VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte revises earlier claim about foreign service degree

President Rodrigo Duterte revised an earlier claim that he “took AB Foreign Service,” and in a recent speech said he “studied” foreign service and diplomatic practice and procedure “on the sides (sic)” while taking up his university major in Political Science.


On April 29, in a speech at the Davao International Airport, Duterte said:

Nakapag-aral ako ng foreign service, ayaw naman maniwala ng iba. AB lang daw. Major ko ang… (I studied foreign service, but others don’t believe it. It’s just Bachelor of Arts, they say. My major was…) well, of course Political Science. Then on the sides (sic), I was taking diplomatic practice and procedure.”

Source: Presidential Communications Operations Office, Statement and Press Conference of President Rodrigo Duterte, Davao International Airport, April 29, 2018, watch from 1:04:02-1:04:21


Duterte had earlier claimed he is a foreign service graduate. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Is President Duterte a Foreign Service graduate?)

In an Oct. 19, 2016 press conference in Beijing, he said:

“And also I am a graduate of the Foreign Service. So I get to know how to balance this contending… At this age, I have now the proper perspective to judge whether the foreign policy is good for us or not.

Source: Radio Television Malacanang, Press Conference, Beijing, China, Oct. 19, 2016, watch from 9:33-10:04

And in an Aug. 21, 2016 press conference in Davao City, he said:

“I took AB Foreign Service. Check it out in Lyceum.”

Source: RTVM,
Press Conference, Davao City, Aug. 21, 2016, watch from 02:04:21-02:05:23

Records obtained by VERA Files do not bear the claim out; Lyceum University’s 1968 commencement exercises lists Duterte among its Bachelor of Arts graduates.

His name does not appear on the list of Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service graduates. (Watch BUHAY KA PA BA? Portrait of a president as a source of disinformation)


Presidential Communications Operations Office, Statement and Press Conference of President Rodrigo Duterte, April 29, 2018

Radio Television Malacanang, Press Conference in Beijing, China, Oct. 19, 2016

RTVM, Press Conference, Davao City, Aug. 21, 2016

(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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