Photos show ex-Philippine VP Leni Robredo at hotel in Manila, not Saudi Arabia
Photos of former Filipino Vice President Leni Robredo with a man wearing an Arab headdress have been shared hundreds of times in posts that falsely claim she wore inappropriate clothes while traveling in Saudi Arabia. In reality, the footage shows Robredo attending the Saudi National Day celebration at a hotel in the Philippine capital, Manila, in 2018. AFP found no evidence that the former vice president visited Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia during his tenure.
Three photos of former Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo were shared here on Twitter on November 14, 2022.
An image shows Robredo walking alongside a man wearing an Arab headdress in a room displaying Saudi flags. The other two are close-up photos of her green dress.
The tweet, which has been shared over 230 times, has a caption in Tagalog that reads: “You keep attacking PBBM for wearing a Barong… but did you criticize your ‘mother’ who wore a see-through dress when she went to the Middle East, which is a very conservative country?”
Screenshot of fake post, taken November 16, 2022
The claim circulated shortly after Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr – also known as PPBM, his initials – was mocked for wearing the Barong Tagalog national dress, instead of a suit and tie, during the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia, which was held from November 8 to 13, 2022.
Marcos defeated Robredo in the Philippine presidential election in May 2022.
Similar posts that claim Robredo dressed inappropriately while visiting a foreign country have been circulating for years, since at least 2018, for example on Twitter here, and on Facebook here and here.
Many social media users appeared to believe the footage was shot in Saudi Arabia.
“In Saudi culture this is a big insult. In a way they were looked down upon. Leni has no regard for the very conservative and religious culture in the Middle East,” one Twitter user wrote.
“The epitome of stupidity. She was in the Middle East, but dressed like this. How stupid,” said another.
Screenshot of social media user comments, taken November 18, 2022
However, the photos were actually taken in the Philippines.
Hotel in Manila
A reverse image search revealed the photos were part of an album posted on Robredo’s official Facebook page on September 25, 2018.
He is intitulated : “[2018.09.25] 88th National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.
The album’s caption reads in part: “Happy to join His Excellency Dr. Abdullah NA Al Bussairy, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Philippines, in celebrating the 88th National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at Shangri-La. at the Fort.”
Shangri-La at the Fort is a hotel located in Manila.
Below are screenshot comparisons of images from the fake post (left) and authentic photos from Robredo’s Facebook page (right):
Screenshot comparisons of images from the fake post (left) and genuine photos from Robredo’s Facebook page (right)
A visual analysis of photos of Robredo and 360° images of the Shangri-La hotel in the town of Taguig show that the event took place in the grand ballroom of the hotel.
Below are screenshot comparisons of Robredo’s photos (left) and images of the Shangri-La Hotel (right), with the corresponding features highlighted in red by AFP:
Screenshot comparisons of Robredo’s photos (left) and Shangri-La Hotel images (right)
Several Google keyword searches did not find any official reports or press releases that Robredo visited Saudi Arabia during her term as vice president from July 2016 to June 2022.
Philippine fact-checking organization FactRakers already debunked the false claim in 2019.