2021 photos of Moreno, Marcos dining resurface after viral Manila Pen presser

April 18, 2022 - 2:15 PM
This now-deleted photo shows presidential aspirants Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno dining together. Photo was uploaded Feb. 9, 2021. (Filipino Freethinkers via Daily Guardian)

(Updated 3:23 p.m.) A deleted photo of a dinner between two presidential candidates resurfaced on social media following the Manila Peninsula conference last Sunday.

The photo showed Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso at a dining table with Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with the caption “WHAT’S COOKING? In a since-deleted post by his chief of staff, photos of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno sharing dinner with defeated vice-pres bet & former senator Bongbong Marcos made rounds in social Media Source link: bit.ly/2YXlt1B.”


The post lacks context.

While the uploader added a link to the source of the photo which leads to a post of the Daily Guardian in February 2021, the post did not include the date, making it seem that the meeting was recent. It was taken in February last year, months before the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May elections.

It was part of an album that was first uploaded by Moreno’s chief of staff. However, the post was already deleted.

Prior to its deletion, a Facebook group called Filipino Freethinkers managed to download them and post them on its page.

This post could no longer be accessed as of writing.

Some publications also picked this up and reported the post on their respective pages on Feb. 9, 2021.

According to Daily Guardian, the original caption reads: “Kwentuhang LRT, Kadiwa at Nutriban sa baton at kumpas ni Mel Robles.”

The caption from Filipino Freethinkers, on the other hand, was more speculative: “It looks like they’re already plotting for 2022. I haven’t seen Bongbong in a while. With 2022 so close, I hope he finally gives up on trying to remove Leni.”

The Daily Guardian also shared four photos from the dinner.

Now You Know, another Facebook page, shared the Daily Guardian’s report on the same day. Citing an anonymous source, the news outlet reported that the photos were taken during a wedding that Moreno supposedly facilitated.

“A reliable source reached out to NYK to clarify that the picture was taken during an occasion where Mayor Isko facilitated a wedding and Bongbong Marcos was an invited guest. Accordingly, no talks about the 2022 elections transpired,” the news website’s Facebook post read.

Both Moreno and Marcos are now running for the presidency along with eight other hopefuls this year.

The Manila Pen conference

Some social media users brought up this deleted photo after five political candidates, including the Manila Mayor himself, held a joint press conference at the grand ballroom of the Manila Peninsula, a five-star hotel, last Sunday, April 17.

The candidates who attended the press briefing are the following:

  • Moreno with his running mate Willie Ong
  • Panfilo “Ping” Lacson with his running mate Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto
  • Former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales

The online users placed new comments under posts of the media outlets that reported the old photos at that time.

They shared their speculations that someone might have planned or funded the press conference.

“2021 pa Lang napag usapan na nila…kaya pala kunwari sabi ni Isko na away daw ng dilawan para di halata…uhmmmm!” one Facebook user said.

“Who funded the press conference? Hmmm,” another user asked.

“Truth will always come out and now we know the true attitude and political ambition of these people. All for personal interests,” another user said.

Others re-shared one of the photos on Facebook and Twitter.


These claims are misleading.

Why the photos were brought up

At the press conference, Gonzales, Lacson and Moreno made a public proposal for a new “number 2” to supposedly go against the frontrunner in the elections.

They were referring to Vice President Leni Robredo, who recently leaped in the surveys in second place behind Marcos. The latter continues to lead the polls.

READ: At joint presser, bets make pitch for ‘new No.2’ vs frontrunner Marcos

Moreno, a far third with 8% in the last Pulse Asia voter preference survey, also called for Robredo’s withdrawal from the race altogether despite being less than a month away from the national polls.

Meanwhile, reacting to the resurfaced photos, Moreno explained that he and Marcos were invited last year to attend a “surprise event,” according to a report of ABS-CBN. 

“Ang nangyari doon, nag-cut ako ng ribbon. Ako mayor, salamat may negosyo, may trabaho tapos nagkasal ako,” the mayor was quoted as saying.

“Kinasal ko yung may-ari. It was supposed to be a surprise sa kaniyang long-term partner,” he added.

RELATED: Why Pacquiao was a no-show at Manila Peninsula conference 

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 [email protected]

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.