Duterte is no. 1 source of fake news – veteran journalist

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is the number one source of fake news, a veteran journalist told a Senate panel probing the proliferation of fake news in the country on Tuesday, January 30.

“Fake lies are concocted to deceive the public. They confuse the public, disempower them from making informed decisions,” Ellen Tordesillas of Vera Files said at the second Senate hearing on fake news on Tuesday.

Tordesillas also lamented how government officials use taxpayers’ money to spread wrong information. 

“The worrisome part of this is that most of the sources of disinformation is being perpetrated by government officials on taxpayers’ money. And the number 1 source of fake news is President Duterte himself,” she said. 

“In just one speech, say [there’s] more than one falsehood,” she added.

Duterte has claimed that there are 4 million drug addicts in the country. The Dangerous Drugs Board, however, pegged the number at only 1.8 million. The board did not classify them as addicts, but only drug users in general.

Duterte also alleged that the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) wants to oust and kill him. The US embassy denied it. 

In October last year, Duterte claimed that Rappler is funded by the CIA. Earlier, in his second State of the Nation Address, he alleged that Rappler is "fully owned by Americans," which was later the subject of the case filed before the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC revoked Rappler's license, which the news group has appealed. – Rappler.com 


Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com