Doctored Philippine news report spreads fabricated 'survey result' on preferred presidential candidates

As relations soured between Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte, a manipulated news report surfaced in posts that claimed an ally of the powerful Duterte family topped a survey of preferred candidates for the archipelago's next presidential election in 2028. Broadcaster ABS-CBN denied publishing the supposed report while polling body Pulse Asia Research told AFP it conducted no such survey.

"Only Robin Padilla is this strong," read a Tagalog-language TikTok post from June 23, 2024.

Actor-turned-senator Robin Padilla is a party-mate of the vice president's father, former president Rodrigo Duterte.

The video, viewed more than 200,000 times before it was taken down, appeared to show a report from Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN.

It included a frame that showed Padilla supposedly leading a "2028 presidential preference survey" conducted by Pulse Asia from "June 18-22, 2024".

Screenshot of the false post, taken July 2, 2024

The post was shared after Vice President Sara Duterte resigned from the cabinet of President Ferdinand Marcos, as tense relations between the two families boiled over into a public rift.

Rodrigo Duterte and Marcos had a very public falling out as both families attempt to shore up their rival support bases and secure key positions ahead of the mid-term elections in 2025 and presidential polls in 2028.

Marcos and Duterte had teamed up to a landslide victory in the May 2022 presidential and vice presidential election.

Similar posts also circulated on Facebook herehere and here.

Fabricated report

Pulse Asia Research chair Ronald Holmes said his organisation did not conduct the survey shared in social media posts.

"We have never done a survey where the name of that senator appeared as a top candidate. The report is fake," he told AFP on July 2, 2024.

ABS-CBN News separately said the circulating video was "false and fabricated" in a statement posted on social media site X (archived link).

Reverse image and keyword searches found the original clip posted on the verified TikTok account of ABS-CBN News on April 5, 2024 (archived link).

The report was actually about a Pulse Asia Research survey conducted from March 6 to 10, 2024 which surveyed voters on their presidential preference for the 2028 vote.

According to the report, the survey found Senator Raffy Tulfo and Vice President Sara Duterte in a statistical tie.

Padilla was ranked sixth, the report showed.

Below is a screenshot comparison between the fabricated survey result shared in the circulating posts (left) and the frame from the original news report (right):

Screenshot comparison taken July 1, 2024

Local news organisations Inquirer, GMA News and Rappler also reported on the survey results (archived links here, here and here).

AFP has previously fact-checked Philippine news reports that have been doctored here, here and here.

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