FALSE: US names Duterte among 12 global anti-corruption champions

At a glance
  • Claim: President Rodrigo Duterte was recognized by the US State Department as one of its 12 International Anticorruption Champions.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: The US State Department did not name Duterte among its 12 International Anticorruption Champions Awardees in 2021 for demonstrating leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption. The post originally came from a satirical page and was reposted without context.
  • Why we fact-checked this: At least two Facebook pages reposted the satirical post as if it’s a fact. These posts have over 5,700 shares, 2,900 comments, and 11,500 reactions combined, as of writing. Several readers also emailed the posts to Rappler for verification.
Complete details

Viral posts claiming that President Rodrigo Duterte was recognized by the United States Department of State among its 12 global anti-corruption champions are being shared on social media in October 2021.

Two pages, “PINAS News Portal - Posts” and “Friends of Sara Duterte,” state in their captions that Duterte demonstrated leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption.

“Duterte was called a ‘standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anti-corruption and transparency initiatives in his election campaign and in office’,” the pages’ captions say.

These posts have over 5,700 shares, 2,900 comments, and 11,500 reactions combined, as of writing. Several readers also emailed the posts to Rappler for verification.

The claim is false.

The US State Department did not name Duterte among its 12 global anti-corruption champions who were honored under the new initiative launched by the Biden administration in 2021. Since the award’s inception, only one Filipino has garnered the recognition: Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, who got recognized in February.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement that the Biden administration launched the International Anticorruption Champions Award "recognizing individuals who have worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries."

Sotto – not Duterte – was described by the US State Department as "a standard-bearer for a new generation of Philippine politicians who prioritize anti-corruption and transparency initiatives in their election campaigns and in office."

"Sotto has sought to solidify his reputation as a fresh voice with a new, more transparent approach to governance," the US State Department said.

The US State Department also noted that Sotto, then a councilor, led the push for the freedom of information ordinance in Pasig that allowed residents easy access to public documents.

The complete list of anti-corruption champions of the US Department of State for 2021 includes the following: Ardian Dvorani of Albania, Diana Salazar of Ecuador, Sophia Pretrick of the Federated States of Micronesia, Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro of Guatemala, Ibrahima Kalil Gueye of Guinea, Anjali Bhardwaj of India, Dhuha A. Mohammed of Iraq, Bolot Temirov of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla of Libya, Sotto of the Philippines, Francis Ben Kaifala of Sierra Leone, and Ruslan Ryaboshapka of Ukraine.

The claim originated from a Facebook page called “Cebu Dairy News.” Cebu Dairy News labels its page as satirical. – Art Lubiano, Antonio Manaytay/Rappler.com

Art Lubiano and Antonio Manaytay are awardees of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship. 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.

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