‘The President does not lie’ – and Duterte’s proven untrue claims

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President Rodrigo Duterte ... a "thinking president", according to Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo. Image: Malacañang/Rappler

By Pia Ranada in Manila

Besieged by criticisms and questions about the veracity of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s “ouster plot matrix“, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo sought to assure the public that the Chief Executive would never make any baseless claims.

Last Thursday, he said Filipinos had no reason to doubt the diagram because it came from a President who “never lies”.

“I don’t have to verify what the President told me because he is the President. The President does not lie about those things…. The President does not lie on anything, on serious matters. He’s a very honest man,” said Panelo.

READ MORE: Presidential ‘ouster plot’ false news – the background

“The President has many sources and the President, knowing him as a man of intellect, a probing mind, a thinking President, he will not release any information that he has not validated,” added the spokesman, himself a lawyer like Duterte.

Yet the President himself has not been accurate or even honest about some of his claims in the past.


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Here’s a list of just a few of the false and baseless claims, and even an outright lie that came from Duterte:

1. ‘Invented’ bank account number
He has admitted “inventing” a Singaporean bank account number which he had previously claimed belonged to opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, his fierce critic who had been accusing him of hidden wealth.

Prior to his admission, the President presented in a public address the alleged undeclared bank account numbers of Trillanes in Singapore. After the senator went to Singapore himself and personsally disproved the allegation, Duterte countered, “‘Yung imbento ko na numero, putang ina, akin ‘yan, galing sa utak ko ‘yan (That number I invented, son of a bitch, that’s mine, I made it up).”

2. Wrong claim: No projects for Davao City
In January, the President falsely claimed Davao City got no projects under his watch but government data showed that his hometown has P52 billion worth of infrastructure projects.

3. Wrong claim about timing of Hague ruling
There was also a time when he falsely claimed the Hague ruling was issued during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III when, in fact, it was issued during his presidency.

4. Errors in early drug matrix
And how about past matrices? In 2016, Duterte had to apologize to some local government officials for errors in a drug matrix he released to the public. The President admitted his government was “negligent in counterchecking” the document.

5. Wrong, baseless claims: ICC judges are ‘white,’ mostly pedophiles
In November 2018, he wrongly claimed all International Criminal Court (ICC) judges were Caucasian and baselessly suspected most of them of being pedophiles.

Pia Ranada is a senior political reporter with Rappler covering the Malacañang presidential palace beat. This article is republished under a Creative Commons licence.

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