VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte did NOT go to PNoy’s wake

YouTube channel SHOWBIZ TV published a video on June 25 claiming President Rodrigo Duterte attended the wake of his predecessor Benigno Aquino III, who passed away a day earlier. This is fake.

Duterte’s absence during Aquino’s wake and inurnment was noted by several media organizations such as the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Rappler after the former president was laid to rest on Saturday, June 26.

In a press briefing on June 28, Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said the president wanted to go to the wake at around 11 p.m. of June 24 but was informed that the urn had already been moved to the Aquinos’ private residence at Times Street in Quezon City. He said he did not know why the president was unable to attend the funeral.

According to reports, Duterte called Aquino’s sisters, Ballsy and Kris, on the night of June 24 to extend his condolences. Duterte also signed a proclamation that day declaring a 10-day period of national mourning over the former president’s passing.

In an attempt to add a sense of legitimacy to its claim, SHOWBIZ TV featured videos and photos, including one that showed Duterte looking down at a casket. A reverse image search revealed that the photo was taken in July 2017, when the president visited a wake of massacre victims in Bulacan.

SHOWBIZ TV also used images that showed Kris Aquino in tears to back up its claim that she cried due to “Duterte’s visit.” But they were screen grabs from an April 2014 episode of talk show Aquino & Abunda Tonight, where the actress apologized to her ex-partner James Yap.

Lastly, the clip showing the wake of the late president Aquino at The Heritage Park in Taguig — which took up over six minutes of SHOWBIZ TV’s seven-minute and 40-second-long video — was from a June 24 livestream on Kris Aquino’s official Facebook (FB) page. Duterte was not in the clip.

The YouTube channel’s spurious video has over 581,000 views. It was reuploaded on FB by the page Showbiz PH Update, the copy of which has now been viewed over a million times and gotten more than 30,000 reactions, 2,100 comments, and 1,400 shares.

Showbiz PH Update was created on March 26, 2020, while SHOWBIZ TV joined YouTube on March 30, 2019.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)