30 September 2023

Misleading: Marcos Jr. was not the only contender wearing an earpiece

The earpiece is a part of communication system known as IFB in broadcasting. Both candidates and members of the interviewing panel were using it to hear the audio.

A tweet on Jan. 27 claimed that Ferdinand Marcos Jr., a Philippine presidential candidate, was cheating during an election interview.

The tweet showed an image of him with an earpiece and suggested that he was being coached through the device during the program.

The tweet was posted by Audie Gemora, a performing artist who has expressed his support for Ma. Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo, one of Marcos’s rivals for the position. The tweet, translated in English, says “No matter what occasion or time, he’s a cheater through and through.” In less than a day, the tweet got more than 1,000 likes and over 200 retweets.

The interview was conducted by DZRH, a radio station in the Philippines as part of their election special called “Bakit Ikaw? The DZRH Presidential Job Interview.” “Bakit Ikaw?” in English means “Why You?”

DZRH has so far interviewed two out of five presidential contenders. Those interviewed so far were Marcos Jr., namesake and son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, on Jan. 25 and Leody De Guzman, a labor leader, on Jan. 26.

While Annie Lab cannot say what Marcos was hearing through his earpiece, videos of the interviews with both candidates showed the two wore what appears to be an interruptible foldback system known as IFB that includes in-ear hearing devices. The IFB is often used for a show producer to give cues. It also provides program audio with the people wearing the earpiece.

Annie Lab checked both videos of the recorded interviews. The live video recording of Marcos Jr. on the official Facebook page of DZRH and its official YouTube page showed he was wearing an earpiece on his right ear. While the video of De Guzman’s interview on YouTube and on Facebook showed he was wearing one on his left ear.

A screenshot of Marcos Jr. from the interview.
A screenshot of Marcos Jr. wearing an earpiece on his right (encircled in yellow).
Screenshot of De Guzman from the interview.
A screenshot of De Guzman wearing an earpiece on his left (encircled in yellow).

Both videos of the interviews with the two candidates also showed the panelists wore an earpiece, too.

A combined image to show both candidates and panelists were wearing earpieces.
Two screenshots of De Guzman (top) and Marcos Jr. (bottom) with panelists from the interviews. Earpieces visible in the screenshots are encircled in yellow. A clearer shot of the unworn earphones hanging on the panelist at the bottom right can be seen here (26:47).

Antonio Contreras, a member of the interviewing panel, said in his Facebook post on Jan. 26 that the earpiece was worn by all of them to “hear the audio.”

“That is an earpiece which we panelists, the host, the candidate and even the crew all wore to hear the audio. Even Ka Leody wore one. And Ping, Manny and Leni will wear this too when its their turn to be interviewed,” he wrote.

A screenshot of a Facebook post explaining the use of earpiece.
Screenshot of the Facebook post of one of those who did the interview with Marcos Jr.

The elections in the Philippines will be held on May 9, but overseas voting will start a month earlier. The next president will replace outgoing chief executive Rodrigo Duterte.