Fact check: Robredo parody page answers critics of Bar retakers

April 6, 2022 - 6:46 PM
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Philippine Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo announces her candidacy for president, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 7, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

CLAIM: A Facebook page named Atty. Leni Robredo defended bar retakers like Vice President Leni Robredo from critics.

The post was in response to a lawyer named Bruce Rivera who mentioned that vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio passed the Bar examinations on her first try.

Rivera’s post reads: “Paalala: Si Inday Sara passed the bar exams on her first try and was admitted to the bar in 2006. Pakitanong sa iba ilang beses sila kumuha ng bar exams.”

Screenshot of Bruce Rivera’s post captured on 6 April 2022

The Robredo page made a screenshot of this post and uploaded it along with a lengthy post defending Robredo’s Bar retake.

The post was written from the first-person point of view using the vice president’s name.

Robredo is running for the presidency in the elections this May.

In its response, the page reminded others about the different struggles Bar takers go through while studying and taking the sought-after Bar exams.

It also pointed out that Robredo, whom the page addressed as the author of the post, eventually became a lawyer after taking the licensure test again.

Part of it reads: “But at the end of the day, I passed the bar eventually. At the end of the day, I became a lawyer and I am still a lawyer.”

The author also encouraged lawyers-to-be and other Filipinos to not be ashamed if they do not succeed in their first attempts of following their dreams.

The post ended with a message of respect to Duterte-Carpio, a lawyer and running for vice president.

Rating

The post of the Facebook page “Atty. Leni Robredo” is a parody.

Facts

The Facebook page itself is labeled as a Satire Page.

According to Facebook’s classification, Satire pages are “a way for people to share social commentary by using humor, exaggeration and absurdity to make a point.”

Facebook page Atty. Leni Robredo is labeled as a Satire Page

Robredo’s official pages are:

  • VP Leni Robredo with a blue checkmark and a “government official” label
  • Leni Gerona Robredo with a “public figure” label

The post, on the other hand, is a parody of official statements and messages Robredo issues through these accounts.

Parody refers to “a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule,” according to Merriam-Webster.

Robredo has been vocal about failing to pass the Philippine bar exams on her first try in 1992.

In a speech in 2017, the vice president explained that she was juggling being a mother to two kids and a teacher during that time.

“And as busy as I was being a politician’s wife, being a mother to two daughters already at that time, being a teacher, I took the bar exam without any preparation. And I just hoped for the best. When the results came out, my name was nowhere to be found on the list of passers. I failed on my first try,” Robredo said.

She took the Bar exams again and passed in 1997.

Why it matters

Rivera’s first post received over 9,000 reactions, 4,900 comments and 1,500 shares on Facebook.

The lawyer received mixed reactions. Some online users agreed with him and others perceived his remarks to be disparaging to Bar retakers.

These interactions eventually prompted Filipino lawyers and other Filipinos to defend retakers of licensure tests.

READ: ‘No lawyer hierarchy’: What Filipino attorneys are saying to critics of Bar retakers

The Robredo satire page, on the other hand, got more engagements with 44,000 reactions, 10,000 comments and 12,000 shares.

Following a slew of criticisms, Rivera later shared another post on April 5 to respond to this page despite it being labeled as a satire page.

Part of his post reads: “I do not see anything wrong if we are proud of this achievement of Inday Sara in the same way as lawyer is proud to have passed the Bar.”

This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts.

Interaksyon is part of #FactsFirstPH, a multi-sectoral initiative promoting truth in public space and demanding accountability for falsehoods. For those interested to join the initiative, email 

Interaksyon is also a founding partner of Tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 Philippine elections. It is an initiative of academe, civil society groups and media to counter disinformation and provide the public with verified information.