VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte flipflops on having wealthy friends

In his fourth State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte contradicted his past pronouncements when he said he has no wealthy friends while dismissing allegations that he ordered the six-month closure and rehabilitation of Boracay Island for their benefit.

Throughout his term, Duterte has publicly talked about his friendship with a number of wealthy personalities.

Here are some of the president’s rich friends.


Presidential Communications Operations Office, 4th State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, July 22, 2019

Commission on Elections, Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (2016 elections), Rodrigo Duterte

RTVMalacanang, Bureau of Internal Revenue - Large Taxpayer Service Tax Campaign Kick-off (Speech), Feb. 6, 2017

Social Security System, Carlos G. Dominguez III, Secretary, Department of Finance, Villar, Cusi, still richest Cabinet members in 2018, June 10, 2019, Most of Cabinet members richer in 2018, June 11, 2019

GMA News Online, Billionaires Villar, Cusi remain richest Cabinet members in 2018, June 11, 2019

Tourism Promotions Board, Atty. Arthur P. Tugade, Secretary, Department of Transportation, Bong Go intervenes in P15.5-B project to acquire PH warships, Jan. 16, 2018

RTVMalacanang, Press Conference 1/16/2018

Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, P2.4-B pre-campaign ads: Bong Go, Marcos, Roxas, Roque top spenders, Feb. 13, 2019

Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy, Give Us This Day Episode May 2, 2016

Presidential Communications Operations Office, Office of the President (OP) Christmas Party, Dec. 20, 2016

Forbes, The Richest People in the World - Philippines, March 5, 2019

(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.)


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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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