FALSE: Robredo 'wary of' Piñol’s river dredging proposal
Claim: Vice President Leni Robredo reacted to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol’s proposal to dredge major nationwide river systems as flood projects on rivers, saying they “are prone to corruption.”
In an article published on January 6, the website Politiko (politics.com.ph) quoted Robredo's supposed remarks in her radio program, "BISErbisyong Leni," which also aired on the same day on RMN-DZXL.
The article headlined with Robredo being "wary" of Piñol's proposal, based on what she supposedly said in her program, which took off from discussions on flooding after Tropical Depression Usman hit Bicol about a week earlier in December 2018.
On January 8, two days after Politiko's story was published, a reaction from Piñol who cited the story and said Robredo’s remarks left him “dumbfounded and wondering what other options should be considered” was triggered. The Secretary added that Robredo revealed a “narrow-minded” perspective of how government should work and cooperate by “giving more weight on the possibility of corruption instead of the benefits that the dredging of the rivers will bring.”
Piñol’s remarks were then carried by major news websites as well as by dubious sites like am-i-right-rightttt.blogspot.com which described Robredo’s remarks as the “dumbest idea” given that “flooding in the Bicol region is a big problem of Bicolanos.” The authors, editors, and owners of am-i-right-rightttt.blogspot.com are unknown.
The facts: Robredo made no reference at all to Piñol and his river dredging proposal during her radio show. She discussed flooding and recalled how, during the time of former public works secretary Babes Singson, desilting was discouraged because it was prone to corruption.
Below is the video of the show:
Editor’s Note: Rappler published this fact check piece on January 22, after the claim posted on am-i-right-rightttt.blogspot.com was emailed to us. This prompted us to trace the source of the claim which wrongly linked Robredo’s statement to Piñol’s proposal. Upon review, however, we realized that the fact check piece failed to take note of the new story published by Politiko. This fact-check explainer has been updated to clarify this chain of events.
Politiko did not update or correct its original story after Robredo issued her denial. Neither did it link to Robredo's denial which it carried as a separate report on January 16. This new story mentioned other salient details in the January 6 interview which were not reflected in the original story.
Politiko defines itself as a “social news blog where politikos, their kin, friends and allies are the center of the universe.” It has an About page containing the names of its staff. Meanwhile, the blog am-i-right-rightttt.blogspot.com describes itself as “looking at events from a different perspective,” while its articles often provoke partisan views. – Addie Pobre/ Rappler.com