Fact checks on public officials

FACT CHECK: Drilon wasn’t asleep in 2020 CNN Philippines interview


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FACT CHECK: Drilon wasn’t asleep in 2020 CNN Philippines interview
The interviewer, Pinky Webb, has previously debunked the claim, which has recently circulated again after Drilon remarked about the 'lack of decorum' in the Senate

Claim: Former senator Franklin Drilon was sleeping during an interview on CNN Philippines that aired on February 27, 2020. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim can be found in a video uploaded by the YouTube channel “Showbiz Fanaticz” last June 21. The video’s title reads: “Matapos TAWAGING BASTOS sina ROBIN at BATO | DRILON, PINAGMUMURA ng NETIZENS, IKAW NGA KANTULOG!” 

(After calling [Senator Robin Padilla] and [Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa] rude, Drilon cussed by netizens, you were sleeping!). At the 2:19 and 5:37 mark, the video featured the portion of the CNN Philippines interview that showed Drilon supposedly asleep. Text superimposed on the video reads: “NAKATULOG SI SEN. DRILON SA INTERVIEW” (Drilon fell asleep during an interview).

As of writing, the video already had 11,000 views.

Clarification by Pinky Webb: Drilon’s interviewer, host Pinky Webb, had previously set the record straight back in 2020 when the false claim first surfaced.

In a Twitter post on March 2, 2020, Webb wrote: “Here’s what happened. As I was laying the premise for my question, I saw Sen Drilon look down at the documents he had on the table. I did not see him fall asleep.”

This is consistent with the 1:51 mark in the interview, in which documents can be briefly seen on the table in front of the former senator. 

In a previous fact-check by Vera Files in March 2020, a screen grab of the same clip without the graphics at the bottom of the video also showed that Drilon was looking down at the documents. Vera Files’ fact check also discussed in some detail how the false claim was amplified by former broadcaster Jay Sonza and blogger “Thinking Pinoy” (RJ Nieto).

Recap: Prior to the moment of Drilon supposedly falling asleep, he had been animatedly engaging in conversation with Webb. At the 11:54 mark, Webb starts to ask Drilon a question. Drilon is then seen with his head bowed, and a light remark sounding like “hmm” can also be heard from him. Drilon is seen beginning to raise his head at 12:03, and starts answering the question at 12:12

Claim resurfaced: The false claim from 2020 resurfaced following a recent controversy involving neophyte senator Robin Padilla, who went viral over a video showing him combing his mustache during a Senate hearing.

Drilon said he was alarmed by the “lack of decorum” among the current roster of senators. Although he did not mention any names, Padilla seemed to be alluded to.

Must Read

Lack of decorum? No, Frank can’t touch Robin’s mustache.

Lack of decorum? No, Frank can’t touch Robin’s mustache.

In a statement on June 17, Padilla made an apparent swipe at Drilon, saying that while they were “noisy,” they were not sleeping on the job – referring to previous allegations of Drilon supposedly sleeping during interviews and hearings.

“Showbiz Fanaticz” YouTube channel: Rappler has fact-checked claims from “Showbiz Fanaticz” many times before. A September 2021 Rappler article said that the YouTube channel had been fact-checked at least 41 times at the time of writing. (READ: Red flag for 2022: Political lies go unchecked on YouTube showbiz channels) – Percival Bueser/ Rappler.com

Percival Bueser is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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