Swedish King Johan Konrad III and Queen Marie Katherine of Sweden praised President Rodrigo Duterte for his administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the war on drugs, and the 2017 Marawi siege.
Facebook user Jay Naguios Laxamana posted on a number of Facebook groups several graphics attributing quotes that praised the president before this supposed Swedish royal couple.
One of the captions for these posts read, “Salamat po King Johan Konrad III sa pagpuri sa Presidente namin. Bihira lang ang isang hari na purihin ang President natin sa magandang nagawa nya sa Pilipinas. Mabuhay Duterte! Proud DDS!” (Thank you King Johan Konrad III for praising our president. It is rare for a king to praise our president for the good he is doing for the country. Long live Duterte! Proud DDS!)
Two of these graphics had the logo of Inquirer.net and were dated April 6, 2020 and April 26, 2020, respectively. Another bore the logo of The Philippine Star and was dated May 20, 2020.
The post with The Philippine Star's logo had over 14,000 reactions, 79 comments, and 9,100 shares. Another post had over 1,600 reactions, 145 comments, and 1,600 shares.
These graphics were shared in the Facebook groups MARCOS DUTERTE MOVEMENT 2022, DDS SOCIAL MEDIA SUPPORTERS, and The New Filipino.
As of writing, two of these quote cards are no longer available, and may have been deleted or removed.
Though some users identified the posts as satire, other users appeared to believe them to be true, with comments like, “Thank you King Johan Konrad. God bless you,” and “Mabuti pa ang mga dayuhan maganda pa ang sinasabi sa nagpa lakad sa pamahalaan.” (Foreigners are better than Filipinos, they can appreciate how our government runs the country better than the locals do.)
Rappler readers emailed these posts to Rappler for verification. They were also posted on the "Fact-checking in the Philippines" Facebook group for verification.
The images on the quote cards are actually Swedish YouTuber Felix Kjellberg (also known as "PewDiePie") and his wife, social media personality Marzia Kjellberg. The reigning Swedish monarchs, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, have not recently said anything about President Rodrigo Duterte.
The graphics manipulated the quote cards of Inquirer.net and The Philippine Star. These news outlets did not release any quote cards of the Swedish YouTuber or his wife with these photos. There are also no news reports or statements containing these quotes attributed to PewDiePie.
Sweden's reigning monarchs have not said anything about President Duterte. However, Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries said in 2016 that Sweden was concerned over the number of killings in the Philippines. Fries also said at a forum in 2019 that he did not find Duterte's rape jokes funny.
Rappler found the original photos of Pewdiepie and Marzia by performing a Google reverse image search of the graphics. The photo in one of the graphics was lifted from a photo posted on Marzia’s Instagram account in August 2019.
Graphics falsely presenting PewDiePie as a Swedish “king” or “prince” praising President Duterte have been circulating as early as December 2019. A similar graphic featuring a supposed quote from Queen Elizabeth was debunked in a claim that Rappler fact-checked in April 2020.
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