Vice President Leni Robredo is asking for the public’s help to trace the social media users who posted and shared posts containing false information about her supposedly giving out spoiled food to a hospital in Quezon City.
The second highest-ranking official in her personal Facebook account urged Filipinos to report the fake news peddlers, both in Facebook and Twitter, who initiated and spread the claims.
Robredo included screenshots of Facebook users who posted the unverified information as early as Sunday, based on the timestamp of the posts.
The now-deleted post of Philip reads: “Confirm, if possible. Rumor around some campfires, has the mediocre VP (vice president) sending food to the frontliners at the Diliman Doctors Hospital. The food was apparently spoiled.”
He added that lawyer Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson, had “rushed to the hospital and asked the staff to keep it quiet. He allegedly offered a cash donation, as an incentive.”
Phillip additionally claimed that Robredo “showed up” the following day but the “hospital president refused to meet her.”
Meanwhile, Twitter account @ddsconfessions claimed to trace the first Twitter user who posted the similar unverified information on the microblogging platform.
DIY TRACK DOWN YOUR FAVE DDS SOCMED INFLUENCER & TERRORIST – A THREAD
– the source of the fake panis post (https://t.co/gJcW7h7fWF) came from @JamieAlonzo at 5:44PM on June 23, MNL Time. It has been retweeted 439 times as of this writing (428 times in the photo below) pic.twitter.com/uPyfp5DkBc
— DDS Confessions (@ddsconfessions) June 23, 2020
It tagged Twitter user @JamieAlonzo who additionally claimed that Robredo might have given the mainstream media a “merienda” to allegedly cover up the supposed issue.
Robredo denied the claims and said that “it never happened.” She added that she “never” went to the mentioned hospital and Gutierrez, who she said “has never visited any hospital during the entire duration of the ECQ/GCQ, nor ever called this particular hospital.”
“Our team delivering hot meals donated by private individuals said they never received such complaints,” she continued.
Robredo condemned the fake news peddlers and told them that they “should have checked first before posting” instead of immediately sharing it on social networking sites.
“You should know that posting fake news makes you criminally liable. Let us report him plus all those who reposted. Take screenshots of everything, including those who reposted because we will go after all of them,” she said.
“We will likewise go after those who posted on Twitter. Please help us gather all evidences, including screenshots of those who retweeted. We will no longer tolerate any of these,” Robredo added.
Robredo additionally urged the public to post on the comments section the screenshots of the uploaders and the sharers of the false posts, as well as the respective links of their profiles.
Please report this fake news peddler who is trying to skip liability with his “confirm, if possible” line. This has…
She also responded to an online user who asked if her office would report the fake news peddlers to the National Bureau of Investigation “in violation of BTHAO (Bayanihan to Heal as One) Act.”
“We will. Thank you,” Robredo said.
The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act punishes an individual for spreading fake news about the COVID-19 crisis on social media and other platforms.
Gutierrez on Twitter also warned the fake news peddlers of cyberlibel charges.
May nagkakalat ng kasinungalingan na nagpunta daw akong ospital, at nagpatahimik ng mga frontliners na may reklamo daw sa OVP. 2 bagay lang: 1) Mula nagka-ECQ wala pa akong ospital na pinupuntahan; at 2) 12 years na limit sa cyberlibel, kaya abangan lang nyo mga sinungaling kayo.
— Barry Gutierrez (@barrygutierrez3) June 22, 2020
Fact-checking organization VERA Files cited Robredo as the top victim of fake news purveyors in 2019.
She has been calling out social media posts containing false information uploaded about her on her personal Facebook account where she debunks the claims of online trolls initiated to malign her.