FACT CHECK Online Posts

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Willie Ong is NOT the new Health sec

A video circulating on social media is misleading people by implying that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has appointed cardiologist Dr. Willie Ong as Health secretary.

The position remains unfilled. 

The July 16 video by the YouTube channel PHILIPPINES TRENDING NEWS made the false implication in its headline, a portion of which read: “JUST IN : GOODNEWS! PRES BBM DOC.ONG PASOK DUQUE INALIS (Doc Ong in, Duque out).” Francisco Duque III held the position in the previous administration.

Marcos Jr. has not appointed Ong to the Department of Health (DOH), nor are there news about him being a candidate for the post. Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire was designated as officer-in-charge pending the new secretary’s appointment.

In support of the misleading headline, the nine-minute video included a six-minute excerpt from a July 14 Malacañang press briefing where a reporter asked Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles about the selection of the new Health chief.

At this time, Ong, who ran for vice president in the May elections, is not eligible for the position. Article IX(B), Sec. 6 of the 1987 Constitution states that no candidate of any election, within a year after such election, can be appointed in any government office or government-owned or controlled corporation.

ABS-CBN Fact Check has debunked a similar claim.

The misleading YouTube video got over 193,500 views as of publishing. It was also reuploaded on Facebook by the page Showbiz Updatess (created on June 26), which received over 179,000 interactions. Both surfaced two days after Vergeire was named officer-in-charge of the department on July 14.

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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.)