VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Report FALSELY claims Pope Francis supports fight vs drug traffickers, ‘unlike Catholic Church in PH’

Website published on Dec. 3 a false story that claims Pope Francis supports the fight against drug traffickers while the Catholic Church in the country does not.

The untrue story bore the headline, “Salungat Sa Simbahang Katoliko Sa Pilipinas, Pope Francis, Suportado Ang Pagsugpo Sa Mga DrÛg Traffickers (Contrary to the Stand of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, Pope Francis supports the fight against drug traffickers).” It then claimed that an old statement by activist priest Robert Reyes contradicts a statement the pope made last Dec. 1 at a conference against drug addiction at the Vatican.

The pope was quoted as saying, “It is the duty and responsibility of governments courageously to undertake this fight against those who deal in death,” referring to drug traffickers, which said contradicts Reyes’ statement in October 2017 when he said drug addiction “is not a crime” and should be considered as an illness instead, whose victims need to be given medical attention.’s comparisons are not parallel to each other. While the pope was referring to drug traffickers in the statement he was quoted saying, Reyes was speaking about drug addicts.

The false story was published two days after the pope made the statement at the conference, which was called “Drugs and Addictions: An obstacle to integral human development.”’s story could have reached over 1.5 million people, with social media traffic to the story largely coming from the pages Angat Pilipino, Filipino Vlog, and DUTERTE MARCOS SUPPORTERS. was created on March 6.

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