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FALSE: Duterte honored by Time magazine

Claim: American news magazine Time honored President Rodrigo Duterte in its May cover feature.

YouTube channel Showbiz Fanaticz uploaded a video on May 31, 2020, with the title, “EXCLUSIVE: Pres DUTERTE MULING KINILALA ng (honored once again by) TIME MAGAZINE bilang (as a) "STRONGMAN" in the WORLD!”

“Ikinatuwa nga ng mga fans ni Pangulong Duterte ang naging balita na ito nang inilabas mismo ng Time magazine para sa kanilang May cover issue si Pangulong Duterte kasama pa ang ilang pinakamatatapang na presidente sa buong mundo,” the video said.

(Fans of President Duterte rejoiced over this news when Time released their May cover issue showing President Duterte and other presidents who are the bravest in the world.)

The video added: "Ayon mismo sa naging feature ng Time magazine, hindi sila nagsisisi na i-feature si Pangulong Duterte dahil sa kanyang unstoppable na pagpapakita ng pagpapakatao sa lahat ng mga ginagawa nitong mga proyekto at kung paano naging transparent ang kanyang administrasyon."

(According to Time's feature, they do not regret featuring President Duterte because of his unstoppable manifestation of humaneness in all of his projects, and how he has been transparent throughout his administration.)

The video also claimed that Time has featured Duterte so many times, which is an indication that the Philippines is now being recognized internationally.

The video lasted for 5 minutes and 9 seconds. As of writing, the video had 133,256 views on YouTube. Website pinasdailynews.xyz also posted the video on May 31, 2020.

Claim Check, Facebook’s monitoring tool that identifies dubious posts shared across the platform, flagged the YouTube video and the post by pinasdailynews.xyz for fact checkers to verify. The posts were reported at least 14 times for containing false information.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: Time's cover story on Duterte, which was published in May 2018, did not honor him. The video wrongly equated "strongman" with someone brave and firm, when in fact it is a term for a leader who controls by force of will and character.

Ian Bremmer, political scientist and writer of the May 2018 cover story of Time's international edition, described strongmen as “tough-talking populists” who exhibit a “muscular, assertive leadership” but have little regard for civil liberties.

The cover story discussed how the rise of Duterte, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban indicates that the world is now in the “strongmen era.” Duterte shared the cover with these 3 politicians.

Duterte even cursed Time for this story and said that he is not a strongman. Bremmer answered in a separate article also published in 2018 and said: “His (Duterte's) government dismisses evidence of his drug war death toll, substantiated by international rights organizations, as ‘alternative facts.’ He has tried to harass and intimidate United Nations officials charged with investigating the evidence.”

Time's cover story also did not say that they do not regret featuring Duterte, nor praised his administration for being transparent. The story only mentioned Duterte twice. The full article can be accessed here.

Time has featured Duterte on its covers twice in the past. Both covers highlighted his iron-fisted leadership. The first was in the May 2016 issue of its Asia Edition which called Duterte “The Punisher” for his violent anti-drug campaign. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.