‘[I]t’s a lie,’ Nobel Peace Prize winner and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa said.

CLAIM: Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo sought campaign money from Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, who rejected the request.


In a column published on Dec. 15, 2021, titled “Solid North, Solid South: Stronger than 2016,” Manila Times opinion columnist Rigoberto Tiglao claimed without solid basis that Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo solicited campaign money from Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, but was spurned.

Tiglao claimed, again without solid basis or evidence except the say-so of anonymous sources, that Robredo wanted Ressa to get money out of the P25 million she had won as one of the two recipients of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

“Sources claimed that Robredo frowned her frown when she was told that Maria Ressa declined her plea to contribute to her campaign funds from her P25-million Nobel cash prize,” Tiglao wrote.

Tiglao’s wrong claim was made into a quote card by a self-proclaimed blogger, Orman Ortega Manansala, on Facebook and Twitter. “Cracks are showing” in the Robredo camp, he wrote.

Replying to the claim on Twitter, Ressa said: “Hahahaha not satisfied with disinformation, they outrightly lie … I don’t read him.”

In a separate reply, Ressa linked to Rappler’s previous debunking of Tiglao’s false claims.

Ressa might have actually won more than P25 million if the prize of 10 million Swedish krona, equivalent to $1.14 million or P57 million when she received the award in December, was split into two. The other Nobel winner was Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov.

Robredo has been nothing but congratulatory toward Ressa.

“Congratulations to @mariaressa for being awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize! This is a recognition and affirmation of your tireless efforts to hold the line for truth and accountability. I applaud your courage. Mabuhay ka!” the vice president said in an Oct. 8, 2021 tweet.

One day later, in her “BISErbisyong Leni” radio program, Robredo lauded Ressa for her Nobel win.

Sobrang deserving ni Maria Ressa. Iyong sa akin lang, nagpapasalamat tayo sa kaniya. Pero at the same time, sana naiintindihan natin iyong bigat ng award na ito, na si Maria Ressa, siya iyong nakikipaglaban para iyong freedom of the press, iyong freedom of expression patuloy na mapangalagaan,” she said in her weekly radio how.

(Maria Ressa is so deserving of the award. For me, we should thank her. At the same time I hope we understand the importance of this award, that Maria Ressa is fighting for press freedom, and that freedom of expression is safeguarded.)

We are constrained to rate Tiglao’s claim as false, in the absence of solid basis to prove it otherwise. John Ezekiel J.Hirro


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