2022 PH presidential race

Robredo urges supporters: Don’t let lies rule elections, step up fight vs disinformation

Ryan Macasero, John Sitchon
Robredo urges supporters: Don’t let lies rule elections, step up fight vs disinformation

LENI IN CEBU. Presidential bet Leni Robredo and her running mate Kiko Pangilinan at the Cebu People's Rally at Southwestern University-PHINMA in Cebu City February 24, 2022.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

'Pag hindi po natin lalabanan 'yun, ang eleksyon na ito madedesisyunan, ang basehan kasinungalingan,' presidential candidate Leni Robredo says in a campaign rally in Cebu

CEBU, Philippines – In her first campaign tour of Cebu, Vice President and presidential candidate Leni Robredo urged her supporters to step up the fight against online disinformation, saying that failing to do so would allow “lies” to determine the course of the nearing elections.

Robredo made the call at the Cebu People’s Rally attended by an estimated crowd of 10,000 to 12,000 people at the Southwestern University-PHINMA in Cebu City on Thursday night, February 24.

“Ang amin pong pakiusap, samahan ‘nyo po kami sa laban na ito. Hindi lang po sa paraan nang pagboboto pero labanan po natin ‘yung lahat na disinformation – labanan po natin lahat na fake news. Dahil ‘pag hindi po natin lalabanan ‘yun, ang eleksyon na ito madedesisyunan, ang basehan kasinungalingan,” Robredo said, noting that there were only 73 days until election day. 

(We ask that you join us in this fight. Not just in the manner of voting but let’s fight all forms of disinformation – let’s fight fake news. Because if we don’t fight that, this election will be decided based on lies.)

Robredo is often the target of online disinformation, according to a January 2022 fact-checking initiative Tesk.PH report. 

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While Robredo has strong support in Cebu, she still lags behind Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in national preelection surveys on voters’ preferences with just months before the elections.

The Vice President said in a media interview in Talisay City earlier on Thursday that she was banking on her fulfilled campaign promises in Cebu to help her win once again in the country’s most vote-rich province.

‘No other way for better Cebu, PH’

Former Cebu City mayor Tommy Osmeña, who attended the rally, urged Filipinos to choose Robredo as their next president, saying there was “no other way” and “no other choice” for a “better Philippines.”

“For a better Cebu and a better Philippines, there is no other way. No other than Leni Robredo for president. No more Marcos, no more Duterte,” Osmeña said, amid cheers from the crowd.

Asked to elaborate on his statement later, the former mayor told Rappler, “We will rock them,” referring to the top rival of Robredo.

BOPK, the local party that Osmeña founded, endorsed Robredo for president in November 2021.

Osmeña has been critical of the Duterte administration, which made him a target of the Philippine leader. In 2018, Duterte threatened then-mayor Osmeña for acting like the latter “owned” Cebu City. (READ: Duterte warns Tommy Osmeña: Don’t mess with me)

The Osmeña family were leading anti-Martial Law figures in the country during the Marcos regime. Osmeña’s father, Sergio Osmeña Jr., ran and lost against Ferdinand Marcos in the 1965 presidential election.

In her speech, Robredo cited her family’s ties with Osmeña, who was a good friend of her late husband, Jesse Robredo. She also said Osmeña helped her in her first foray into politics, when she ran for Camarines Sur congresswoman in 2013.

Robredo won in Cebu in the 2016 vice presidential elections with over 800,000 votes, followed by then-senator Alan Peter Cayetano with 436,000 votes, and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. with over 300,000 votes. 

On Friday, Robredo held rallies with her vice presidential candidate Kiko Pangilinan and members of her senatorial slate in Talisay City, Argao, Cebu City, and Toledo City. 

With a report from Lorraine Ecarma/Rappler.com

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.