Using the name of cardiologist Willie Ong, an impostor Facebook page (FB) is promoting an unregistered brand of apple cider vinegar gummies. This is a bogus ad.
Ong denied endorsing Fitrum apple cider gummies, and called the ad fake. In a Viber message on Nov. 23, Ong clarified that he and his wife are only endorsing one brand of a milk supplement as part of an advocacy campaign for the elderly.
The apple cider gummies, as promoted in the fake ad, can allegedly remove bad cholesterol, clean the liver, and promote weight loss. The product is not on the Food and Drug Administration’s list of approved food products.
Created on Sept. 14, impostor FB page 𝐃𝟎𝐜 𝐖𝐢𝐢𝐥𝐢.𝐞 – 𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐡𝐲 𝐓𝐢𝐩𝐬 contains several posts about organic barley and health vlogs from Ong. The cardiologist’s official FB page Doc Willie Ong, created on Sept. 28, 2013, has a blue verified badge.
The fake ad also carried a link to a website (marketph.asia) where people could allegedly get 40% off upon ordering four bottles of the product.
The site’s offers reflect red flags of fraudulent health claims, as listed by the Department of Health:
- These products sell false hope for extreme physical attractiveness and shortcuts to weight loss;
- The product is advertised as a quick and effective cure-all for a wide range of illnesses;
- The product is advertised as available from only one source.
To look legitimate, the video showed an edited photo of Ong and Ramoso-Ong supposedly standing beside boxes of the bogus food supplement.
The original photo came from a Jan. 10, 2022 post showing Ong, standing beside boxes of molnupiravir anti-viral medicine ordered by former mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.
The bogus FB post, which appeared on Nov. 13, got a total of over 2,631 reactions, 1,432 comments, and 199,000 views.