FACT CHECK: Facebook user falsely quotes VP Duterte on P125-M confidential funds

A quote card posted on the Facebook page of the Concerned Citizens: Crusade Against Corruption for Good Governance or CAC4GG featured a false quote from Vice President Sara Duterte about her office’s controversial P125-million confidential funds last year.

The edited graphic posted by Facebook user David Valencerina, one of CAC4GG administrators, on September 29 showed a photo of Duterte with the false quote:

“So what if I spent my 125 million pesos confidential funds in 19 days or 11 days as what the COA said? I can spend it in an hour or in a minute if I want to. That money is intended for my office and I can spend it the way I want it to be spent. By its nature it’s CONFIDENTIAL FUNDS and you have no business scrutinizing what is confidential.”

The edited graphic carried the logo of Sonshine Media Network Inc. (SMNI), the broadcasting arm of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ that was founded by Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.

There is not a single news report quoting the vice president as having made such a statement on September 25, as claimed by the post at CAC4GG, a public group with 14,397 members as of October 2.

SMNI did post a graphic on its X (formerly Twitter) account on Sept. 5, but the original quote was:

“The Office of the Vice President is grateful to the leadership of the Senate committee on finance and its members for supporting the OVP proposed budget for 2024.

The budget will significantly allow for the safe, efficient, and successful implementation of the OVP programs, projects, and activities designed to provide immediate relief and long-term solutions to challenges such as poverty, livelihood, basic services, education, and other social inequalities facing many Filipinos in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.”

The OVP received P125 million late last year from the Office of the President. The former treated the amount as confidential funds.

Media reports quoted Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo as saying on September 25 that the OVP spent that amount in 11 days. 

Quimbo, who had previously defended the OVP’s confidential funds, said she got her information from the Commission on Audit. But Duterte insisted that it was spent in 19 days.

As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact-check stories. 

MindaNews is a verified signatory to the Code of Principles of the International Fact-Checking Network. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)

MindaNews is the news service arm of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism. It is composed of independent, professional journalists who believe and practice people empowerment through media.

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About MindaNews Fact Check

MindaNews Fact Check seeks to fight misinformation and disinformation circulating on the internet, news platforms and communities that we serve. 

What is MindaNews Fact Check?

MindaNews Fact Check tracks and debunks fake news, false claims and misleading statements of government officials, civil society leaders and netizens being spread on the internet, especially on social media sites. MindaNews values truth and accuracy in performing our journalistic work.

Why we fact-check?

Politicians, government officials and other public and private figures at times tend to bend facts to suit or advance their vested interests, or their principals, in effect misleading the public. The distorted facts spread easily with the popularity of the internet and the wide influence of social media.

As independent journalists, our primordial duty is to tell the truth and present facts to help the public discern issues and concerns impacting their lives.

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FAKE -  if the claim is completely invented.

FALSE - if the claim contradicts, undermines or disputes truthful facts, actual events and official records (i.e. laws and scientific studies)

MISLEADING – if the claim is based on truth but maliciously twisted that gives a different impression to serve a group or individual’s vested interests.

ALTERED – pertains to images or videos that were manipulated to mislead the public.

MISSING CONTEXT – if the claim needs more clarification or contextualization to make it clearer.

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We post our fact-checked stories in www.mindanews.com, on Facebook and Twitter with links to the original piece. We have a dedicated fact check page, where all fact-checked stories can be found. 

How did MindaNews Fact Check start?

Since its establishment in 2001, MindaNews has been living up to its vision of being the “leading provider of accurate, timely and comprehensive news and information on Mindanao and its peoples, serving economically, politically and culturally empowered communities” and its mission to “professionally and responsibly cover Mindanao events, peoples and issues to inform, educate, inspire and influence communities.”

MindaNews was founded by reporters precisely to ensure that reports about Mindanao, an island grouping that has suffered misinformation and disinformation long before these words became fashionable, are accurate. 

Our policy has always been to ensure that reports are thoroughly vetted before they are dispatched and uploaded on our website. 

Our fact-checking initiative with a uniform format started in October 2021 as part of Internews’ pioneering Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator (PFCI) project. Internews is an international non-profit that supports independent media from 100 countries. 

Prior to the PFCI project, MindaNews co-founded Tsek.ph, a collaboration among Philippine media institutions to fight disinformation and misinformation during the 2019. Tsek.ph did the same thing for the 2022 elections. 

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MindaNews has sustained its operation through proceeds from subscriptions of its news service  (news, special reports, opinion pieces, photos) and sales of books. It also receives grants from non-state actors.  Editorial prerogative, however, is left entirely to MindaNews. 

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MindaNews Fact Check is supported by a grant from Internews.

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MindaNews encourages the public to provide us with leads not only for potential fact-check pieces but other news stories as well of interest to the general public.

Our fact checks include this paragraph encouraging readers to be part of the process: “As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact check pieces.”

MindaNews Fact Check - Methodology

What standards do you follow when fact-checking?

As a news organization, we strictly adhere to accuracy, fairness, balance, independence, accountability and transparency not just in our fact-checking initiative but in all other aspects of our work at MindaNews.

We abide by the Philippine Press Institute’s Journalist’s Code of Ethics. Since we became part of Internews’ Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator project, we have been striving to adhere with the IFCN Code of Principles, in step with our organization’s commitment to non-partisanship, transparency and fairness.

We fact-check a claim that is specifically claimed to be a fact and involved the public interest or the welfare of the people. We debunk false claims using official government records, journals or interviews with experts. 

We don’t fact-check opinions.

How do we fact-check?

Step 1: Team members monitor press conferences, speeches, statements, news, interviews, social media sites, etc. for statements worth fact-checking.

Step 2: When a claim is worth fact-checking, a team member looks for multiple sources to dispute the claim, including tracing the original source document.

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About MindaNews

MindaNews is the news service arm of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism (MinJourn). It is composed of independent, professional journalists who believe and practice people empowerment through media. MinJourn, which is duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission with registration number CN201700385, is managed by its Board of Directors. 

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Editorial staff

Editor-in-Chief: Carolyn O. Arguillas
Editors: Robert D. Timonera, Bong S. Sarmiento, H. Marcos C. Mordeno
Reporters/Photojournalists: Froilan Gallardo, Antonio L. Colina IV, Ferdinandh B. Cabrera, Roel Catoto, Manman Dejeto, Allen Estabillo, Frencie Carreon, Richel V. Umel, Chris Panganiban
Social Media Manager: Yas D. Ocampo

Fact-checking Unit: Romer (Bong) Sarmiento, Yas D. Ocampo

Mindanao Institute of Journalism Board of Directors

President: Rhodora Gail T. Ilagan, PhD
Vice President: Romer (Bong) Sarmiento

Carolyn O. Arguillas
Jose Jowel Canuday, PhD
Robert D. Timonera

Chief Executive Officer: Jose Jowel Canuday, PhD
Board Secretary: Ellen Alinea
Board Treasurer: Amalia B. Cabusao