Robredo figures in false viral posts about drug user survey, missing Cabinet meeting

November 11, 2019 - 5:10 PM
Leni Robredo as ICAD co-chair
Vice President Leni Robredo as the newly-designated co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs. (OVP/Released)

Vice President Leni Robredo denied two fake news posts about her on the subject of survey on drug use and her absence in the first Cabinet meeting last week.

She shared screengrabs of the viral Facebook posts and reminded the public to be discerning when it comes to social media posts that spread false information.

FAKE NEWS ALERT![A] Maging mapanuri sa dumaraming fake news sa social media, tulad ng nasa imahe sa ibaba.

Posted by VP Leni Robredo on Sunday, November 10, 2019


The first post came from pro-administration page “DU30 MEDIA Network” with a caption saying she plans to conduct a survey among “drug addicts and drug pushers.”

“Isa-survey po natin ‘yung mga suspected drug pusher at drug lords. Tatanungin natin isa-isa kung drug pusher ba sila o hindi ‘pag sinabi nila hindi tatanggalin na sila listahan,” part of the fake quote attributed to Robredo reads.

A screengrab of a fake post made viral by a pro-administration page maligning Vice President Leni Robredo. (Screenshot by Interaksyon)

The other one was a screengrab from a Facebook user who is a supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The user shared a photo of a manipulated “memorandum” that the chief executive supposedly sent to Robredo after she did not attend the Cabinet meeting on November 6.

Leni Robredo fake memo
A screengrab of a fake photo shared by a Facebook user that maligns Vice President Leni Robredo. (Screenshot by Interaksyon)

The fake memorandum reads: “This serves as your first warning for not attending last night’s Cabinet Meeting. A repeat absence will be dealt with more severely. Of all people, you should know your responsibilities as newly-designated Drug Czar! Shame!”

The photo even included an evidently manipulated seal of the Palace below which is usually found on top of the letter.

Robredo has been a constant target of fake news and social media posts by trolls even before she formally assumed the post as vice-president, mainly because of her association with the opposition.

The real deal

On the survey

Robredo didn’t mention anything about conducting a survey of “drug pushers and drug lords,” unlike what the first post claims.

She mentioned, however, that there is a survey being conducted by government agencies involved in the administration’s anti-narcotics campaign shortly after she was assigned in the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs.

Last week, Robredo shared her dissatisfaction with the lack of accuracy on statistics related to drugs after she had her first ICAD meeting.

“Until now, nagiiba-iba ‘yung numbers kung ilan talaga ‘yung drug addicts. Halimbawa, ‘yung survey nung 2016, 1.6 million,” she said, as quoted by reports.

“Sabi ni Presidente [Duterte,] seven to eight million. Ang ginagamit ng PDEA na figures four million. Pero itong lahat, based sa estimates,” Robredo added.

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks after his arrival in Davao
President Rodrigo Duterte speaks after his arrival, from a visit to Israel and Jordan at Davao International airport in Davao City in Mindanao, September 8, 2018. (Reuters/Lean Daval Jr.)

“It seems you can’t trust the integrity of the numbers,” she said in Filipino and then added that even the Dangerous Drugs Board and other ICAD members could not determine the real number of drug users.

As such, Robredo has ordered an “evidence-based” survey to determine the figure and to have a view of how big the drug menace is.

Last year, Duterte fired then-DDB chair Benjamin Reyes for releasing a government-commissioned survey about drug user data and claimed that the latter contradicted “his own government.”

The fake memo 

Duterte never sent a memo to Robredo after she did not attend the Cabinet meeting on November 6, shortly after she was designated as ICAD co-chair.

The position, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, is of Cabinet rank.

The last memorandum that the chief executive sent to Robredo was the offer to be an ICAD co-chair.

When she accepted the designation, however, Robredo did not appear in the Cabinet meeting on November 6.

Panelo shared during the day itself that she was “welcome” to join and added there was “no need” for an invitation since she is “already a member of the Cabinet” following her designation.

He added that they could always “give” Robredo an invitation if she wanted one.

However, she said on Saturday that she would only attend Cabinet meetings if she was actually invited and then recalled how Duterte has desisted her from attending in 2016.

That time, Robredo was the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council secretary.

“Kapag inimbitahan ako, pupunta ako. Pero without the invitation, hindi ako pupunta, kasi kung naaalala naman natin noong 2016, ayaw akong pa-attend-in. So baka maging istorbo pa ako doon,” she said last Saturday.

Robredo was previously told to “desist” from attending Cabinet meetings in December 2016 which she shared was the “last straw,” citing the executive branch’s lack of support on HUDCC.

The 2017 budget of the council’s key shelter agencies were “slashed by more than P19 billion” while their key shelter agency appointment recommendations “were not acted on.”