VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte says he never ordered the police to kill anyone, backpedals less than a minute later

Less than a minute was all it took for President Rodrigo Duterte to claim, first, that he never ordered the police to kill anyone, and then to do a u-turn.


In a speech in Quezon City August 2, during the 113th Founding Anniversary of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Duterte spoke again about his administration’s war on drugs.

Twenty-nine minutes and 24 seconds into his 40-minute speech, the president claimed:

Sabi ko (I said), ‘Do not destroy.’ I never said, ‘I will kill you.’ I never said, ‘I will order the police to kill you.’”

Source: Speech of President Rodrigo Duterte, BIR 113th Founding Anniversary, Quezon City, August 2, 2017, watch from 29:34-29:41


Twenty-nine minutes and 58 seconds into the speech, or less than a minute later, Duterte reversed course, and said:

“What I said is that, ‘Do not destroy my city because I will kill you.’ Ako (Me). ‘Do not destroy them with drugs because I will kill you.’” (watch from 29:58-30:09)

He also added, five minutes later:

At tsaka (And), at the first sign of violence, pagka ganun patayin mo (Kill them).” (watch from 35:18-35:24)


Saying he never ordered the police to kill is a strange claim, since killing criminals has been a regular fixture of Duterte’s speeches.

In his first 100 days in office alone, the president had already made a number of notable pronouncements, previously compiled by VERA Files.

In one particularly infamous statement, the president likened himself to Hitler, and drug addicts with Jews who were killed in the Holocaust.

“Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million, three million drug addicts, there are. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” Duterte said.

“At least, if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have, what, you know, my victims, I would like to be, all criminals to finish the problem of my country, and save the next generation from perdition,” he added.

(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.)