VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte flips again, says he has ‘many’ rich friends

Read this fact check in Filipino

President Rodrigo Duterte made another 180-degree turn on Feb. 25 when he claimed to have “a lot” of wealthy friends whom he could turn to for financial help.

STATEMENT

Speaking at the change of command ceremony of the Presidential Security Group (PSG), Duterte said he was more than willing to solicit money to fund additional military drills because such activities give the public a “sense of security” and pride.

Assuring PSG officers that he will ask for funds only from those who are “willing,” he then said:

Marami akong kaibigan na mayayaman (I have many friends who are rich). Marami akong (I have many) classmates na talagang [who have really] made it. Well, one of them is [Transport Secretary Arthur] Tugade. He’s a billionaire even before.”

Source: Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the [PSG] Change of Command Ceremony, Feb. 25, 2020, watch from 5:49 to 6:39

FLIPFLOP

Duterte, in his fourth State of the Nation Address in July 2019, categorically said he had “no wealthy friends.” Nor would he want to have any, he added.

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Dismissing allegations that he ordered the six-month closure and rehabilitation of Boracay Island for the benefit of his cronies, the president said:

Wala akong kaibigang mayaman. Ayaw kong kaibigan ang mayaman because ‘pag mayaman ka, tatabi ka lang sa akin, pati ako napahiran na ng... Kung anu-ano ang hingin mo sa gobyerno.

(I have no rich friends. I don’t want to have friends who are rich because, if you’re rich, you’ll stick close to me and I’ll be tainted… You’ll ask the government for lots of favors.)”

Source: RTVMalacanang, State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019 (Speech), July 22, 2019, watch from 25:08 to 25:33

VERA Files Fact Check flagged Duterte’s claim then as a flip-flop since he has openly talked about some wealthy and well-known “friends” -- such as Tugade, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and his former special aide and now senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go -- in past speeches and interviews throughout his term. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte flipflops on having wealthy friends)


Sources

Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the [PSG] Change of Command Ceremony, Feb. 25, 2020

RTVMalacanang, State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019 (Speech), July 22, 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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