Netizens fall for satirical post of presidentiables ‘watching’ SMNI livestream


A “screenshot” showing presidential bets Panfilo Lacson, Isko Moreno, Manny Pacquiao and Leni Robredo supposedly watching the livestream of Sonshine Media Network Inc.’s (SMNI) presidential debate after they declined to attend it is satire.


The image was first uploaded on Feb. 15 by user Tio Moreno to his Facebook page which has over 70,000 followers. It was then reposted a minute after to his Twitter account.


Clearly labeled “SATIRE” on Facebook, the caption reads:

The DUWAGS (cowards) are currently watching the SMNI debates in order to figure out how to do it soon.”

But believing it was true, the screenshot was shared by social media accounts that support presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who was among the four candidates present in the SMNI event.


The reposters slammed Robredo’s absence despite her earlier comments criticizing Marcos’ refusal to join public debates. Several accounts that shared or retweeted the image were only made in January 2022 or had no content before 2020.


Marcos attended the forum organized by SMNI despite being a no-show in events hosted by GMA-7, CNN Philippines and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.


Robredo and Moreno said they declined the invitation to the SMNI forum due to prior commitments.


Pacquiao was also absent because he said he did not want to attend the presidential debate organized by the SMNI, which is owned by Pastor Apollo Quiboloy who has been indicted in the US for sex trafficking and is on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s wanted list.


Lacson also skipped the debate, saying Quiboloy “has already expressed” his presidential and vice presidential pick beforehand.


The screenshot was first uploaded on the evening of the SMNI debate and has over 3,000 reactions and 525 shares as of writing.


The screenshot was reposted on even bigger accounts that support Marcos’ presidential ticket, including Facebook page For the Motherland - Sass Rogando Sasot and YouTube channel Showbiz Fanaticz, where it garnered over 26,000 reactions and 131,000 views, respectively. FactRakers and VERA Files have previously flagged misleading posts from these accounts. (RP)