Duterte Fact Checks

FALSE: US senator defends Duterte from opposition’s ‘fake news’

FALSE: US senator defends Duterte from opposition’s ‘fake news’
Although former Virginia state senator Richard Black has said good things about Duterte's war on drugs before, there are no records of him defending Duterte from ‘fake news’
At a glance:
  • Claim: Former Virginia state senator Richard Black defended President Duterte and asked members of the opposition to stop spreading “fake news” against him worldwide. 
  • Rating: FALSE 
  • The facts: Although former Virginia state senator Richard Black has said good things about Duterte’s war on drugs before, there are no records of him defending Duterte from “fake news.”
  • Why we fact-checked this: YouTube channel “Showbiz Fanaticz” posted a video on March 18 with this claim, and the video has reached over 97,000 views and 681 comments as of writing.
Complete details:

A video posted on March 18 on verified YouTube channel “Showbiz Fanaticz” falsely claimed that former Virginia state senator Richard Black praised President Rodrigo Duterte and defended him from “fake news” by members of the opposition worldwide. 

The video falsely said: “Hindi rin daw niya [Black] masisisi kung bakit binoto ng mas maraming Pilipino si Duterte gayon na nakikitaan nila ng pagbabago ang Pilipinas…. Ayon mismo kay Richard Hayden Black, hindi rin tama ang pagpapakalat ng fake news ng mga ilang taga-oposisyon na pilit lamang sinisiraan si Pangulong Duterte worldwide.” 

(“Black can’t blame the majority of Filipinos for voting for Duterte, now that they see change in the Philippines. According to Richard Hayden Black himself, it’s also not right that some members of the opposition keep trying to spread fake news and ruin Duterte’s image worldwide.”)

The full title of the video read: “JUST IN: US Senator RICHARD Black BUMULIB (sic) sa GALING at TAPANG ni Pres. DUTERTE| OPOSISYON NAPAHIYA!!” (Just in: US Senator Richard Black admires Pres. Duterte’s leadership and courage | Opposition shamed!!). 

As of writing, the video has accumulated over 97,000 views and 681 comments. Similar claims have also previously circulated across Facebook pages and other YouTube channels since 2016, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle. 

This claim is false.

The closest thing said by Black related to the claim is from an interview with the LaRouchePAC YouTube channel, a show by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee, on November 4, 2016. Although Black said good things about Duterte’s war on drugs, he did not mention the opposition in this interview.

In the interview titled, “Duterte’s Philippines: An Ally of the New Paradigm,” Black was asked about his insights on Duterte’s newly begun war on drugs campaign.

Black answered: “In the Philippines, President Duterte views it [drug crime] as a war, not as a police action and I think that’s the difference. We [the United States] always viewed ours [war on drugs] as a police action. It was like addressing any type of crime. But it was literally breaking down the culture and society of the Philippines so the people of the Philippines elected President Duterte by a tremendous margin. They wanted law and order and he gave it to them.” 

Black also said: “One thing we need to understand is that every country and every culture is different. The Philippines is a nation of 7,000 islands and it is difficult to govern those islands because you have these separations. Consequently, to rule the Philippines, you have to rule with a very firm hand and that is what the Philippine people have chosen, is to have a very strong ruler.” 

There are also no recordings, statements, or documents that prove Black mentioned the opposition or that he defended Duterte from the opposition’s alleged “fake news.”

Black, who was a senator from the state of Virginia from 2012 to 2020, is also a retired colonel of the US army and former chief of the army’s criminal law division under the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. 

Rappler has fact-checked the “Showbiz Fanaticz” YouTube channel multiple times before. – Sofia Guanzon/Rappler.com

Sofia Guanzon is a Rappler intern. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s internship 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.

More fact checks on YouTube channel “Showbiz Fanaticz”:

Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this article, Black was referred to as “former US senator” in some parts instead of a former state senator. Those parts have been corrected.