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HOAX ALERT: 'Quotes' by celebrities, world leaders on President Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Many posts have been circulating online about supposed quotes by famous personalities mentioning or even praising President Rodrigo Duterte.

Our readers also send us these posts for verification.

Here's a running list of such hoax statements. This list will be updated as new ones emerge.

You may navigate through the fact checks via the links below. The names/groups are arranged in alphabetical order.

Claim: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said President Rodrigo Duterte is “one of the giants of the 21st century” and the Liberal Party “should accept it.”

The blog duterteforever.net posted the claim on November 8. The post, now taken down, was shared 7 times in different Facebook pages and groups which accounted to a combined total of 2,500 interactions and 380,00 followers.

The claim was posted as early as July 2017 by city-herald.com, pilipinas.altervista.org, and internationallatestupdates.blogspot.com; and radiohubph.info in March.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: There is no such quote from Merkel.

There are no reports from credible news organizations that support the claim.

According to the post, Merkel compared Duterte to fellow leaders: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayanhu, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African revolutionary Nelson Mandela.

In Germany’s federal government website, a search of Duterte yields to zero results.

Nonetheless, days after Duterte won the 2016 national elections for the presidency, Merkel congratulated Duterte on May 31, 2016, and said: “cooperation between Germany and the Philippines is characterized by friendship and trust based on common values.”

The claim had been debunked by memebuster.net in July 2017.

Claim: Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie supposedly said, “I hope we find a Rodrigo Duterte to solve these growing problem that affects numerous American households.”

The claim surfaced as early as September 2016 being posted by self-described satire website philnews.ph on September 23, 2016, and thephnews.blogspot.com. It was resurfaced by several Facebook users and the blogs factnews.club and newsngayonsapilipinas.blogspot.com garnering a combined total of 1,771 shares on Facebook.

The full quote reads:

I really think that abusing of any form of drugs should be completely eradicated. Especially here in America where anyone can buy the drug of their choice almost  anywhere. I hope we find a Rodrigo Duterte to solve these growing problem that affects numerous American household.

Rating: HOAX

The facts: There is no such quote from Angelina Jolie.

There are no reports from credible news organizations that support the claim. The satire article from philnews.ph seems to be based on a September 20, 2016 TMZ article regarding Jolie filing for divorce with actor Brad Pitt’s divorce.

According to unnamed sources, Jolie cited marijuana and alcohol consumption as a reason for their split in the TMZ report. The philnews.ph post then used this as a reason for Jolie saying the United States “find a Rodrigo Duterte” to “completely eradicate” drugs.

The claim had been debunked by the website Memebuster.net on September 22, 2016.  

Claim: International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that the ICC “will not hesitate” to prosecute the opposition if they “present paid and fake witnesses against President Rodrigo Duterte.”

Facebook page “Juan Step Para sa Tunay na Pagbabago” posted the claim on April 19, 2017. It garnered at least 1,400 reactions, 166 comments, and 5,900 shares.

Blogs philnews.xyz and hlaoo1980.blogspot.com also posted the claim.

The full quote reads

Let me remind those political oppositions in the Philippines, that if you present paid and fake witnesses against Duterte, ICC will not hesitate to persecute all of you at once.

Rating: HOAX

Rating: There is no such quote from Bensouda.

The facts: There are no reports from credible news organizations supporting the claim. 

The term “Duterte” yields 5 search results in the ICC’s website, none mentioning the supposed quote. All results are about the court’s preliminary examination into Duterte’s anti-drug campaign and his announcement that the Philippines will withdraw as a member state from ICC. 

A Google reverse image search of the manipulated photo leads to a low quality photo of the original photo reposted on February 12 by Facebook page “Say NO to Chiz Escudero.” A reverse image search also of this photo leads to a March 20, 2017 repost of the photo by known opposition Facebook Page “Silent No More PH.”

The original photo contains an October 13, 2016 statement by Bensouda “concerning the situation in the Republic of the Philippines.”

The actual quote reads

Let me be clear: any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable to prosecution before the Court.

Aside from fabricating a quote supposedly from Bensouda, the chief prosecutor was also attacked by pro-Duterte trolls in a video of Bensouda explaining preliminary examinations in Philippines and Venezuela on ICC’s Facebook page. 

Rappler has also checked a claim saying the ICC has already junked the case filed by lawyer Jude Sabio against Duterte.

Claim: Former US President George W. Bush is in “awe” of President Rodrigo Duterte for “killing drug pushers” in the Philippines.

The blog duterteforever.net posted the claim on March 12. Since then, the post garnered minimal social media engagement.

Other blogs also posted the claim: du30news.xyz, dutertelegacy.com, dutertefilipino.info, pinoynewsbayan.info, and video-hosting website bettermeplace.space.

The post’s sole content is a YouTube video.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: There is no such quote from Bush. The claim was picked up from a speech by Duterte in March.

The embedded YouTube video is a speech of Duterte during the 145th Founding Anniversary and 2nd Kanlahi Festival of Tarlac on March 7. The video was uploaded by channel “DIGONG REPUBLIC” on March 10.

In the speech, Duterte said Bush has recently declared a national emergency, and asked the audience if they have read a Philippine Star article where Bush supposedly said he would “follow” Duterte’s style in killing drug pushers.

“So si Bush ngayon declared a national emergency. And if you have read the Philippine Star about four days ago, sabi ni Bush, kung ako ang masunod, sundin ko si Duterte kasi wala masyado ng mga durugista doon kasi pinapatay niya.”

However, Duterte may have mistakenly mentioned Bush instead of Donald Trump, the current US President.

Duterte may be referring to a March 2 Philippine Star article with the headline, "Duterte admires Donald Trump for ‘telling truth’ on drug menace."

Prior to Duterte’s speech, the White House in the US announced one notice, one continuation, and two executive orders regarding 4 separate national emergencies with respect to the crises in Zimbabwe, Belarus, Ukraine, and Venezuela.

Meanwhile, in February, Axios published an article containing Trump’s supposed praise. Unnamed sources said to Axios that Trump once said, “you know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them.”

This claim was also debunked by VERA Files on November 10.

 

Claim: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said to “not fight Duterte, help him win this war” on drugs.

The blog philmedia.info posted the claim in 2017. It is now taken down, but the Internet Archive has a snapshot of the post. It was shared on March 22, 2017 on Facebook by “President Rodrigo Duterte Supporter's” page which garnered at least 157 shares. 

According to the claim, Bishop said that helping Duterte “would be for every Filipino and future generations.”

Rating: HOAX

The facts: There is no such quote from the Australian Foreign Minister.

There are no reports from credible news organizations supporting the claim. 

Searching in Bishop's official website, the term “Duterte” yields 16 results, but none mentions the supposed quote. Most of it are references to Bishop’s meeting with Duterte on March 17. The meeting in Davao City was about the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute, terrorism, responsible mining, and the Mindanao peace process.

In addition, contrary to the claim, Bishop was quoted in an August 22, 2017 Sydney Morning Herald report saying, “the practice of extra-judicial killings to combat drug trafficking and use is of deep concern to Australia.” The foreign minister added “I consistently emphasise the importance of upholding human rights and the rule of law in democratic societies.”

Claim: Pope Francis “admires the honesty” of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The claim was posted as early as November 2015 by blogs thphnews.thephilippinetrend.com (now inactive or taken down), memethings.tumblr.com, trendingnewsportal.com, thephnews.blogspot.com, and viralsharer.com. It was also posted on Facebook by several users.

The full quote reads:

I was amazed by the fact that a politician who is aiming at the highest position could be this honest. It was a first encounter for me to see a politician being honest about his concerns for his country other than kissing my hands for the sole purpose of getting the support of the majority of the Catholic population… there’s no need for an apology. I admire his honesty.

Rating: HOAX

The facts: There is no such quote from Pope Francis.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the supposed statement is “not true” and “came from a satire piece and is fake.”

This is not the first time Pope Francis supposedly praised Duterte. On the last week of June, two claims surfaced: Pope Francis calling Duterte a “blessing” and “good leader,” and the Pope defending Duterte’s “God is stupid” remark.

Claim: Queen Elizabeth II said  “Donald Trump should follow Duterte’s footsteps.”

According to the claim, the Queen said this during a speech regarding the secession crisis in Catalonia, Spain.

The claim was posted by bayangpilipinas.com on October 30, 2017. It was resurfaced this year by several Facebook users as early as February.

The blog post cites is source as telegraph-tv.com, mimicking British newsgroup The Telegraph. Telegraph-tv.com site is no longer  online.

Both blog and Facebook posts garnered minimal social media engagement. 

The full quote reads:

The world did not recognize Catalonia independence just because they lacked wisdom. World leaders must emulate Philippines President Mr. Duterte, even Trump should follow his footsteps. A down to earth and wisdom gifted man. People may think I’m campaigning for him but trust me some world leaders would want to be like him. They should borrow a leaf.

I have not seen any other intelligent President other than Duterte, world leaders should go for political advice in Manila. I’m saying all these because I am a mother to all. I love Trump, Putin and I hate no one. I’m just concerned.

Rating: HOAX

The facts: There is no such quote from Queen Elizabeth II.

There are no news reports from credible news organizations supporting the claim.

Searching the Royal Family’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter account, there are no mention of the supposed quote.

The claim has been already debunked by Agence France-Presse on September 24, 2018.

This is not the first time a member of the Royal Family supposedly praised Duterte. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle did not “praise” Duterte in a “recent interview,” as claimed by a blog post last May. 

Claim: President Rodrigo Duterte was awarded as the “best president” by the UN Social and Economic Council (ECOSOC).

According to the claim, the award was “announced” during their “first annual review” which was published on August 8, 2016. Duterte was also supposedly “tipped to as the next UN Secretary General if he wishes to occupy the office.”

The claim was posted on Facebook as early as August 21, 2016 garnering at least 36,000 reactions, 10,000 comments, and 63,000 shares.

It was then resurfaced on Facebook on September 24 but reaching only at least 14,000 shares.

Rating: HOAX

The facts: There is no such award from UN ECOSOC.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque denied the claim on September 26. In a Sunstar news report of the same date, Roque said “there's no such thing.”

The term “Duterte” yields no search results in ECOSOC’s website, and specifically in ECOSOC’s Resolutions, Decisions, and Reports section.

Furthermore, the Reports section of ECOSOC show that there are no reports filed on August 8, 2016. The only report filed in August 2016 is a letter from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General on August 24.

There are also no news reports of ECOSOC awarding nation leaders as “best president” or any similar title.

One of the 6 main organs of the United Nations, ECOSOC is tasked to “advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental” and “coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals.”

VERA Files and Agence France-Presse have also debunked the claim. 

Prior to the publication of this list, Rappler has written about other articles supposedly praising Duterte or mentioning the President's name.

— Miguel Imperial and Michael Bueza/Rappler.com