VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Is President Duterte a Foreign Service graduate?

IN his state visit to China, President Rodrigo Duterte said he has “the proper perspective to judge” whether a foreign policy is good or not for the country. He credits this to his profession and education.


Asked in a press conference in Beijing on Oct. 19 on how he would enhance the Philippine-China relations, Duterte said the Philippines’ alliance with the West was due to a war propaganda most Filipinos grew up with.   

Duterte added:

Now, that I am President, by the grace of God, I read a lot. I’m a lawyer and I study geopolitics and all. And also I am a graduate of the Foreign Service. So I get to know how to balance this contending… At this age, I have now the proper perspective to judge whether the foreign policy is good for us or not. 

Source:Press Conference with the Foreign Correspondents (Watch from 9:33 to 10:04)

This is not the first time Duterte boasted of his Foreign Service education.

In a press conference in Davao City on Aug. 21, Duterte lambasted the United Nations (UN) after its high-ranking officials, including Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, expressed concern over the rising number of killings in the wake of his war against illegal drugs.

Duterte called the UN special rapporteurs “stupid experts” and went on saying:

Baka akala nito, I took AB Foreign Service. Check it out in Lyceum. Political Science, then I add another one because I had an accident sa motocross accident, one of the many, so na late ako ng isang semester. So my extra time, I took Foreign Service — Consular practice and procedure, geopolitics, world trade, international trade, baka akala ninyo.

Source: Press Conference at DPWH Panacan Depot, Davao City (Watch from 02:04:21 to 02:05:23)


Records obtained by VERA Files showed Duterte is not listed as an AB Foreign Service graduate.

A copy of Lyceum University’s 1968 commencement exercises showed Duterte was among its Bachelor of Arts graduates. The same document had a roster of Bachelor of Science of Foreign Service (BSFS) graduates. Duterte’s name is not on the list.

A VERA Files source who graduated the same time Duterte did, and happened to have a combined degree in BSFS and AB in Political Science, said he cannot recall Duterte being in the BSFS graduates.

The source said his graduation book listed Duterte under AB Political Science but not under BSFS graduates.

“Interestingly, he did not even have the customary graduation toga photo in the 1968 Lyceum graduation book but (is) listed under Iba pang nagtapos,’ which means he did not join the graduation rites,” he added.

While it is possible for Duterte to obtain double degrees during their time, the source said Lyceum graduation records for 1968 such as the graduation book and the program for the 16th Commencement Exercises only listed Duterte under AB graduates.

Duterte finished his law degree in 1972 at San Beda College, four years after he graduated in Lyceum in 1968.