Vice President Leni Robredo called out a dubious blog for spreading false information about her twice, attributing to her statements about the Reed Bank incident where a China-flagged trawler rammed a Filipino fishing boat earlier in June.
Robredo shared screenshots of one of the blog posts on June 20 and captioned it with: “Fake news again. Dami pang budget.”
The first post claimed that she questioned the 22 Filipino fishermen for having to go to seas to catch fish. The quote in nowhere near what she said in her official statement.
The false report came from the blog titled Peso Economics that presents itself as a business website. It also has a running Facebook page.
The sketchy article was written by a certain Alberto Reyes. The fabricated statement of Robredo goes: “Ang ating bansa ang napapaligiran ng tubig. Bakit pa sa karagatan nangingisda ang mga mangingisda natin kung saan mapanganib?”
However, Robredo’s real response to the tragedy was an expression of outrage at the Chinese crew who abandoned the 22 Filipino fishermen at sea after crashing into their boat.
“If the Chinese government has already presented their own version of the events and will not even accept that a wrong was committed, how can we expect it to mete justice on those responsible?” the vice president said on June 16.
The second post claims that Robredo questioned the presence of the Vietnamese crew, who rescued the Filipino fishermen, within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone at the time of the event.
The purported statement goes: “Bagamat nagpapasalamat tayo sa mga Vietnamese na mangingisda, hindi ko maiwasang magtanong kung bakit nangingisda sila sa ating teritoryo.”
Robredo did not make such an inquiry. It was Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol who did.
Piñol’s actual message was:
“They were actually poaching, including the Vietnamese that actually aided us. I’m sorry to say that. Salamat sa mga Vietnamese sa pagtulong pero you are not supposed to be there but thank God you were there. That was an illegal act that was actually providential.”
Reyes’ story had been deleted on Peso Economics Facebook page but could still be found in the blog itself. The other one is still shared on the social page and on the website.
Robredo’s P50,000 donation
Robredo last week visited the victims in San Roque, Occidental Mindoro and extended P50,000 to each of them.
She was the highest ranking official so far to visit and talk to the crew of Gem-Ver 1. She reportedly denied any media interviews for it.
Other officials who earlier paid the fishermen were Piñol and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
President Rodrigo Duterte, Cusi, Piñol, and other officials earlier dismissed the Chinese crew’s action as a common maritime accident.