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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte seesaws again on calling Marcos a ‘drug addict’

Former president Rodrigo Duterte says he was the first one to say President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is a drug addict.

Rodrigo Duterte 2024-04-12 Flip-flop

On Feb. 17, Duterte said he never called Marcos a drug addict, explaining that he could have been referring to the president’s use of prescription drugs such as antibiotics and pain killers.

In less than two months, former president Rodrigo Duterte went from denying that he described President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as a “drug addict” to claiming he was the first to call the chief executive that.

STATEMENT

In an April 11 press conference in Tagum City, former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict spokesperson Lorraine Badoy asked Duterte if he thinks Marcos is “still in his right mind,” alluding to the president’s stance on Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea and for “ignoring the clamor” for him to take a drug test.

Duterte responded: 

Alam mo ma’am, ako na ang unang nagsabi na drug addict siya. Hindi naman ako nag-iimbento ng istorya. Pero ‘yang mga PDEA [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency] report nila na sinasabi nila na hindi totoo, natural ‘yan ma’am kasi panahon ni Marcos. Anong agency in government can go head-to-head with the president sa bagay na ‘yan? So sinu-suppress ‘yan.”

 

(You know, ma’am, I was the first one to say that he is a drug addict. I wasn’t making up stories. Those PDEA reports that say otherwise, that’s natural because Marcos is in power. What agency in government can go head-to-head with the president on that matter? So, that is being suppressed.)

Source: Sonshine Media Network, FPRRRD kay PBBM: Marami kang ginagawa na hindi tama!, April 12, 2024, watch from 2:06 to 2:47

FACT

This is the complete opposite of Duterte’s statement in February when he said he never called Marcos a “drug addict,” explaining that he could have been referring to the president’s use of prescription drugs, such as antibiotics or painkillers. 

He said:

Wala akong sinabi na gano’n. […] Even if you kill me a thousand times, wala akong sinabi. Make it, taking a drug. Pero kung sabihin mong ‘adik,’ wala akong sinabi na gano’n. Patayin ako ni Marcos n’yan.”

 

(I didn’t say anything like that. […] Even if you kill me a thousand times, I didn’t say that. Make it, taking a drug. But if you say “addict,” I didn’t say anything like that. Marcos would kill me.)

Source: News5Everywhere, LIVE | Press conference ni dating pangulong Rodrigo Duterte #News5 (February 27, 2024), Feb. 27, 2024, watch from 1:00:03 to 1:00:28

Rodrigo Duterte

This was the second time that Duterte called Marcos a “drug addict.” In November 2021, a few months before the campaign for the 2022 national elections, Duterte said a presidential candidate was using cocaine, but he did not mention any name.

(Read VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Rodrigo Duterte calling President Marcos a ‘drug addict’ needs context and VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte flip-flops on calling Marcos a ‘drug addict’)

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Sources

News5Everywhere, LIVE | Press conference ni dating pangulong Rodrigo Duterte #News5 (February 27, 2024), Feb. 27, 2024 

RTVMalacañang, Joint NTF-RTF ELCAC IV-B Meeting in Oriental Mindoro 11/18/2021, Nov. 18, 2021 

(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.)