MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday, May 3, called out a Philippine Star reporter for allegedly spreading “fake news” about the ongoing ballot recount in the electoral protest filed against her.
In a Facebook post, Robredo reacted to a tweet of journalist Edu Punay that her lead against her poll fraud accuser, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, has been reduced by over 21,000 votes.
Punay covers the judiciary for the Philippine Star.
Robredo accused the journalist of preempting the final recount tally of the Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET). (READ: TIMELINE: Marcos-Robredo election case)
“This is fake news. Propaganda meant to condition the minds of the public. Two weeks ago, [the] PR stunt was we already lost 5,000 votes. Both are fake,” said Robredo, who shared the Philippine Star tweet on Punay's post.
The Vice President was referring to rumors that she supposedly already lost 5,000 votes from the ongoing recount. Her lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, already denied this.
“If you really won the elections, why the need for fake news?” added the Vice President, apparently addressing the Marcos camp.
Punay declined to comment on Robredo's statement when asked by Rappler.
In a separate media interview, the Vice President said she would call out and correct any misinformation that will be spread against her.
"Marami nang opinyon na na-shape dahil sa panlilinlang. Naging tahimik na tayo for much too long. Mali iyon, ina-admit ko, mali iyon. Pero hindi pa late para i-correct," said Robredo.
(A lot of opinions have been shaped by misinformation. We've been silent for much too long. That's a mistake, I admit, that was a mistake. But it's not too late to correct that.)
"At ngayon na na-realize natin na mali na we kept silent, talagang pupunahin na natin every time may maling lumalabas (And now that we realized it's a mistake that we kept silent, we will really call out misinformation every time it comes out)," she added.
The PET is recounting votes in Robredo’s home province Camarines Sur, one of the 3 pilot provinces Marcos picked for the initial recount along with Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
The results of the recount in these 3 pilot provinces will determine whether or not the rest of Marcos’ electoral protest has merit.
For now, the PET is recounting votes using a 50% shading threshold. This means only ovals in the ballots shaded by at least 50% will be considered a valid count. (READ: SC says no basis for Robredo's claim of 'systematic decrease' in her votes)
In a series of tweets, Punay explained that Robredo’s loss of votes in the ongoing ballot recount is because of the 50% shading threshold.
Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at email@example.com or tweet @maracepeda.