Fact checks on public officials

FACT CHECK: Rodrigo Duterte is alive


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FACT CHECK: Rodrigo Duterte is alive
A video posted on March 17 claims the former president is dead. Duterte is alive, as seen in videos posted on his official social media account and Senator Bong Go’s Facebook page.

Claim: Former president Rodrigo Duterte has died.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The TikTok video containing the claim was posted on March 17 and has 107,800 views, 1,174 reactions, 568 comments, and 103 shares as of writing. The post originated from a TikTok account with the username @whatcountry0000, which usually features content mocking Duterte.

The video shows an image of Vice President Sara Duterte, his daughter, at a wake and standing in front of a casket adorned with the Philippine flag, surrounded by uniformed military personnel. It also shows the text “Rest in peace.”

Comments on the video show that some social media users believe the video to be true.

The facts: Contrary to the claim, Duterte is alive. His latest post on his official and verified Facebook page was made on April 10, linking to a video introducing his TikTok account.

Duterte is also seen in a photo and live video posted on April 10 by Senator Bong Go, showing the former president celebrating the birthday of his daughter Kitty.

Posts made several days after the misleading TikTok video was posted also belie the claim. On March 25, Duterte appeared in a live video posted by Go on his Facebook page. 

Duterte was also seen celebrating his 79th birthday on March 28 at their home in Davao City. An image from that day shows Duterte alongside his son, Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte, and some of his grandchildren.

There are also no official news reports confirming the claim.


The image used: The photo featured in the fake content was sourced from Sara Duterte’s Facebook page. The photo was taken last February 22 during her visit to the wake of Corporal Reland Tapinit, a soldier who died during a military operation against suspected members of the Maute Group in Lanao del Norte. – Jerico Alvaran/Rappler.com

Jerico Alvaran is a Rappler volunteer. He is a senior statistics major at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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.

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