Vice President Leni Robredo yesterday shut down claims that her office had distributed spoiled meals that caused food poisoning at a hospital in Quezon City.
Robredo posted online a few screenshots of the allegations made against her by one Jacques Phillip, who asked people to confirm a “rumor” about the “mediocre VP” whom he claimed sent spoiled food to the medical workers at Diliman Doctors Hospital.
He added that Robredo’s spokesperson, Barry Gutierrez, allegedly rushed to the hospital and bribed the staff with cash to keep the mishap under wraps. Several critics of the vice president shared Phillip’s post on their respective accounts, adding fuel to the claims and calling Robredo’s donations “all for show.”
Robredo rejected these rumors and shot back, “Please report this fake news peddler who is trying to skip liability with his ‘confirm, if possible’ line. This never happened. I never went to this hospital.”
Gutierrez has likewise never visited Diliman Doctors or any hospital during the entire duration of Metro Manila’s quarantine, Robredo said. She added that her team which donates hot meals to frontliners has never received any reports about food poisoning.
Please report this fake news peddler who is trying to skip liability with his “confirm, if possible” line. This has…
She warned that those who spread damaging rumors could be prosecuted.
“If there was no malice, you should have checked first before posting. You should know that posting fake news makes you criminally liable. Let us report him plus all those who reposted. Take screen shots of everything, including those who reposted because we will go after all of them,” the vice president urged her followers.
Robredo said she will also go after Phillip on Twitter, where he is allegedly spreading the same misinformation, and asked her supporters to send screenshots of other rumors which are circulating online about her.
“Please help us gather all evidences (sic), including screenshots of those who retweeted. We will no longer tolerate any of these,” Robredo said.
Robredo has long long been flinging brickbats from President Rodrigo Duterte’s loyal followers online, collectively known as the Diehard Duterte Supporters. Early this year, Robredo’s efforts to help victims of the Taal eruption were met with Duterte chearleader Mocha Uson claiming that an evacuee received just five pieces of bread and a bottle of water from the vice president’s team. Robredo called it out as “fake news” on top of being an “insult” to her team’s relief efforts.
The vice president’s ultimatum on fake news spreaders comes just after Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa was convicted of cyberlibel. The country’s cybercrime law or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 prohibits people from making false allegations online, and those found guilty of violating it can be fined up to PHP500,000 (US$9,962) and face imprisonment of up to 12 years.
This article, Robredo cries foul at ‘fake news,’ denies she donated spoiled food to hospital, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!