VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte, Locsin repeat claim Marawi siege caused by anti-drug ops

Illegal drugs was not the official cause of the war that devastated Marawi City in 2017, but President Rodrigo Duterte and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin, Jr. claimed this on the international stage, within days of each other.

In an Oct. 3 (Oct. 4 Manila time) forum during his state visit in Russia, Duterte repeated his false claim that the five-month-long siege in Marawi between government forces and ISIS-affiliated Maute group was provoked by the service of a warrant of arrest for drug-related charges on Abu Sayyaf Group leader Isnilon Hapilon. Duterte has made the same false claim at least twice before. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte revises Marawi story, contradicts martial law justification)

Just five days prior on Sept. 28 (Sept. 29 Manila time), Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddyboy Locsin, Jr. echoed the same claim during his speech at the 74th United Nations General Assembly.

According to the report to justify the president’s issuance of Proclamation 216, martial law in the entire Mindanao was declared due to “rebellion,” and not the illegal drug trade. The Constitution allows the president to place the country or any part of it under martial law only in cases of invasion or rebellion, and when public safety requires.

The implementation of martial law has been extended thrice and will lapse by the end of 2019 unless another request for extension is filed in Congress.


VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte, Locsin repeat false claim Marawi siege caused by anti-drug ops from VERA Files on Vimeo.



RT, Putin, Ilham Aliyev, Abdullah II, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Rodrigo Duterte attend Valdai discussion, Oct. 3, 2019

United Nations, Philippines – Minister for Foreign Affairs Addresses General Debate, 74th Session, September 28, 2019

Official Gazette, Proclamation 216

Official Gazette, 1987 Philippine Constitution

ABS-CBN News, ‘DEAD OR ALIVE’: Duterte offers P10M to ‘neutralize’ Hapilon, P5M for Maute Brothers, June 05, 2017

CNN Philippines, AFP Chief: Duterte offers P10M bounty for Isnilon Hapilon, June 05, 2017, AFP: Hapilon, Maute bounties for informants, not for soldiers, October 17, 2017

Supreme Court of the Philippines, G.R. No. 231658, July 04, 2017

RTVMalacañang, 31st Cabinet Meeting (Speech) 11/06/2018

RTVMalacañang, State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019 (Speech) 7/22/2019

Presidential Communications Operations Office, The President’s Report to the People 2016-2018



(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.)