VERA FILES FACT CHECK: FAKE quote card praising Duterte attributed to long-dead Japan PM

A quote card published by a netizen on Facebook (FB) claiming Japan’s “prime minister” Masayoshi Ohira praised President Rodrigo Duterte, is fake.

Ohira passed away from a heart attack in June 1980, 36 years before Duterte was elected chief executive, making it impossible for him to have lauded Duterte as president.

Japan’s current prime minister is Shinzo Abe.

The fictitious quote attributed to the late prime minister, posted April 2, read: “The Filipinos are lucky to have a President like Rodrigo Duterte. He is a prime example of true courage and honesty. May all his supporters pray for his success.” It was placed below a photo of Ohira grabbed from the official website of the Office of the Prime Minister of Japan.

The fake graphic was published after Duterte made the headlines early April for instructing the military and police to “shoot” violators of the community quarantine imposed on Luzon amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A huge spike of reshares on May 5 by netizens on public FB groups, many of which bear the name “Duterte", was detected by social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle. This came after the Duterte administration came under fire following the National Telecommunications Commission’s issuance of a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN that day, which shut down operations of the broadcasting giant due to the expiry of its legislative franchise.

The fake post, which is still circulating online, has received over 1,100 interactions and 6,200 shares. Traffic largely came from public FB groups PROTECT THE PRESIDENT DUTERTE, RAFFY TULFO IN ACTION ADMINS GROUP S MEMBER, and Filipino Tambayan. Several other netizens have also republished the fabricated graphic as their own.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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