A high-ranking government official in Isabela province recently drew flak online after posting false news about Vice President Leni Robredo on Facebook.
Lawyer Noel Lopez who serves as Isabela’s provincial administrator was called out by supporters of Robredo on Tuesday after posting a collage of photos that maliciously linked the vice president to former Rep. Jorge “Bolet” Banal (Quezon City; 3rd District).
Lopez’s post implied that Banal and Robredo were romantically involved, a recurring rumor that has been repeatedly denied by the vice president.
The rumor that resurfaced due to the Isabela government official’s Facebook post was clarified by Robredo in November 2020, explaining the story behind her connection with the former solon
Banal was the Liberal Party’s liaison officer to the Office of the Vice President and was tasked to advise Robredo on her political affairs during the 2016 national elections.
The former lawmaker’s role was one of LP’s ways to convince the Bicolana lawyer to run for vice president as she previously did not have plans for higher office.
Lopez, on the other hand, comes from a region that has historically supported the Marcoses.
During the second day of canvassing in May 2016, defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos garnered 516,926 votes while Robredo only got 88,317 votes, according to reports.
Meanwhile, because of the false post uploaded on his account, online users labeled Lopez a “purveyor of fake news” and “Mr. Fake News”.
These online users called on Lopez to resign and some asked Isabela’s governor to fire the administrator.
Others wanted him to face a legal case over the libelous post while some wanted him penalized by the Civil Service Commission.
Local radio station Bombo Radyo Cauayan on Wednesday reported about the issue but failed to get a comment from Lopez.
Isabela Gov. Rodito Albano commented on the issue, saying that Lopez’s Facebook account, which is now unavailable, was allegedly hacked.
However, in Albano’s interview with Bombo Radyo Cauayan, he did not mention when exactly the alleged cyber intrusion occurred.
The provincial governor later added that whatever was on Lopez’s Facebook post, whether he actually posted it or the alleged hacker did, it was only Lopez’s opinion.
Albano emphasized that Lopez’s opinion does not reflect the views of Isabela’s government leaders and the way the provincial government does its job.
The Isabela governor also said that government officials have their own beliefs and are supporting whoever they want to support but added that when one expresses support for a politician, they must do it the right way.
“Ang sa’kin lang, huwag kang manira ng puri ng tao. Kumbaga, huwag ka naman mag-post o kahit na may kampihan kang iba, huwag naman below the belt ýung mga opinyon na gagawin mo paninira do’n sa mga ano natin– mga kumakandidato sa mga matataas na tungkulin,” Albano told Bombo Radyo Cauayan.
As of writing, Lopez’s account is unavailable on Facebook. However, a screenshot of the provincial administrator’s post now has over 500 reactions, more than 260 comments, and over 180 shares.