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Photos of Marcos-Duterte rally in near-empty stadium mislead

Photos of UniTeam standardbearers Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio at a seemingly half-empty stadium have been used to imply a small crowd turnout at their Dec. 11 campaign rally Antipolo City despite photos and videos showing a bigger gathering.

Facebook user Mario D. Lopez published Dec. 12 three photos of the presidential tandem speaking at the Ynares Sports Center along with senatorial bets former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and former senator Jinggoy Estrada.

Lopez emphasized the loose crowd and insinuated this could be because “riders” the tandem and its supporters purportedly “hire” for their caravans were taking the day off. He presented no evidence to back up his claim.

The caption of Lopez’s post reads:

MATUMAL talaga kapag day off ng mga riders for hire (A really slow day when riders for hire are off)? Asking for a fellow kakamPINK lang po

A reverse image search shows that two photos uploaded by Lopez were posted a day earlier on the Facebook page of the state-run People’s Television Network’s (PTV) where other angles showing a bigger crowd can be seen.

The vice presidential aspirant went on livestream during the rally. The video captured a bigger crowd as well.

Photos from the UniTeam event were also posted by Marcos and Duterte-Carpio on their Facebook pages using a different angle showing a noticeable difference in crowd turnout.

Antipolo City was under Alert Level 2 at the time. Under the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ guidelines, this means the 7,400-seater stadium was limited to 50 percent seating capacity.

Facing backlash from UniTeam supporters, Lopez posted a follow up statement on Facebook on Dec. 13 saying: “It doesn’t really matter now or later kung marami ngang tao o wala… Hindi problema ang kawalan o kakulangan ng KATAPATAN (It doesn’t really matter now or later whether there were many attendees or not… Lacking honesty or the absence of it is not the problem).”

Lopez’s account has been deleted and the two posts are no longer available but not before his earlier post had garnered 382 reactions, 292 shares and 205 comments.


Duterte-Carpio, S. [Mayor Inday Sara Duterte]. (2021, December 11). Sara Duterte Rizal speech [Video attached]. Facebook.

Duterte-Carpio, S. [Mayor Inday Sara Duterte]. (2021b, December 11). Sara Duterte Ynares Center [Photo attached]. Facebook.

Inter-Agency Task Force, Guidelines on the Nationwide Implementation of Alert Level System, for COVID-19 Response, Part 1 § 5 (Nov. 18, 2021) (Phil.),

Lopez, M. D. (2021, December 11). MATUMAL talaga kapag day off ng mga riders for hire? Asking for a fellow kakamPINK lang po. [Status update]. Facebook.

Lopez, M. D. [Mario D. Lopez]. (2021, December 13). Follow up statement [Status update]. Facebook.

Manalastas, D. [PTV]. (2021, December 11). BBM-Sara Uniteam political rally in Antipolo City [Photo attached]. Facebook.

Marcos, F. [Bongbong Marcos]. (2021, December 13). BBM-Sara Antipolo [Photo attached]. Facebook.

Ynares Center. (2021, December 21). About Ynares Center [Page]. Facebook.


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