A photo of Philippine politician Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas purportedly drinking water from a plate has been viewed or shared millions of times online since 2015, and has been used by a rival to mock him ahead of the 2019 elections. The photo is not genuine; it is a manipulated version of an original in which there is no plate.
The photo has been used on Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms, as well as in forums and on blog sites, often with descriptions of Roxas as “stupid” or “crazy”.
It first appeared online in 2015, including here on Facebook where it has been shared over 6,000 times.
Roxas was at the time the interior secretary under the administration of then-President Benigno Aquino.
The 2015 post combines the doctored photograph of Roxas holding a plate with an image of him apparently putting rice into a cup.
The caption says: “Mar Roxas is really a very simple person. He puts rice in a mug, while he puts water on his plate. That’s Mar Roxas!”
A YouTube video, posted in December 2015 and viewed more than 500,00 times, uses the same images at 14 seconds. Here is an archived link to that video. Below is a snapshot of the images used in the video.
The Baliktad Boy translates to “The Reverse Boy”.
Roxas, representing Aquino’s Liberal Party, lost the May 2016 presidential elections to Rodrigo Duterte. Here are the results of the election posted on a local TV network's website.
Blog sites, as well as social media accounts, supporting Duterte before the elections posted the misleading image. Here, here and here are archived links to three of those blog posts, which describe him as “stupid” or “crazy”.
Others on Facebook similarly mocked Roxas, including in this Facebook video that has been viewed 36,000 times.
The photo has been re-used online in recent months ahead of May elections in the Philippines, in which Roxas is running for a Senate seat for the opposition Liberal Party.
One of Roxas’ senate rivals in the elections, Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon, posted a video on his Facebook page on October 27, 2018, in which he mocks Roxas by pretending to drink water from a plate.
Here is an archived version of that video, which has been viewed 2.6 millions times. Below is a screenshot from the video.
Also on October 27, 2018, the doctored photo of Roxas drinking was used in a compilation of photos and clips mocking him posted on the Youtube account of JM Nga, which describes itself as being about viral videos.
That JM Nga video, with a caption of “Atty Larry Gadon vs Mar Roxas”, has since been viewed nearly 500,000 times. Here is an archived link to the Youtube video.
And also on October 27, 2018, another version of Gadon mocking Roxas in the same manner and using the same photo was posted on the Facebook page of PhilNetizen. It has since had nearly 150,000 views. Here is an archived link to the PhilNetizen post.
The text in the PhilNetizen video and the caption underneath it, when translated to English says: DON’T BE STUPID AND DRINK FROM A PLATE.
Below is a screenshot of that video.
Here is another example of it being used on Facebook in October 2018, and again here in February 2019.
However a reverse image search traced the doctored photograph back to a 2015 tweet from the official account of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as it promoted Roxas’s work as Interior Secretary.
The photo shows Roxas crouching beside a tap with water coming out of it. He is not holding a plate.
The tweet says that Roxas “enjoys the safe and potable water” in the town of Camalig under SALINTUBIG, a government program on improving access to clean water.
The photo can also be seen here in a 2015 article posted on the website of the Official Gazette of the Philippine government.
The original photo and the altered photo contain same key details that prove the manipulation. These include two men standing at the back, and a white shoe on the right of the image. Roxas's right hand on the gold-coloured tap is also in exactly the same position.
The other photo of Roxas eating rice from a cup that has often accompanied the doctored image can be traced back to when Roxas visited the radio station of Aksyon Radio in the western province of Iloilo in November 2015.
AFP found the original photo on Aksyon Radio’s official social media accounts. Below is the station’s Facebook post on the event.
The status of the post, when translated to English, says: “LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas visited Aksyon Radyo Iloilo. Roxas had some laswa from the pot”.
Laswa is a vegetable soup dish that is typically served with rice. Here is a link to a one of many recipes online for laswa.
The photo of Roxas purportedly drinking from a plate has been debunked repeatedly, including by Memebuster in 2016 here.
Roxas’s supporters also posted a fact-check on their Facebook page on October 19, 2018. Below is that post.
However, ahead of the 2019 senatorial elections, an enduring piece of disinformation against Roxas has been revived.