Misleading: Jay Sonza’s photo post about Pasay rally

April 25, 2022 - 1:06 PM
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Supporters of Philippine Vice President and presidential candidate Leni Robredo cheer and light up their phones during a campaign rally in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, April 23, 2022. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

Claim: A former broadcaster shared a photo of a campaign rally in Cebu with a caption that claimed it was taken at a campaign event in Pasay City.

Jay Sonza on Sunday, April 24 posted a picture of an aerial view of the crowd at a campaign rally. It showed pink hues hinting it was taken during an event for the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo and vice presidential bid of Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, whose campaign colors are pink and green, respectively. Sonza claimed the photo was taken in Pasay City.

“Congratulations to the organizers and the 412,000 attendees. All-star cast concert: Leni at 57 in Pasay,” he wrote in the caption.

On Saturday, Robredo celebrated her 57th birthday with hundreds of thousands attending a campaign rally in Pasay City.

This was mentioned by Sonza in his caption where he referred to the 412,000 crowd estimate that the organizers reported following the event.

This was, however, challenged by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) who reported that the number of attendees only ranged between 90,000 and 100,000.

RATING: Jay Sonza’s claim about the picture is misleading. 

FACTS:

The photo Sonza attached showed the previous campaign rally of the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem dubbed CEBOOM! Grand People’s Rally. This was held at the North Reclamation Area in Mandaue City on Thursday, April 21.

The photo was noticed by several social media users who either corrected Sonza in the comments section of his post or shared screenshots of his status on Twitter.

They noted the unmistakable high-rise structure of Bai Hotel in the area.

“Teka, yung picture niyo po Sir Jay sa Cebu yan, Bai Hotel yung malaking bldg. Hindi po yan yung picture kagabi,” one Facebook user said.

“Mr. Jay Sonza, this is in Cebu rally and that structure is Bai Hotel in Mandaue City. Marunong din naman po siguro kayo mag fact-check, ano? Familiar din naman po siguro kayo sa Macapagal area,” a Twitter user pointed out.

Here are other snapshots of the venue taken by the organizers and SunStarCebu.

They showed the hotel and the open parking space in front of it.

Meanwhile, the April 23 grand rally dubbed “Araw Na10 ‘To” was staged along the stretch of Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay City. They had three stages set up in Seaside Boulevard, J.W. Diokno Boulevard and EDSA.

Here are some photos with different angles taken during the Pasay grand rally’s livestream via Robredo’s Facebook page.

Moreover, a reverse image search also showed that the picture uploaded by Sonza was first uploaded by blogger Krizette Laureta Chu, a vocal supporter of another presidential candidate, on April 21. Chu posted two photos of the Cebu rally on her page.

Why it matters

As of writing, Sonza’s post has garnered 16,000 reactions, 3,100 comments and 700 shares.

In the comments section, the former broadcaster stood up for his misleading claim.

“I don’t want to be fact-checked by either ‘independent’ Rappler or Vera files that is why I have to write the exact number of attendees according to mainstream media account,” he said.

Most Filipinos who commented on the former broadcaster’s post also thought that he shared the correct photo.

“As usual doing their thing bloating the number of attendees in every rally they had like their inang always lutang!!! Hope everybody is in good place,” one Facebook user 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 Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts.

Interaksyon is part of #FactsFirstPH, a multi-sectoral initiative promoting truth in public space and demanding accountability for falsehoods. For those interested to join the initiative, email [email protected]

Interaksyon is also a founding partner of Tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 Philippine elections. It is an initiative of academe, civil society groups and media to counter disinformation and provide the public with verified information.