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FACT CHECK: Bangsamoro Transition Authority did not endorse Robredo’s presidential bid

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The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim body that governs the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), did not endorse the presidential bid of former Vice President Leni Robredo.

A report aired over Usaping Bayan, a television show of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), on 29 July falsely claimed that the BTA supported Robredo’s bid.

In fact, the 80-member BTA, which is led by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) with 41 nominees and 39 from the government, did not support any candidate during the May 9 presidential elections.

According to the SMNI report, the “MILF Salamat Wing, which recently surfaced in the Bangsamoro region, urged President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., also referred to as PBBM, to replace all the BTA members for supporting Robredo. Marcos, who got at least 31 million votes, defeated Robredo and several other contenders in the May 9 presidential race.

SMNI reported: “Hiling nila kay Pangulong Marcos na palitan ang 80 miyembro ng BTA sa pangunguna ni Interim Chief (Minister Ahod) “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim. Giit nila si dating Vice President Leni Robredo ang sinuportahan ng mga taga-BTA sa nagdaang eleksyon habang ang Salamat Wing ay si Pangulong Bongbong Marcos ang sinuportahan.”  https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1083113865637894

(They (MILF Salamat Wing) asked Marcos to replace the 80-member BTA headed by Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim. According (to the Salamat Wing), the BTA supported former Vice President Leni Robredo during the elections while the Salamat Wing backed President Marcos.)

However, the BTA as a collegial body remained neutral and non-partisan during the 2022 presidential contest.

It was actually the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), the MILF’s political party, that supported Robredo’s candidacy, and not the BTA.

The UBJP declared support to Robredo during her birthday on April 23 at Camp Darapanan, the MILF main headquarters in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.



In his speech, Ebrahim, who is also both chair of the MILF and the UBJP, praised Robredo as a “brave, strong-willed, and compassionate leader who willingly fights for the rights of the marginalized, knowing fully well that peace cannot be attained without serving justice.” 

Aside from backing Robredo, the UBJP, for the first time, also fielded candidates for several provincial and local positions in the Bangsamoro region.

Two days before the May 9 elections, Ebrahim, in his capacity as MILF chair, and Muslimin Sema, in his capacity as chair of the Moro National Liberation Front – Council of 15, issued a joint statement endorsing Robredo’s candidacy. Sema is concurrently the Bangsamoro Minister of Labor and Employment.

The Bangsamoro region was created in 2019 following the ratification of Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for BARMM, popularly known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

The creation of the Bangsamoro region was the key component of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which the government and the MILF signed in 2014 after 17 years of peace negotiations.

The emergence of the MILF Salamat Wing  has been condemned by the family of the late MILF founder Salamat Hashim and the MILF central committee.

Abdulfatah Delna, ad hoc chair of the MILF Salamat Wing, said they are “gaining ground in the Bangsamoro region,” that they are “not a breakaway group or that sort” but “bona fide and legitimate members and officials of the MILF and are trusted persons of the late [MILF] chairman Salamat Hashim.”

According to the MILF, Delna, a deputy commander of the National Guard Front of the MILF’s armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, was suspended last April “for overt political acts of supporting a local candidate in Maguindanao who continues to undermine the peace process, the MILF, and the transitional government.”

As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact-check stories. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

(This fact-check piece was produced with the support of Internews’ Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator Project.)

MindaNews is the news service arm of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism. It is composed of independent, professional journalists who believe and practice people empowerment through media.

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About MindaNews Fact Check

MindaNews Fact Check seeks to fight misinformation and disinformation circulating on the internet, news platforms and communities that we serve.
What is MindaNews Fact Check?
MindaNews Fact Check tracks and debunks fake news, false claims and misleading statements of government officials, civil society leaders and netizens being spread on the internet, especially on social media sites. MindaNews values truth and accuracy in performing our journalistic work.
Why we fact-check?
Politicians, government officials and other public and private figures at times tend to bend facts to suit or advance their vested interests, or their principals, in effect misleading the public. The distorted facts spread easily with the popularity of the internet and the wide influence of social media.
As independent journalists, our primordial duty is to tell the truth and present facts to help the public discern issues and concerns impacting their lives.
How do we rate claims?

FAKE – if the claim is completely invented.

FALSE – if the claim contradicts, undermines or disputes truthful facts, actual events and official records (i.e. laws and scientific studies)

MISLEADING – if the claim is based on truth but maliciously twisted that gives a different impression to serve a group or individual’s vested interests.

ALTERED – pertains to images or videos that were manipulated to mislead the public.

– if the claim needs more clarification or contextualization to make it clearer.
Where do you post your results?
We post our fact-checked stories in mindanews.com, on Facebook and Twitter with links to the original piece. We have a dedicated fact check page, where all fact-checked stories can be found.
How did MindaNews Fact Check start?

Since its establishment in 2001, MindaNews has been living up to its vision of being the “leading provider of accurate, timely and comprehensive news and information on Mindanao and its peoples, serving economically, politically and culturally empowered communities” and its mission to “professionally and responsibly cover Mindanao events, peoples and issues to inform, educate, inspire and influence communities.”

MindaNews was founded by reporters precisely to ensure that reports about Mindanao, an island grouping that has suffered misinformation and disinformation long before these words became fashionable, are accurate.
Our policy has always been to ensure that reports are thoroughly vetted before they are dispatched and uploaded on our website.
Our fact-checking initiative with a uniform format started in October 2021 as part of Internews’ pioneering Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator (PFCI) project. Internews is an international non-profit that supports independent media from 100 countries.
Prior to the PFCI project, MindaNews co-founded Tsek.ph, a collaboration among Philippine media institutions to fight disinformation and misinformation during the 2019. Tsek.ph did the same thing for the 2022 elections.
Where do you get funds?
MindaNews has sustained its operation through proceeds from subscriptions of its news service (news, special reports, opinion pieces, photos) and sales of books. It also receives grants from non-state actors. Editorial prerogative, however, is left entirely to MindaNews.
MindaNews does not accept funds from politicians or domestic or foreign states for its fact-checking initiative. For the other operations of MindaNews as a media organization, we have received grants from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The grants from NED and UNESCO have been used for coverage, staff compensation, administrative expenses, and to train fellow journalists.
For MindaNews’ fact-checking initiatives, it received support from Internews (September 2021 to October 2022) and the BUILD grant administered by the International Fact-Checking Network (August 1, 2023 to July 31, 2024).
As a matter of policy, MindaNews does not allow these funders to interfere in our editorial processes.
Do you accept leads from the public for your fact-checking initiative?
MindaNews encourages the public to provide us with leads not only for potential fact-check pieces but other news stories as well of interest to the general public.
Our fact checks include this paragraph encouraging readers to be part of the process: “As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact check pieces.”

MindaNews Fact Check - Methodology

What standards do you follow when fact-checking?

As a news organization, we strictly adhere to accuracy, fairness, balance, independence, accountability and transparency not just in our fact-checking initiative but in all other aspects of our work at MindaNews.

We abide by the Philippine Press Institute’s Journalist’s Code of Ethics. Since we became part of Internews’ Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator project, we have been striving to adhere with the IFCN Code of Principles, in step with our organization’s commitment to non-partisanship, transparency and fairness.

We fact-check a claim that is specifically claimed to be a fact and involved the public interest or the welfare of the people. We debunk false claims using official government records, journals or interviews with experts. 

We don’t fact-check opinions.

How do we fact-check?

Step 1: Team members monitor press conferences, speeches, statements, news, interviews, social media sites, etc. for statements worth fact-checking.

Step 2: When a claim is worth fact-checking, a team member looks for multiple sources to dispute the claim, including tracing the original source document.

Step 3:  Fact-checked claims are then submitted to the editor for copy editing and vetting. The link/s to debunk the claim are always included in the story.  

Step 4: A rating card is prepared to accompany the fact-checked piece, or infographics if needed, to immediately flag readers what the article is all about. 

Step 5: The senior editor takes another look before the article is posted on the website and social media accounts.

Correction Policy

Consistent with our vision and mission as a media institution, we rectify any error committed. If you spot a factual error, you may notify us thru editor@mindanews.com or our Facebook Messenger @Mindanews.

Correction Workflow

  • Errors pointed out are immediately brought to the attention of the editors and the fact-checking team. 

  • The fact-checker is immediately notified for verification. 

  • Once verified, the error is to be corrected within 24 hours and vetted before publication on the website. 

  • Readers will immediately know errors have been corrected through the Editor’s note posted above the article. 

  • The person who notified MindaNews about the error will be informed that the correction has been made.

About MindaNews

MindaNews is the news service arm of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism (MinJourn). It is composed of independent, professional journalists who believe and practice people empowerment through media. MinJourn, which is duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission with registration number CN201700385, is managed by its Board of Directors.

MindaNews values its journalistic independence. It started in May 2001 as a media cooperative and in January 2017 registered as a nonstock, nonprofit media organization.  We do not  accept funding from politicians, political parties or partisan groups.

Editorial staff

Fact-checking Unit: Romer (Bong) Sarmiento, Yas D. Ocampo


Mindanao Institute of Journalism


Board of Directors

President & CEO: Jowel Canuday, D.Phil. (oxon.)
Vice President: Romer S. Sarmiento

Carolyn O. Arguillas, M.A.
Rhodora Gail T. Ilagan, Ph.D.
Amalia B. Cabusao (Doc Can.)
Robert D. Timonera
Ellen P. Alinea