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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte walks back on declaring Marcos Jr. a ‘capable’ successor

Two days after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio publicly confirmed her partnership with presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for the 2022 elections, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his dismay over the team-up.

The president said Marcos Jr. is a weak leader, a complete turnaround from his pronouncements three years ago.

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In the August 2018 press briefing, Roque added that should Marcos Jr., the only son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., beat Robredo in his electoral protest for the vice presidency, Duterte “will make true his word” and step down as chief executive. The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the electoral protest for “lack of merit” in February this year. (See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Understanding the PET’s junking of Marcos’ poll protest)

In a Nov. 14 interview with pro-Duterte blogger Byron Cristobal, known as Banat By, Duterte said he “cannot support” Marcos Jr.’s presidential bid, then accused the latter, without evidence, of being a “pro-communist” candidate along with Robredo.

In a speech four days later, Duterte alleged that a presidential aspirant, whom he did not name, was using cocaine, saying:

“…he is a very weak leader ang character niya, except for the name. Pero ang tatay, pero siya, anong ginawa niya (But the father, but him (aspirant), what has he done)? He might win hands down, okay. If that is what the Filipino wants, go ahead. Basta alam ninyo ‘yang droga na ‘yan (As long as you know, those drugs)…”

Source: RTVMalacañang Official Youtube Channel, Inspection of the General Santos Airport Development Projects (Speech) 11/22/2021, Nov. 22, 2021

Of all the presidential aspirants, Duterte particularly described Marcos Jr., who has been topping election-related surveys as of late, as a “weak leader.”

Despite the president’s vague tirades, Marcos Jr.’s camp maintains that “we don’t feel alluded to (the allegations),” adding that the former senator “only [has] the highest respect and recognition” for Duterte.


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Mayor Inday Sara Duterte Official Facebook Page, The people will make me strong…, Nov. 16, 2021

RTVMalacañang Official Youtube Channel, Meeting with the Local Leaders of Oriental Mindoro, Nov. 18, 2021

CNN Philippines, Duterte believes the ‘likes of Escudero, Bongbong Marcos’ will be better successor, Aug. 15, 2018

ABS-CBN News, Duterte prefers Bongbong, Chiz as replacement instead of Leni, Aug. 15, 2018, President prefers the likes of Marcos, Escudero as successor, Aug. 16, 2018

Radio Television Malacañang Official Facebook Page, Press Briefing, Aug. 16, 2018

RTVMalacañang Official Youtube Channel, Go Negosyo: “Pilipinas Angat Lahat” Launch (Speech) 8/14/2018, Aug. 14, 2018

Banat By, EXCLUSIVE: Sagot ni PRRD after filing ni Sen Go for Presidency (FULL INTERVIEW), Nov. 14, 2021

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

RTVMalacañang Official Youtube Channel, Inspection of the General Santos Airport Development Projects (Speech) 11/22/2021, Nov. 22, 2021

GMA News Online, Bongbong camp on Duterte’s cocaine-using presidentiable claim: We don’t feel alluded to, Nov. 19, 2021

CNN Philippines, Marcos camp on Duterte’s cocaine allegations: ‘We don’t feel alluded to’, Nov. 19, 2021, Marcos camp on Duterte blind item: ‘We don’t feel alluded to’, Nov. 20, 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.)