VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Online post MISLEADS with previously published story of Vietnam PM praising Duterte

Website misleadingly published May 12 a two-week-old story and skewed in its headline the words of praise Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc extended to President Rodrigo Duterte during a bilateral meeting in April.

The original report, published April 27 by the Manila Bulletin, is of Nguyen commending Duterte for his handling of the West Philippine Sea dispute with China during the 32nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. changed the headline from “Vietnam praises PH in handling of sea row’” to “DUTERTE LEADERSHIP. Vietnam Gov’t nais na matutunan ang Diplomatic Skills ni President Duterte (Duterte Leadership. Vietnam Gov’t wants to learn President Duterte’s Diplomatic Skills).”

The story, which could have reached more than 149,000 people, was published amid reports of China installing missiles in the disputed waters. On May 8, Vietnam called on China to cease its activities and withdraw military equipment in the West Philippine Sea. Duterte, on the other hand, has been criticized for not taking a more aggressive stance against China’s militarization of the WPS. was created in Nov. 2017, and traffic to this misleading story from social media was largely generated by Facebook group Team Duterte for Federalism.

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