Posts falsely claim media 'did not cover' impeachment protest against ex-Philippine VP

·3 min read

Several images of a demonstration calling for the impeachment of former Philippine vice president Leni Robredo in 2017 have been shared in posts on Twitter and Facebook that claim Philippine media outlets did not report on the event at the time. This is false: there were multiple news reports about the protest in 2017 and the photos were distributed by the media shortly after the event.

The five images were shared in a Facebook post on June 12, 2022.

They show demonstrators at a rally carrying placards with the text "Impeach Leni" or "Leni Resign".

The post's Tagalog-language caption translates to English as: "Did you know that in 2017 there was a massive rally to kick out Leni Robredo [from the vice presidency?] But they did not listen to us. This didn't even come out in the news".

Screenshot of false post taken on July 9, 2022

In 2017, a group of lawyers who support former Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte filed an impeachment complaint against his nemesis, then vice president Leni Robredo, after she criticised his brutal war against illegal drugs at a United Nations meeting.

However, no legislator endorsed the complaint in the House of Representatives, where impeachment proceedings begin.

Duterte also told his supporters to "stop" calling for Robredo's impeachment.

Robredo lost to Duterte's ally, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, in presidential elections in May this year.

The photos were shared alongside a similar claim on Twitter; and here, here and here on Facebook.

Comments from some social media users on the posts indicated they believed the claim.

"So these are only coming out now? Mainstream media is really a paid hack; they don't report on these things", wrote one.

"See? The mainstream media really has a bias for Leni", wrote another.

But the claim is false.

Protest coverage

Keyword searches on Google and YouTube surfaced multiple news reports about the protest dubbed "Palit-Bise (Change the Vice President) Rally" held on April 2, 2017 in Manila.

About 4,500 people attended the demonstration, according to the reports.

Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN reported live from the event; GMA News and Eagle News aired their reports here and here.

Other Philippine news outlets also covered the protest, including Rappler, CNN Philippines, The Manila Times, The Manila Standard, the Manila Bulletin and the Inquirer.

2017 photos

A reverse image search of three photos used in the false posts found they were captured and distributed by media organisations in April 2017.

Three of the images show scenes from the April 2 protest published by GMA News, The Manila Times and AFP respectively.

Below are screenshot comparisons of the photos in the false posts (left) and their original sources from GMA News, The Manila Times and AFP (right):

The two remaining photos show different protests staged before the April demonstration.

One shared on the website of the Philippine Entertainment Portal shows a protest staged by some 20 people in front of Robredo's office in March.

The other, published by Philippine media outlet Rappler, shows a press conference staged by the pro-Duterte lawyers group on March 23, announcing their impeachment complaint against Robredo.

Below are screenshot comparisons of the photos in the false posts (left) and the original images (right):

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