FALSE: Robredo suggests ‘inhaling cough back’ to prevent virus spread


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FALSE: Robredo suggests ‘inhaling cough back’ to prevent virus spread
The graphic was edited, says News5

Claim: Vice President Leni Robredo suggests “inhaling cough back” to prevent the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Dapat ‘pag umubo, sana pahigop… para ‘di na kumalat pa (If you feel the urge to cough, you should inhale it back to prevent spread [of the virus]),” a viral graphic quoted Robredo as saying. It was dated March 12, 2020.

The graphic used News5’s logo and social media account handles.

Several readers emailed the graphic to Rappler for verification. Facebook Claim Check, its monitoring tool that identifies potentially dubious posts, also flagged hundreds of Facebook posts containing the graphic.

The earliest post publicly available was shared on Saturday, March 14. It is still being circulated as of writing.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The Vice President did not say what was attributed to her in the graphic. News5 said the graphic was edited using their template.

Edited ang quote card na itong ginagamit ang pangalan ng News5 para magpakalat ng maling impormasyon. Hindi totoong nanggaling kay VP Leni Robredo ang naturang statement. Huwag share nang share, Kapatid,” News5 said in a post on their official Facebook account.

(This quote card was edited to spread false information using the name of News5. It is not true the statement came from VP Leni Robredo. Don’t keep on sharing.)

News5 did post a quote card of Robredo on March 12, but it contained a different statement. In the original post, Robredo says panic buying and hoarding won’t help in the fight against coronavirus.


Rappler reached out to two of the earliest Facebook users who posted the graphic publicly on their profiles to ask for their source. Both did not respond to our message, but one of them took down their post.

Robredo’s camp also denied saying the statement. “Honestly, that we still have to respond to fake news at a time of national crisis is both frustrating and alarming. That the troll armies would still devote their time and effort to manufacturing slurs against the VP, while the Filipino people are facing this grave a threat, is beyond belief. But very well, for the record, the Vice President never said this ridiculous statement,” spokesperson Barry Gutierrez told Rappler in a message.

As of Tuesday morning, March 17, the Office of the Vice President and its partner-donors had raised P17.3 million in donation funds to buy more personal protective equipment sets for health workers on the frontlines of fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

Robredo has been a frequent target of hoaxes, particularly false quotes. Out of the 21 fake quotes that Rappler debunked in 2019, 8 had targeted Robredo. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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