The Ilocos Norte provincial government disowns the petition, and condemns the use of its official seal to ‘spread falsehoods and malicious statements directed at any person or group’
At a glance
- Claim: The Ilocos Norte provincial government backs a petition to declare Vice President Leni Robredo as “persona non grata” or unwelcome in the province since the petition posted on social media by a university student bears the official seal of Ilocos Norte.
- Rating: FALSE.
- The facts: The Ilocos Norte provincial government disowns the petition, and condemns the use of its official seal to “spread falsehoods and malicious statements directed at any person or group.”
- Why we fact-checked this: As of writing, the post has garnered at least 93 shares on Facebook, 451 likes, and 357 comments. The letter shared in the post could be misconstrued as the official stand of the provincial government.
On Tuesday, March 15, Facebook user Von Keizer Bulan, who claims to be a student of the Mariano Marcos State University, posted a petition using the officials seal of the Ilocos Norte provincial government and seeking to declare Vice President Leni Robredo to be declared as “persona non grata” or unwelcome in the province.
Ilocos Norte is the home province of Robredo’s rival in the presidential race, former governor and senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
As of writing, the post has garnered at least 93 shares on Facebook, 451 likes, and 357 comments. The letter shared in the post could be misconstrued as the official stand of the provincial government.
The claim that the Ilocos Norte provincial government supports the petition against Robredo is false.
The petition says Robredo made “fabricated and fallacious statements in other country, specifically at the London School of Economics (LSE), in mentioning Ilocos Norte as one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines.” It added that Robredo’s statements were “offending, insulting, agonizing, and [an] unfair judgment [as] she is currently sitting as Vice President.”
Written on behalf of “Ilocos Norte Concerned Residents,” the posted petition does not show a single signatory.
The post could be referring to the statement Robredo made in April 2018 at the LSE, where she mistakenly included Ilocos Norte as one of the “10 provinces with the highest dynastic share in the 2016 elections [and had] consistently ranked in the Top 20 poorest provinces since 2004.”
Her statement during her talk was fact-checked by Vera Files, noting that Robredo flubbed the data during her speech, which cited the paper co-authored by current Ateneo School of Government Dean Ronald Mendoza entitled “Dynasties Thrive Under Decentralization in the Philippines.”
The Office of the Vice President (OVP) said there was a “mix up” in the data enumerated by Robredo, and apologized to LSE for the “inadvertent misinterpretation of the list” from Mendoza’s study.
The study listed Ilocos Norte as one of the provinces mentioned by Robredo for being part of the “top 20 most dynastic philippine provinces from 2004 to 2016, not for being part of the top 20 poorest provinces,” the OVP said.
In a statement posted on Facebook on Tuesday, the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, through its media office, said that it “disowns the statement being circulated on social media about a certain presidential candidate.”
It said that the province’s official logo should not be used to “spread falsehoods and malicious statements directed at any person or group.”
Gervy James Gumarit, Ilocos Norte government information officer, said that their permission was not sought pertaining to the use of the capitol’s official logo in the letter.
“I would like to make it clearthat what [is] being said in the statement is not the official stand of the provincial government,” he said.
The Sanguniang Panlalawigan secretariat had not received a copy of the petition either when Rappler tried to verify it.
Rappler tried to reach out to the student who posted the letter for comment but had not received a reply as of writing. We will update this story once we receive a reply.
In his post, he called on citizens to support the petition, claiming that Robredo’s “invalid statements” that “justify her political ambitions” should be “eradicated.”
The provincial government then asked the public to be more “discerning” about information that are being shared. – John Michael Mugas/Rappler.com
John Michael Mugas is a Luzon-based journalist and a recipient of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.
Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also report dubious claims to#FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.