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Claim: Cardiologist and online health personality Dr. Willie Ong, also known as Doc Willie, is endorsing Navitas Barley Grass Powder, a product claimed to detox the body and provide various health benefits.
Rating: ALTERED PHOTO
Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook page that published the post is named “Doc.c WilIiie & Lizza 0ng’s Health Tips.”
The post shows a photo of Ong and his wife holding the product. As of writing, it has garnered 2,000 likes, 768 comments, and 30 shares.
Altered photo: The Navitas Barley Grass Powder ad used a photo taken by the Philippine News Agency on October 11, 2018. The original photo showed Ong, accompanied by his wife, presenting his certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator in the 2019 midterm elections.
The ad edited the photo, covering Ong’s COC with a box of Navitas Barley Grass Powder to make it seem that Ong and his wife are holding the product.
Ong not endorsing Navitas: Ong told Rappler in an email that he doesn’t endorse the product. The health personality, known for sharing health tips online, added that he and his wife only support Birch Tree Advance, a nutritional milk for seniors made by Century Pacific Foods.
“We don’t endorse Navitas Barley or any other products,” Ong said.
Not FDA registered: Barley Grass Powder from the brand Navitas Organics is not on the Philippine Food and Drug Administration list of approved food products.
Previous false claims: The same brand has also used the image of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle in an ad that uses the same tactic.
Rappler has fact-checked similar claims about products using Ong in false endorsements:
- FACT CHECK: Fake ads for hair growth product use Doc Willie Ong’s videos
(August 11, 2023)
- FACT CHECK: Doc Willie Ong ad promoting whitening toothpaste is fake
(July 25, 2023)
- FACT CHECK: Doc Willie Ong’s name, videos used in fake ads for Glufarelin
(July 21, 2023)
– Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com
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