​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Viral Bam Aquino quote on poor farmers FAKE

Eleven months since it first went viral, a fabricated quote published by at least three websites claiming former Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV was a hypocrite for “expressing sympathy for poor local farmers” has resurfaced., and published on September 2018 an article which features a fake statement attributed to Aquino:

“Mahalin natin ang mga magsasakang mahihirap dahil sila ang naaapektohan [sic] sa krisis (Let us love the poor farmers because they are the ones affected by the crisis). – Sen. Bam Aquino”

Official statements from Aquino’s website and verified social media pages do not show the former senator making that pronouncement. No legitimate news media organization carried the quote either.

This fabricated quote has been juxtaposed with statements referring to the “Hacienda Luisita massacre,” where farmers who mounted a strike against the Cojuangco-owned plantation in Tarlac were killed and injured during a government dispersal in November 2004. Bam Aquino is not connected to Hacienda Luisita.

The fabricated articles were published a few days after Aquino released a statement on Sept. 18 last year urging President Rodrigo Duterte to order the National Food Authority (NFA) to purchase the Storm-Damaged Palay (SDP) from farmers in areas devastated by Typhoon Ompong to help them and their families cope with the high prices of goods.

The fake story could have reached more than 1.5 million people on Facebook (FB) with traffic largely generated to FB pages President Rody Duterte Facebook Army, Imee Marcos sa Senado 2019! and MARCOS DEFENDERS WORLDWIDE UNLIMITED.

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