VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video claiming Duterte cursed Atienza, congressmen over PSG vaccinations MISLEADING

Youtube channel Showbiz Fanaticz, which has a history of publishing disinformation, wrongly claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte cursed at House Deputy Speaker and Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza and other congressmen for commenting on the inoculation of members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) with a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Jan. 5 post bore the headline: “NAKAKAGULAT: Pres DUTERTE, PINAULANAN ng MURA sina LITO ATIENZA ng PAKIELAMAN ang BAKUNA ng PSG (Shocking: Pres. Duterte rained down curses on Lito Atienza, for meddling with PSG’s vaccine)?!!!”

This is misleading. Showbiz Fanaticz’s 17-minute video showed clips from Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) of Duterte’s hour-long Cabinet meeting on Jan. 4. A voice-over reiterated the misleading claim about Atienza in the first minute of the video but nowhere in the footage did Duterte mention his name or any particular lawmaker.

In the footage shown, Duterte did curse while ranting about members of Congress who called for an investigation of PSG personnel who were reported to have injected themselves with an unregistered COVID-19 vaccine.

More, contrary to Showbiz Fanaticz’s claim that Atienza “meddled” with the issue of the PSG’s vaccination, the lawmaker said in a Jan. 5 Facebook (FB) Live video that he has decided “not to waste time on the issue” because he believes “the safety of the president is the safety of the nation.”

Kung minabuti niyang pabakunahan ang lahat ng mga nakapaligid sa kanya (If he preferred to have everyone around him vaccinated), then so be it... I will respect his decision, wherever he got that vaccine,” the House deputy speaker said.

The misleading video’s thumbnail is a composite of an file photo of Atienza, a screengrab of a June 2017 RTVM video about the PSG’s 120th anniversary, and a February 2018 Getty Images photo of Duterte.

Showbiz Fanaticz’s misleading video emerged a day after Duterte warned Congress against summoning PSG members in its inquiry into the unauthorized COVID-19 vaccinations, threatening a “little crisis” if they do so.

On Dec. 30, 2020, members of the Makabayan Bloc sought a House probe on the “VIP vaccination” of some members of the PSG, the Cabinet, and the military. Some senators have also called for an inquiry into the matter, although it remains unclear if they will tackle the unauthorized inoculation during the hearings on the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination program beginning Monday (Jan. 11).

Showbiz Fanaticz’s video has been viewed more than 174,500 times. Its top traffic generator is the FB page Duterte kami - san pedro, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

The video was also embedded in a story by website Kidstva ( and could have reached nearly 229,000 people.

Showbiz Fanaticz was created in November 2017, Kidstva on Nov. 15, 2019.

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


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