VERA FILES FACT CHECK: UN body DID NOT ‘defend’ Duterte’s war on drugs nor ‘slam’ his critics

An Oct. 8 video by YouTube channel Showbiz Fanaticz falsely claimed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) “defended” President Rodrigo Duterte and “slammed” Philippine opposition senators for claiming his war on drugs has resulted in extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

It bore the clickbait title, “EXCLUSIVE: HONTIVEROS at PANGILINAN SINUPALPAL ng United Nation| UN IPINAGTANGGOL si Pres DUTERTE (Hontiveros and Pangilinan shot down by United Nations | UN defends Pres Duterte)!”

This is a falsehood.

In an attempt to cite a legitimate source, the narrator of Showbiz Fanaticz’s spurious clip read from an Oct. 8 Philippine News Agency article. It was about the UNHRC’s resolution a day earlier endorsing support for the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (UN OHCHR)’s grant of technical assistance and capacity-building to the Philippines to improve its human rights situation.

The resolution did not declare that Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs “broke no laws,” as claimed in the video’s content. Neither did the Council “trash” complaints about EJKs supposedly from senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.

In fact, it took note of UN Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet’s report released last June which found that the killings related to the anti-illegal drugs campaign appear to be systemic and widespread, and carried out with “near-impunity.”

The Oct. 7 resolution listed several areas where the UN OHCHR will help the Philippines, such as beefing up investigative and accountability measures, data gathering on alleged police violations, and human rights-based approaches to drug control. (See UN body offers technical aid to Duterte admin to improve PH human rights situation)

The UNHRC also asked Bachelet to give an oral update in its 48th session in 2021 and submit a report during its 51st session in 2022 on the implementation of the resolution.

The false video, which now has over 130,000 views on YouTube, emerged after the Commission on Human Rights, as well as local and international human rights groups, said the UNHRC’s resolution fell short of expectations to launch an independent, international investigation into alleged human rights violations in the context of the war on drugs.

Showbiz Fanaticz’s video was also embedded in an article by the website Pinoy Chismis ( Together, these two posts got over 8,700 interactions on Facebook and could have been shared to 3.4 million people according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

The top three traffic generators to the posts were Facebook (FB) page Rodrigo Durterte News and Pangulong Duterte, and FB group FOREVER DUTERTE SUPPORTERS.

Showbiz Fanaticz joined YouTube in November 2017, while Pinoy Chismis was created in October 2015.

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