16, 2020), BBM Riders Muntinlupa (Nov. 14, 2021), Pinoy Got Skills (Oct. 26, 2017) and one netizen.
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