April 6, 2016

Fact Check on Roxas HK Rally: "Thousands attended " vs "Nilangaw"

Duterte supporters said Mar’s Hong kong gig was “nilangaw”. Mar said thousands attended. Compared to the Kidapawan Massacre, this catfight is a petty issue. But in the interest of truth, Thinking Pinoy investigates.

First, let’s hear both sides.

Side A: Pro-Duterte

Supporters of presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte claimed that very few attended Mar’s Hong Kong political rally, while Duterte supporters came by the thousands, as shown in the images below:

Duterte and VP bet Senator Alan Peter Cayetano were not present in this event. Instead, the tandem was represented by Filipino celebrity Aljur Abrenica and the girl group Mocha Girls.

Duterte spokesperson Peter Tiu Lavina even posted a photo a few days ago. The photo shows a seemingly depressed and frustrated Roxas:

The image has since gone viral and has been used as Anti-Roxas propaganda, inspring memes such as the one shown below:

Sinong nagsabing nilangaw ang campaign rally ni Mar Roxas sa Hong Kong? HINDI PO TOTOO YAN! HAHAHA!
Posted by Kaya Di Umuunlad Pilipinas on Monday, April 4, 2016

Side B: Pro-Roxas

"Maling mali naman po ang caption ng kuhang larawang ito. Matama pong nakikinig sa aking hinaing si Mar Roxas, tungkol sa aking naging karanasan noong inuwi ko ang aking pinsan, na may malubhang sakit dito sa Hong Kong," wrote Roxas supporter Marites Palma [Rappler].

In a CNN interview, Mar Roxas belied the Duterte camps’ claims and said “thousands” attended his Hong Kong event.

Mar Roxas’ official facebook page posted photos of the HK even. The photos are mostly close-ups, but among the longer-range shots, the following photo showed the most number of people:

Another photo was posted by Roxas support group "Oras na! Roxas na!", and has since been used as evidence to belie the Duterte supporters' "nilangaw" claims:

Salamat Hong Kong!!! Contributed photo.
Posted by Oras Na, Roxas Na. on Sunday, April 3, 2016

Now, let's fact-check

At first glance, it appears that it's one side's word against the other, and we all know that each side is biased in favor of their candidate. So we need to think a about it a bit harder.

First, most of Roxas'  HK photos on his official facebook page show close-up shots. While it can raise suspicion that only a handful attended, it also doesn't preclude the possibility that more people were there.

The pic shown above shows more people, it's easy to see that not far from Roxas are a bunch of people whose backs were turned and are not wearing the yellow shirts that are characteristic of Roxas rally attendees.

At this point, we still don't know which side is lying, so let's examine further.

Second, the photo posted by Oras na! Roxas Na! seems to support Roxas' claim that thousands attended.

However, there are two issues here:
  • The stage has a small catwalk, suggesting that it's for some sort of modelling show
  • The first row of the audience is quite far away. That's unusual in political rallies, where candidates usually shake hands with the supporters.

After a bit of sleuthing, Thinking Pinoy found out that this photo was taken from the Mutya ng Luzon event held on that same day.

Mar, Korina gatecrash HK Pageant#Poe2016 #Duterte2016 #Binay2016 #RoxasRobredo #Roxas2016 #Halalan2016 #PHVote #BilangPilipino
Posted by The Thinking Pinoy on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Roxas wife Korina Sanchez's instagram account also affirms this:

Basically, Roxas gatecrashed a beauty pageant, took a photo with the pageant audience, and used it for campaign propaganda.

Third, the best way to know who's lying is to find footage that shows events side-by-side. Luckily, Thinking Pinoy stumbled upon a lengthy clip with a segment that shows just that.

Below is the relevant cut of the said clip:

Roxas HK Political Rally held right beside Duterte'sWow, magkatabing-magkatabi lang pala ang mga naging political rally ni #Duterte2016 at #Roxas2016 sa Hong Kong!? #RoxasRobredo  #DaangMatuwid #PHVote #Halalan2016 #Eleksyon2016 #BilangPilipinoCredits to Mocha Uson Blog.
Posted by The Thinking Pinoy on Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The clip shows a mammoth Duterte crowd to the left, and a relatively small Roxas crowd to the right.

Final Verdict: Nilangaw nga.

[Thinking Pinoy]