Skip to content
post thumbnail

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Ben Tulfo’s report claiming UN chief ‘in favor of Duterte’s drug war’ MISLEADING

Broadcaster Benjamin Tulfo recently misled listeners of his state-run teleradyo program with a report that said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres supports President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.

Oct 18, 2018

VERA FILES

|

-minute read

ifcn badge

Share This Article

:

Broadcaster Benjamin Tulfo recently misled listeners of his state-run teleradyo program with a report that said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

Cherry-picking passages from Guterres’ Sept. 24 speech, Tulfo made it appear that the UN chief had said Duterte’s campaign against drugs was in line with the UN’s. The title of a clip of the episode uploaded on the show’s Youtube channel also said Guterres was “in favor” of Duterte’s drug war.

STATEMENTS

The Youtube channel BITAG OFFICIAL uploaded Oct. 12 a 9-minute clip of Tulfo’s BITAG Live episode that day with the title, “UN chief, pabor sa Drug War ni PDu30! CHR, sampal sa inyo (UN chief, in favor of PDu30’s drug war! CHR, this is a slap to your face)!”

The episode, aired over People’s Television Network (PTV-4) and Radyo Pilipinas (DZRP 738), featured Tulfo reading and translating excerpts from Guterres’ speech at the Sept. 24 High Level Event on Counter-Narcotics at the UN Headquarters in New York.

He quoted Guterres saying:

“National priorities may differ, but the global community shares a common goal: to protect people’s security, health and wellbeing.”

Source: Guterres, A., “Remarks at High-Level Event on Counter-Narcotics hosted by the United States of America,” Sept. 24, 2018

He translated this as:

Kaya yun hong national priority, or yung prayoridad na pang-nasyonal ng bawat bansa eh maaaring magkaiba. Magkaiba ang pamamaraan, pero iisa lang ang layunin ay solbahin at harapin ang sinasabing ay problema ng droga sa buong mundo na ho ito (The national priorities of each country may be different. There may be different strategies, but there is only one goal and that is to solve and face what is called the drug problem in the world).”

Source: BITAG OFFICIAL, “UN chief, pabor sa Drug War ni PDu30! CHR, sampal sa inyo!,” Oct. 12, 2018, watch from 2:47 to 3:05

Another passage he quoted was:

“The United Nations system – and I personally – stand ready to support governments in meeting the challenge of the world drug problem.”

Source: Guterres, A., “Remarks at High-Level Event on Counter-Narcotics hosted by the United States of America,” Sept. 24, 2018

Tulfo’s translation:

Sabi niya, eto raw ho, sila, naninindiga’t naniniwala – personal, lalo’t siya nga – na sila’y nakahandang suportahan ang mga gobyerno, ang iba’t ibang bansa, dito ho sa hamon na pag-uusapan ay problema sa droga (He said they stand by and believe – on a personal level – that they’re ready to support governments, different countries, in the challenge that is the drug problem)

Source: BITAG OFFICIAL, “UN chief, pabor sa Drug War ni PDu30! CHR, sampal sa inyo!,” Oct. 12, 2018, watch from 4:39 to 4:55

Tulfo then said:

Ang siste ho eh, kung UN na po ang nagsabi niyan, eh bakit ho sa bansa ho natin, yung Commission on Human Rights… laging ito’y tinutuligsa na mali lagi?…So hindi ho naiintindihan, eh priority number one ho ni President Duterte yan na tumutugma doon sa sinasabi ng UN (As it is,if it’s the UN that has already said so, why is it that in our country, the Commission on Human Rights is always condemning (the drug war) and saying it is wrong?…They don’t understand that President Duterte’s number one priority is in line with what the UN is saying).”

Source: BITAG OFFICIAL, “UN chief, pabor sa Drug War ni PDu30! CHR, sampal sa inyo!,” Oct. 12, 2018, watch from 6:58 to 7:41

FACT

Both the title of the clip and Tulfo’s report are misleading.

Nowhere in his speech did Guterres express support, refer to or even mention Duterte and his drug war, rendering the title untrue.

Tulfo also skewed his translation of the UN chief’s words to fit his claim about Duterte’s drug war being in line with the UN’s.

He turned Guterres’ statement about countries having “differences in national priorities” into countries having “differences in strategies” in addressing the drug problem.

Tulfo also emphasized Guterres’ and the UN’s support for governments fighting substance abuse in their countries, but omitted mentioning that Guterres had repeatedly said drug addicts need to be treated as “victims” and “patients.”

Tulfo left out these sentences:

  • “To tackle this complex issue, we need strong action in two areas… The second action area is making sure that those who need treatment get it. Consumers are first and foremost patients and victims.”
  • “(D)rug addicts are victims who need treatment rather than punishment.”

Duterte has justified the killings of drug users by saying they were “not human beings.” He admitted two weeks ago that the only “sin” he is guilty of is “extrajudicial killings.”

At least one website, pinolitika.com, used the misleading Tulfo report in a story that bore the same misleading headline.

The original YouTube clip and the pinolitika.com report could have reached almost 1.2 million people; its largest traffic generators being the pages President Duterte TV, President Rody Duterte and SENATOR HARRY ROQUE 2019 …. DDS KAILANGAN NATIN SIYA…. SUPPORT NOW!!!.

Pinolitika.com was created July 20; Tulfo’s BITAG OFFICIAL Youtube channel in April 2016.

Sources:

Guterres, A., “Remarks at High-Level Event on Counter-Narcotics hosted by the United States of America,” Sept. 24, 2018.

Official Gazette, “Rodrigo Roa Duterte During The 10th Eastern Mindanao Command Anniversary,” Aug. 16, 2016.

Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the oath-taking of the new Career Executive Service Officers (CESOs), and Conferment Ceremony of the 2017 Gawad Career Executive Services (CES), and 2018 Outstanding Government Workers Awards rites, Sept. 27, 2018.

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)


Get VERAfied

Receive fresh perspectives and explainers in your inbox every Tuesday and Friday.