Fact check: Lacson, Sotto have not backed out of 2022 polls

© PhilSTAR Daily, Inc

Kristine Joy Patag

– Philstar.com

September 27, 2021 | 2:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — A YouTube channel has claimed that Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, who have announced that they will be running for president and vice president in the 2022 polls, have backed out even before the campaign period starts. This isfake.

Banat Trending News posted at least two videos in September with thumbnail photos claiming that Lacson and Sotto are withdrawing from the 2022 elections run because they were supposedly disqualified or because they were afraid.

A spokesperson from Lacson’s political party refuted this in an official statement on September 26.

What they’re saying: The Banat Trending News YouTube channel posted on September 21 a video entitled “Just in: Finally! Kasado na!, Marcos-Duterte Tandem 2022 Lacson Pacquiao Umatras na disqualify”. As of Monday, this video had racked up more than 66,000 views.

The second video, with the title “Just in: Matapos kumpirmahing tatakbo si BBM at PRRD, Lacson Sotto Isko Pacquiao Umatras Natakot?!”, was posted on September 25, and had more than 190,000 views as of Monday morning.

Both videos however only read at least two social media posts from unnamed users saying that others who announced presidential runs should back out.

The video also said some “netizens” questioned their qualification to run for presidency amid supposed corruption allegations.

What they left out: As of September 27, Lacson and Sotto have not walked back their announcement on September 8 that they will run for president and vice president, respectively in the coming polls.

Although the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy is set to start only on October 1, Partido Reporma spokesperson Ashley Acedillo on Sunday refuted the rumor.

“On the contrary, the Lacson-Sotto tandem has been full speed ahead and has only been growing from strength to strength,” it said. Lacson sits as chairman of Partido Reporma.

Necessary context: Known as the world’s social media capital, the Philippines has been called “patient zero” for “fake news” by one Facebook executive.

A 2019 report published by academic blog New Mandala found that the Philippines saw a “more insidious and camoflaged” proliferation of so-called “fake news” in the midterm polls that year than in the 2016 national elections.

The researchers also said micro-influencers — or social media personalities who lack mainstream fame — were “weaponized” during the 2019 polls by taking advantage of their “more authentic and trustworthy” image and their “small yet intensely dedicated followers.”

Why this matters: The first video already has more than 66,000 views, while the second video has nearly 200,000 views.

The video may lead viewers to think that Lacson and Sotto, as well as Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno — both have announced presidential bids — are no longer running in 2022.

What kind of misinformation is this?: The YouTube videos are examples of fake content.

Barely a week before the filing of COCs, only three people have officially announced they are running for president next year. They are Lacson, Moreno and Pacquiao.

“As the filing of candidacies nears, so is the desperation of the ill-prepared, tentative, or the unwilling candidates. And this latest misinformation campaign just proves that,” Acedillo also said.

This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippinesand encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts

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