Don’t let lies rule elections, step up fight vs disinformation

‘Pag hindi po natin lalabanan ‘yun, ang eleksyon na ito madedesisyunan, ang basehan kasinungalingan,’ presidential candidate Leni Robredo says in a campaign rally in Cebu

CEBU, Philippines – In her first campaign tour of Cebu, Vice President and presidential candidate Leni Robredo urged her supporters to step up the fight against online disinformation, saying that failing to do so would allow “lies” to determine the course of the nearing elections .

Robredo made the call at the Cebu People’s Rally attended by an estimated crowd of 10,000 to 12,000 people at the Southwestern University-PHINMA in Cebu City on Thursday night, February 24.

“Ang amin pong pakiusap, samahan ‘nyo po kami sa laban na ito. Hindi lang po sa paraan ng pagboboto pero labanan po natin ‘yung lahat na disinformation – labanan po natin lahat na fake news. Dahil ‘pag hindi po natin lalabanan ‘yun, ang eleksyon na ito madedesisyunan, ang basehan kasinungalingan,” Robredo said, noting that there were only 73 days until election day.

(We ask that you join us in this fight. Not just in the manner of voting but let’s fight all forms of disinformation – let’s fight fake news. Because if we don’t fight that, this election will be decided based on lies.)

Robredo is often the target of online disinformation, according to a January 2022 fact-checking initiative Tesk.PH report.

While Robredo has strong support in Cebu, she still lags behind Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in preelection surveys on voters’ preferences with just months before the elections.

The Vice President said in a media interview in Talisay earlier on Thursday that she was banking on her fulfilled campaign promises in Cebu to help her win once again in the country’s most vote-rich province.

‘No other way for better Cebu, PH’

Former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña, who attended the rally, urged Filipinos to choose Robredo as their next president, saying there was “no other way” and “no other choice” for a “better Philippines.”

“For a better Cebu and a better Philippines, there is no other way. No other than Leni Robredo for president. No more Marcos, no more Duterte,Osmeña said.

Asked to elaborate on his statement, the former mayor told Rappler, “We will rock them.”

BOPK, the local party the longtime former mayor Osmeña founded, already endorsed Robredo for president last November 2021

The former mayor has been critical of the Duterte administration. In 2018, Duterte threatened then-mayor Osmeña for acting like the latter “owned” Cebu City. (READ: Duterte warns Tommy Osmeña: Don’t mess with me)

The Osmeña family were leading anti-Martial Law figures in the country. His father, Sergio Osmeña Jr., ran and lost against Ferdinand Marcos in the 1965 presidential election.

In her speech, Robredo cited her family’s ties with the former mayor, who was a good friend of her late husband, Jesse Robredo. She also said the Osmeña helped her in her first foray into politics, when she ran for Camarines Sur congresswoman in 2013.

Robredo won in Cebu in the 2016 vice presidential elections with over 800,000 votes, followed by then-senator Alan Peter Cayetano with 436,000 votes, and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. with over 300,000 votes.

On Friday, Robredo held rallies with her vice presidential candidate Kiko Pangilinan and members of her senatorial slate in Talisay City, Argao, Cebu City and Toledo City.

With a report from Lorraine Ecarma/Rappler.com

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