VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Marcos Jr. did NOT admit to being an ‘addict,’ nor accuse Duterte siblings of shabu use

Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s blind item on a presidential hopeful he claimed to be a cocaine user, netizens are sharing a quote card where former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. supposedly admitted to being an “addict” in the past and accused three of Duterte’s children of having been “addicted to shabu.”

A reader requested VERA Files Fact Check to look into the post. It is fake. The statement attributed to Marcos is made up. The social media graphic also wrongly claimed that Duterte named Marcos as the target of his accusations.

The spurious image carried the headline “Duterte-Marcos Word War Erupts” and started circulating starting Nov. 19. VERA Files Fact Check found at least 117 copies of the fake graphic on Facebook collectively garnering at least 1,000 engagements, carrying this concocted quote credited to Marcos:

“Well, we all go through an adventorous (sic) stage in our lives. During my younger years, I was an addict but l have reformed. It took me 3 years to rehabilitate in London. But then, the President may have forgotten that his own 3 children from his first wife, have gone through the same stage. They were also addicted to shabu at one point of their lives.”

Marcos, son of the late president Ferdinand Marcos Sr., was supposedly referring to Duterte’s children from his ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman: Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte, Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio — who is Marcos’ running mate in the 2022 elections.

There are no records or reports from official sources and media organizations quoting the former senator making such a pronouncement.

And on Tuesday, while claiming he did not feel alluded to by Duterte’s statement, Marcos said he had undergone a cocaine test and tested negative.

The fake graphic surfaced after Duterte made innuendos in his Nov. 18 speech toward an unnamed presidential aspirant whom he accused of using cocaine, which is considered a “dangerous drug” under Philippine law. He also said the candidate was a “very weak leader … except for the name.”

In a speech the following day, Duterte called Marcos a “weak leader” and a “spoiled child,” but maintained the anonymity of the cocaine user.

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