VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte wrongly claims Raffy Alunan served in Marcos cabinet

Read this fact check in Filipino

President Rodrigo Duterte was mistaken when he claimed former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III served in the cabinet of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr.


In his keynote address at the Nikkei 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia in Japan, Duterte talked about his administration’s ongoing campaign against illegal drugs.

Straying from his prepared speech, he claimed Alunan, in his capacity as Interior Secretary, was once “called” by the United States’ Drug Enforcement Agency to be “warned” at how the Philippines “‘is being swallowed by drugs.”

Duterte then said:

“He (Alunan) went back to the Philippines, he called for all the mayors and governors and told us that. At (and) that was during Marcos’ time. That would be something like 15, 16 years ago.”

Source: PCOO, Keynote address of President Rodrigo Duterte during the 25th Nikkei conference on the future of Asia, May 31, 2019, watch from 23:39 to 25:01


Alunan was Interior Secretary during the term of former President Fidel Ramos, not Marcos, as Duterte had claimed.

Government documents as well as Alunan’s official biodata show he was cabinet secretary to only two presidents: Ramos, as Interior Secretary from 1992 to 1996; and late President Corazon Aquino, as Tourism Secretary from 1991 to 1992.

Alunan is a Trustee of Manindigan!, a cause-oriented group of entrepreneurs, professionals and academics that protested against the Marcos regime in the 1980’s.

Duterte’s claim that Marcos’ term took place “something like 15, 16 years” back is also wrong.

Marcos was ousted from the presidency in 1986, over 33 years ago.


PCOO, Keynote address of President Rodrigo Duterte during the 25th Nikkei conference on the future of Asia, May 31, 2019

Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, PCSO SPONSORS EDSA PHOTO EXHIBIT 2018, March 1, 2018

Supreme Court E-Library, GR 225973, Nov. 8, 2016 (See DECISION and LEONEN, J. DISSENTING OPINION)

Raffy Alunan III official Facebook account, RAFAEL MORENO ALUNAN III Bio-Data, April 3, 2019

Raffy M. Alunan official Facebook page, About, Retrieved June 4, 2019, Rafael Moreno Alunan III, Raffy Alunan III Biography, Do we have a learning disability?, Feb. 18, 2014, It is high time to take a stand, Aug. 9, 2016, Con Ass: Potential Disaster, Jan. 10, 2018

Official Gazette, The Executive Branch

Official Gazette, Third Republic

(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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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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