FACT CHECK: No, this parody social media post about Paolo Duterte is not genuine news

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Apr 16 2019 05:22 PM

A Facebook post claims the son of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has attempted to refute his ties to a drug syndicate by releasing an X-ray. The post is actually a replica of a parody published two days earlier.

The Facebook post falsely presenting the information as genuine was shared here on April 7, 2019, by a group that presents itself as critical of Duterte.

The post contains a photo of the president’s son Paolo “Pulong” Duterte with an image of a chest X-ray in the background. 

The misleading post has been shared more than 170 times since it was published on a page with more than 19,000 followers.

Below is a screenshot of the post:

Screenshot of Facebook post

The Tagalog language post translates to English as: “JESUS MARY JOSEPH. DUTERTARDS are very much in awe again of Polong because he proved in an X-RAY that there is no dragon tattoo on Polong's back. HOLY! Is the TATTOO in his lungs that he need to have its X-RAY taken?

“DAVAO CITY, Philippines - So he can silence his critics, Pulong released to the media the x-ray of his back. It can be recalled that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV first dared "Pulong" Zimmerman Duterte, the former vice mayor of Davao city, to show his back so he can prove that he has no connections with the drug syndicates. But, after the video of alias “Bikoy” spread, he was forced to appear in front of the media and show the x-ray of his back. 'Wow ha, you invent things ceaselessly. That's Black and white, there is no colored dragon tattoo!' the President's eldest son said.”

“Dutertards” is a derogatory term for supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte. This report by Philippine news site ABS-CBN News published on April 1, 2018, references the term.

“Senator Antonio Trillanes IV” refers to Philippine senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, a staunch critic of the President. 

“'Pulong' Zimmerman Duterte” refers to Paolo, the president’s son.
The post claims Rodrigo Duterte supporters have been convinced that Paolo Duterte is not a member of a drug gang after he released an X-ray of himself in a bid to prove he did not have a tattoo on his back which connected him to a drug gang.

It references an allegation made by a Philippine lawmaker in 2017, who claimed Paolo Duterte had a dragon tattoo on his back, which the lawmaker said proved Duterte was a member of a drug gang. This is an AFP report published on September 7, 2017 about the allegations, which Paolo Duterte denied.

The Facebook account that posted the statement, named “Pepeng Makabayan,” does not identify itself as a parody account. Its name translates to English as “Pepe the Patriotic.”

The “About” section of its Facebook page translates to English as: “Shake the BRAINS of the 16M DUTERTARDS!”

“16million” refers to the votes cast for Rodrigo Duterte in 2016. 

AFP copied the text from the misleading post into Google’s search engine, which led to this Facebook post on a parody page published on April 5, 2019. The parody page, entitled ‘Don’t Be Gullible Christian News’ clearly identifies itself as a “religious parody” page. 

The text in both posts is identical except for the first two sentences in the misleading post.

The photo used in the ‘Don’t Be Gullible Christian News’ parody post, which shows Paolo Duterte and an X-ray, is also identical to the photo used in the misleading one.

Below is a screengrab of the misleading post (l) and the version on the parody page (r)

Screenshot of Facebook posts

Comments on the Pepeng Makabayan post indicate that some Facebook users believed the post was true.

One user’s post translates to English as: “Oh Lord,, He even went to have an x-ray, when it's very easy to lift your shirt, you won't even have to spend a cent.”

Below is a screenshot of the comment:

Screenshot of comment

Another comment states: “Only fools rush in. X-rays doesn’t pick up soft tissues. My golly.”

Below is a screenshot of the comment:

Screenshot of comment