Truth verify: Supposed Cynthia Villar quote on ABS-CBN, eye luggage is faux

By Dark Circles Free / January 29, 2022

January 28, 2022 | 10:10am

MANILA, Philippines — A social card with the logo of a news agency quoting a supposed statement from Sen. Cynthia Villar made the rounds on social media on Thursday.

CLAIM: The social card with ABS-CBN’s logo quoted Villar supposedly commenting on her family’s “purchase” of frequencies formerly assigned to the network and making a dig against someone working for “18 hours” a day.

RATING: This is fake.


What did the post say

The social card attributed a quote to Villar where defended her family’s purchase of the frequency formerly assigned to ABS-CBN, saying they have money and work hard.

The lawmaker, also the wife of real estate magnate Manny, also supposedly made a snide comment against an unnamed person who works 18 hours but does not have eye bags.

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What it left out

ABS-CBN on Thursday night posted a disinformation alert, telling the public that the supposed graphic did not come from them.

The manipulated social card also did not state where the supposed Villar quite came from or the date of the statement or interview. These are details that are included on official social cards from ABS-CBN.

The media company said the original social card for Villar was posted on August 1, 2020, where the senator was commenting on a separate issue.

Essential context

The card spread on social media on Thursday, shortly after news broke out that a Villar-owned company had been assignedchannels 16 and 2, frequencies that had been  recalled from ABS-CBN when its franchise lapsed and a House panel voted against its application for a new franchise.

Frequencies are part of the national patrimony and cannot be bought or owned by individuals or corporations. The National Telecommunications Commission assigns the use of these frequencies to broadcasters that have franchises.

READ: ABS-CBN shares fall after Villar-led media firm bags idle frequencies

Although the supposed quote did not mention any name, it circulated days after Vice President Leni Robredo said on “The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews” that she works 18 hours a day. Social media users have poked fun at the statement, with one claiming — incorrectly — that a day only has 12 hours.

Why does it matter?

The claim was submitted by a reader to our email for verification.

The specific post cited by the reader was posted by the page Negros Oriental Updates. As of Friday morning, it was shared 1,100 times and earned 4,500 reactions and 567 comments.

A check on monitoring tool CrowdTangle also showed that the fake social card has been shared by pages that also campaigned against Robredo and promoted her top rivals on the same day.

The post shared by one account was shared over 6,700 times and gained 8,500 reactions. Comment on the said post however was limited.

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Robredo, a de facto opposition candidate, has long been on the receiving end of false information, but’s monitoring showed an increase as the campaign heats up.

In an interview with TV host Boy Abunda that aired Wednesday, the vice president said a law to penalize social media sites and make them accountable for posts shared on their platform is needed.

“Social media sites should make sure that their content is accessible only to those who can digest it mentally and psychologically,” she added. — Kristine Joy Patag

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.

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