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FACT CHECK | PDP Laban shows incomplete data of Publicus survey favorable to Sara Duterte

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MindaNews fact-checked a Facebook post of political party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) that Vice President Sara Duterte gained the highest approval rating among national government officials in the 2023 fourth quarter survey of Publicus Asia, Inc.

The post is misleading as it did not indicate that while she had the highest approval rating, it was a decline from her previous quarter’s performance rating.


Several Pro-Duterte Facebook pages were flooded with the same social media card showing a survey favorable to Duterte, also concurrent Secretary of the Department of Education, but did not tell the complete story.

The PDP -Laban, which adopted Duterte as vice presidential candidate in the May 2022 elections, has posted on its Facebook page the card hailing her high approval rating of 59 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023, based on a survey conducted by Publicus Asia.

The PDP Laban post on reads:

“Approval rating ni VP Sara, nanatiling mataas

Ayon sa inilabas na 2023 survey ng Publicus Asia, nanatiling mataas ang approval rating ni Bise Presidente Sara Duterte-Carpio (Inday Sara Duterte) sa bansa. Nakakuha ang ikalawang pangulo ng 59% approval rating.

Isinagawa ang nasabing survey ng Publicus Asia mula Nobyembre 29 hanggang Disyembre 4, 2023.

Mayroon itong 1,500 respondents.”

However, the PDP Laban post did not say that Duterte’s high approval rating was a decline from 62 percent from the previous quarter survey of Publicus Asia, or a slump of three percent.

PDP Laban is chaired by former President Rodrigo Duterte, the vice president’s father. Its Facebook page is followed by 107,000 users.

Publicus Asia conducted the survey from November 29 to December 4 last year, and released it to the public on December 21 in a press statement entitled “PBBM slightly recovers, VP Duterte experiences a downward trend – PAHAYAG Survey.”

PBBM refers to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Marcos’ approval rating slightly recovered from 55 percent to 58 percent, the Publicus survey showed.

PDP Laban first posted the incomplete story of Sara Duterte’s high approval rating at 10 a.m. January 16, which generated 529 reactions, 133 comments and 67 shares as of March 5.

The post was shared at pro-Duterte pages VP/DepEd Sec. SARA DUTERTE FOLLOWERS (76.5k members), MAHALIN NATIN ANG PILIPINAS TAPANG AT MALASAKIT (41.3k members), Mindanao Socmed Coalition (6k followers), QUEZON PROVINCE DUTERTE DIEHARD SUPPORTERS (7.8k members), DUTERTE SOCIAL MEDIA – SOCSKSARGEN (1.2k members), and ONE PILIPINAS for BBM-SARA Atbp (1.6k members).

According to the Publicus Asia survey, the downward trend in Duterte’s approval rating is particularly pronounced in Mindanao, where approval decreased from 84 percent to 76 percent.

Also included in the survey was Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, whose approval rating bounced to 47 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023 from 43 percent the previous quarter..

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez’s approval stabilized, though a downward trend is evident, declining from 42 percent in the second quarter to 37 percent in the third quarter to 36 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023, Publicus Asia said.

Though lowest in the Publicus Asia survey, Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo has the most stable approval rating  among top national government officials at 37 percent across the quarters of 2023.

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

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.

MISSING CONTEXT – 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 in the past two years, we have received grants from the National Endowment for Democracy and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which we use for coverage, staff compensation, administrative expenses and to train other journalists.

MindaNews Fact Check is supported by a grant from Internews.

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