VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Did Obama curse at Duterte? Did Trump call Duterte ‘a hero of your country’?

President Rodrigo Duterte in his second State of the Nation Address on July 24 said the change of administration in the United States also brought a change in the perception of his war on drugs.

He mimicked how former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump in contrast addressed him on this issue. At the same time he questioned how Filipinos still believe and value the US, when it is “ambivalent” and likened it to an electric fan, “vacillating.”


Duterte said:

Bakit kayo bilib diyan sa puti? … Una iyong Spokesman ng State Department, akala mo kung sino. Akala nila mas bright pa sila sa akin… then the staff of the President, then Obama… [Speaking in slang tone] ‘I would like to remind … Mr. Duterte that … the policy of the’…

(Why are you in awe of white (people)? First was the spokesman of the State Department, acting like he were somebody. They think they’re brighter than I. Then the staff of the president, then Obama…[Speaking in slang tone] ‘I would like to remind … Mr. Duterte that … the policy of the’…)

Pagdating ni
Trump, (When Trump took over),[Speaking in slang tone] “Oh yes Mr. President, we’ve been expecting your call. You’re doing it all right, and we do the……” [Cheers/Applause]…

So, that’s the value of the country that you value. Ambivalent… parang electric fan, okay dito… o hindi na okay (…like an electric fan that’s okay one moment and then it’s not). It’s vacillating. Tapos kayong mga NGO diyan bilib kayo. (And you NGOs admire them so much).

Hindi ko talaga maintindihan Pilipino
. (I really don’t understand the Filipino). It takes for an American to say that I’m son of a bitch, and it takes an American to say ‘Oh you’re great. You’re a hero in your country.’ Eh saan ako pumunta nito ngayon?(Where will I go now

Source: 2017 State of the Nation Address, RTVMalacanang, watch from 1:25:48 to1:27:31

Did Obama say Duterte was a son of a bitch? Did Trump say the Philippine president was a hero?


No on both counts.

In fact, it was Duterte who called Obama a “son of a whore” in Filipino on Sept. 5 as he prepared to leave for the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits that were held in Laos. This after the Obama administration expressed concern over extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s war on drugs.

Duterte said:

“I am a President of the sovereign state, and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master, except the Filipino people. Nobody but nobody. You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Putang-ina, mumurahin kita diyan sa forum na iyan. Huwag mo akong ganunin (Son of a whore, I’ll curse you at the forum. Don’t treat me like that). Tell that to everybody.”

Source: Departure statement for the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits, Davao City, watch from 7:59 to 8:30

As a consequence, Obama cancelled a meeting with Duterte at the summit.

In the case of Trump, Duterte has had two telephone conversations so far with the new American president. On neither occasion was Trump quoted to have told Duterte, “You’re a hero in your country.”

The first call was made on Dec. 3, 2016 when Duterte congratulated then President-elect Trump who had just won the US presidential election. Their most recent telephone conversation was in the sidelines of the gala dinner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Head of States on April 29.

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks with then president-elect Donald Trump, in December last year.

In the April 29 call initiated by the US president, Trump congratulated Duterte for “an unbelievable job on the drug problem.” He said, “What a great job you are doing,” and he wished Duterte to “keep up the good work,”

“You are doing an amazing job,” Trump said according to a transcript of that telephone conversation. A copy of the memo from the Office of the American Affairs Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs that contained the transcript of that telephone conversation found its way to the press. The authenticity of that document was not disputed.

There was also nothing in their first conversation in December that Duterte was called a hero by Trump. In that call Duterte claimed he was invited by Trump to visit the US.

“I appreciate the response that I got from President-elect Trump and I would like to wish him success. He will be a good president for the United States of America. I am very sure. And he has invited me to visit New York and Washington DC, he said that if I’m around, he wants to be notified of my presence,” Duterte reportedly said in the notes of the conversation released by the Presidential Communications Office on Dec. 3.

But a read-out of calls with world leaders to Trump released by his transition team in Washington D.C. only said, “President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines offered his congratulatory wishes to President-elect Trump. In their conversation, they noted the long history of friendship and cooperation between the two nations and agreed that the two government would continue to work together closely on matters of shared interest and concern.”

In a Malacanang press release on that call, Duterte was quoted to have said Trump wished him success in his anti-drug campaign and that Trump understood the way he is handling it. But there was no mention of Trump telling him, “you’re a hero of your country.”


Read Out of Calls with World Leaders Held Today by President-Elect Donald J. Trump on December 2, 2016…

Duterte invites Trump to the Philippines, 03 Dec. 2016…

Transcript of the Telephone Conversation Between POTUS and President Duterte on April 29, 2017