VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Roque DID NOT SAY Duterte is like a supreme being

A fabricated quote card where Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque was alleged to have praised President Rodrigo Duterte, comparing him to a supreme being while trashing the Filipinos’ weak comprehension, has spread online.

The graphic dated Aug. 9 partly reads: “Surveys consistently show that the President is the best communicator in our country. For me, he is like Jesus Christ, Allah and Buddha rolled into one!”

VP Leni supporters Iligan city, one of the FB pages that uploaded the fake quote card, expressed disbelief over the comparision and asked: “Is this true, (Harry)? Sana hindi, dahil kung totoo man, isa kang hangal at lapastangan (Hope not because if it’s true, you are stupid and irreverent).”

Roque dubbed the quote card as “fake news” while a media outfit whose logo is visible in the graphic denied and denounced the post, which reads as follows:

Walang mali sa pananalita ang Pangulo. (There is nothing wrong with the president’s way of speaking) He is a world-class orator, debater and motivational speaker. SADYANG MAHINA LANG COMPREHENSION NG PILIPINO LALO NA SA MGA MAHIHIRAP. Kaya dapat ang mga Head ng LGU’s makinig ng maigi sa Pangulo at tularan nila ang style niya (It just so happens that Filipinos, especially the poor, have a weak comprehension so heads of LGUs [local government units] should listen closely to the President and follow his style), so that they can convey the message of the President to their constituents effectively.”

Roque, in his Aug. 9 press briefing, made no remarks comparing Duterte to a supreme being. But in response to suggestions that the president should be more conscious of how his statements are crafted, he said he finds nothing wrong with how the chief executive talks, adding that Duterte remains to be the “best communicator and the best positive communicator in the country today,” as shown by surveys.

Also, Roque did not say that LGUs should copy Duterte’s way of speaking. What he did say was that LGUs should accept their responsibilities in ensuring an orderly vaccination and not blame the president for the reported crowding around inoculation centers.

This after a reporter asked if the president should be advised to be more careful with his public pronouncements following his remarks that people can’t leave their homes if they’re not vaccinated.

The fake quote card appeared after accusations were tossed around as to who was responsible for the chaos in vaccination centers after thousands of people flocked to inoculation sites around metro Manila a day before a strict lockdown was imposed. Manila Public Information Office head Julius Leonen, said a “fake” report that unvaccinated individuals would be arrested triggered the commotion in vaccination centers.

Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), to which the fabricated quote card was wrongly credited, denounced the post in an Aug. 11 statement on Facebook (FB).

The quote card template used was from a Dec. 7, 2020, graphic by another media organization.

VP Leni supporters Iligan city, which carried the fake quote card which was shared 270 times, was created on Feb. 3, 2020. It has 2,573 followers.

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