Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte insists Lapulapu was Tausug

Pia Ranada
Duterte insists Lapulapu was Tausug

NO CHANGING HIS MIND. President Rodrigo Duterte says those disagreeing with his Lapulapu claim are 'philosophers.'

Malacañang file photo

The National Historical Commission has already said there is not enough evidence to back this claim, which had been made by President Duterte's longtime aide, Senator Bong Go

Despite clarifications made by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte insisted on Tuesday, May 11, that the Visayan hero Lapulapu was a Tausug from Mindanao.

“He was Tausug,” he said during a speech at Camp Siongco in Maguindanao.

Hindi nila alam, those who are debating, ang mga Bisaya kung makinig lang sila nang mabuti they can make out what a Tausug is talking about,” said the President, as if this anecdote is sufficient historical evidence to bolster his claim.

(They don’t know, those who are debating, Bisaya people can understand what a Tausug is talking about if they just listen carefully.)

He derided as “pilosopo” (philosophers) those who disagree with his Tausug claim.

No less than NHCP chairperson Rene Escalante has maintained that the only account of Lapulapu, that of Venetian chronicler Antonio Pigafetta, states only that he was Mactan chieftain and contained no information on his birthplace or other details of his life.

Hence, there is not enough evidence to establish whether or not he was Tausug.

“NHCP considers other popular accounts and stories outside of these historical sources as speculative and folkloric and should not be regarded as established facts of history,” said Escalante in an April 30 statement.

Escalante had to issue this statement after Senator Bong Go claimed Lapulapu was a Tausug from Mindanao during the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan on April 27. Go has since apologized for this. –

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at