VERA FILES FACT CHECK: SESLEAD video, implying Robredo will be jailed for COA tagging
VERA FILES FACT CHECK: SESLEAD video, implying Robredo will be jailed for COA tagging

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: SESLEAD video, implying Robredo will be jailed for COA tagging

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Two videos with similarly inaccurate headlines misleadingly claim former Vice President Leni Robredo will soon be spending time in jail after the Commission of Audit (COA) flagged his old office in a 2021 audit report.

Inaccurate videos with misleading claims first appeared on July 19, then appeared again on July 24. One of the videos bears the title: “LENI, IN PRISON AFTER COA CALIDA CHIEF CORRUPTION HAPPENED IN OVP (Leni will grow old in prison after the COA Chief [Jose] Calida finds corruption inside OVP [Office of the Vice President]).”

The voice cast for the July 19 video claimed Robredo could “probably” be sent to jail after the Calida-led COA flagged OVP for illegally hiring a private attorney after allegedly “wasting” more than P25 million worth of pandemic-related funds. This claim distorts the facts on this matter.

In its report, released July 15, the COA flagged OVP for the unauthorized recruitment of legal consultants without prior approval from the attorney general, in violation of COA rules and regulations.

Contrary to claims in the video, OVP was not flagged for “wasting” public funds.

Former OVP spokesman Barry Gutierrez clarified on 20 July that OVP appealed the matter to the COA on 27 May, which the COA successfully granted on 29 June, and “effectively revoked” the prohibition notice issued by the COA on the recruitment.

Gutierrez also said the consultant worked for the OVP as a “key advisor on policy matters” and not as a lawyer.

In another part of the annual audit on OVP, the COA also flagged the office for realigning its P25 million COVID-19 research budget to other services and COVID-19 projects after failing to “get appropriate project proposals.” The COA recommends that OVPs “exercise prudence in managing government funds.”

On the other hand, another video narrator, dated July 24, claims that the COA is investigating the recruitment of private lawyers by OVP for Robredo’s non-profit organization (NGO), Angat Buhay. That is not true.

Robredo’s NGO, officially named “Angat Pinas Inc.,” is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and launched on July 1 this year, which is outside the scope of the 2021 calendar year COA report.

These videos come days after the COA released its 2021 annual audit report on all national agencies, local government units and other state-owned companies.

Two misleading videos, published by YouTube channel WHISTLE-BLOWER PH (created on November 13, 2021) and BANAT PH UPDATE TV (October 13, 2021), collectively amassed over 81,300 views.

BANAT PH UPDATE TVThe video is re-uploaded by the Facebook page Stardust & Stories (April 8, 2020) and bbm&sara2022 (15 March 2022), received over 76,600 views, 4,700 reactions, 1,000 comments and 1,300 shares.

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(Editor’s note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to combat the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and U.S methodology.)

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