Robredo supporter: Fake news ‘impossible’ to debunk within 8 months

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - MAY 13: Filipinos take part in a protest against election results outside the Philippine International Convention Center, where votes are being canvassed, on May 13, 2022 in Manila, Philippines. According to former Tourism Undersecretary Vicente Romano III, a supporter of former Vice President Leni Robredo, it was just not possible to overcome during the campaign period the false narratives planted by the Marcos camp in the last decade as they have take roots. (PHOTO: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - MAY 13: Filipinos take part in a protest against election results outside the Philippine International Convention Center, where votes are being canvassed, on May 13, 2022 in Manila, Philippines. According to former Tourism Undersecretary Vicente Romano III, a supporter of former Vice President Leni Robredo, it was just not possible to overcome during the campaign period the false narratives planted by the Marcos camp in the last decade as they have take roots. (PHOTO: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

A supporter of former presidential candidate and Vice President Leni Robredo has said that there was no massive election fraud in the 2022 presidential elections amid claims by the opposition of election fraud and voters’ disenfranchisement.

“The false narratives that they [Marcos camp] have planted in the last decade have taken roots, and it was just impossible to demolish them within the eight-month campaign period,'' said former Tourism Undersecretary Vicente Romano III on Thursday (Sep 29).

Fact-checking initiative Tsek.ph has found that Robredo is the “biggest victim” of disinformation, while Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. benefited most from positive but misleading posts on social media.

During the launch of his book “From the Heart: How I Became Social Media Influencer at Age 65”, Romano shared that he even acknowledged Robredo’s loss just a day after the unofficial results.

Although his followers were dismayed, he said that the elections only reflected the choice of the people as what major polling firms and even their internal surveys had expected.

“Some of my friends and followers were disappointed, even resentful that I gave up so easily. After all, there were still some reports of electoral fraud that might yet invalidate the unofficial count. But I’ve been monitoring the supposed or the reported incidents of fraud and other conspiracy theories moving around in social media, and many of them could be explained. There simply was no smoking gun evidence that pointed to any large-scale systematic fraud,” Ramos said.

“There might have been massive vote buying, disenfranchisement and other irregularities, more than the usual presidential elections, but I don’t think that it was on a scale that would alter the results. The results — BBM at 58 (percent), VP Leni at 29 (percent), reflected what the surveys of major pollsters and even our own internal surveys have been saying,” he added.

Romano further noted that the house-to-house efforts were ‘too little and too late’.

“BBM was spot on, our numbers may have surged by around five points — the effect perhaps of our last minute house-to-house efforts. Sadly, too little, too late. The false narratives that they have planted in the last decade have taken roots, and it was just impossible to demolish them within the eight-month campaign period,” he said.

After Robredo’s loss in the 2022 presidential elections, election watchdogs claimed that there was election fraud because of a massive disinformation campaign in favor of dictator’s son and now President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Election watchdog Kontra Daya earlier pointed out that about 1,800 vote counting machines (VCMs) also malfunctioned during the elections.

Earlier, Kontra Daya spokesperson Malou Jarabe said that the recent elections “were plagued with incidents of fraud and disinformation.”

“Right from the start, Kontra Daya remained critical of the conduct of the automated elections in the country for its lack of transparency and accountability,” she said.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings. The views expressed are his own.

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