Posts target Filipino presidential hopeful Leni Robredo with misleadingly edited interview clip

Social media posts criticizing Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo feature a video alongside a claim that the top job hopeful faked her response in a TV interview over allegations she cheated to defeat her rival Ferdinand Marcos Jr during the 2016 election. The messages have been circulating online ahead of the presidential elections in May where Robredo follows the son and namesake of the country’s former dictator. But the video shared in the posts – which has gained tens of thousands of views – had been misleadingly edited. The Supreme Court of the Philippines in 2021 dismissed Marcos Jr’s voter fraud case against Robredo for “lack of merit”.

The video was shared on Facebook on February 19. It has since been viewed more than 75,000 times.

The 22-second clip appears to show an exchange between Robredo and veteran broadcaster Noli De Castro of the Philippine television network ABS-CBN.

“How can someone steal the job you were elected for?” De Castro asks Robredo.

“Exactly,” Robredo seems to answer.

De Castro presses, “So you don’t understand?”

“I don’t understand,” says Robredo.

At the end of the clip, text that reads “So dumb!!” in Tagalog appears on the screen.

“Your mother [Leni] is really confused,” reads the caption of the post.

Screenshot of misleading Facebook post, taken March 12, 2022

Robredo is seeking the top job in the country’s May elections. Recent polls show her trailing rival Marcos Jr by a wide margin.

Marcos Jr previously accused Robredo of voter fraud after narrowly beating him in the 2016 vice-presidential race. A recount in hotly contested areas gave him a bigger lead.

Similar posts were also shared on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok here and here.

Comments on the posts suggest they have misled many social media users.

“I’m not a lawyer but even I can understand the question,” one wrote.

“She was not elected, Noli. She cheated,” says another.

But these messages are misleading.

doctored video

The video shared in the posts has been misleadingly edited. Keyword searches revealed it was taken from a longer interview Robredo gave in December 2016 to the TV Patrol news program.

In the original video, Robredo was asked about allegations that she cheated on Marcos Jr to win the vice presidency and his resignation from President Rodrigo Duterte’s cabinet in 2016.

The president and vice president are elected separately in the Philippines, and the current pair belong to rival parties.

However, parts of the news anchor’s questions and Robredo’s answers were omitted from the video shared in the misleading posts.

After a minute of the original video, De Castro asks, “How can someone steal the job you were elected for?”

Robredo responds, “Exactly. You know, I’m not allowed to talk about the case because it’s part of the oath I took. It’s part of our commitment. We know they filed a complaint [poll] protest even if it was baseless.”

“It’s part of the grand plan to remove me from my post.”

From the two minutes 32 seconds of the video, De Castro begins to question Robredo about his resignation from Duterte’s cabinet.

She responds by saying that a senior presidential adviser told her that she was banned from cabinet meetings for reasons that were unclear to her.

“So you don’t understand? De Castro asks.

“I don’t understand,” says Robredo.

Responding to the misleading messages, an ABS-CBN representative told AFP that the video had been “digitally edited from the TV Patrol interview”.

Election case dismissed

On February 16, 2021, the Supreme Court of the Philippines dismissed Marcos’ appeal against his electoral loss to Robredo, saying he “did not” prove electoral fraud.

The tribunal released its 93-page decision on the appeal here on April 19, 2021.

Robredo was a frequent target of misinformation ahead of the May vote, often stoked by supporters of Marcos Jr. AFP has debunked some of the more viral claims here.