Facebook user Bernard Ong urged Malacañang to learn to discern President Rodrigo Duterte’s lies from his jokes, adding that they should not use his jokes to cover up the president’s “outright lies and bad policies.”
In his Facebook post on November 6, Ong showed five different instances when Duterte was lying instead of joking.
Ong’s first example was when Duterte claimed that there are 3 million drug users in the Philippines, until the number gradually increased to 3.7 million, then 4 million.
“Duts said “There are 3m drug users”, then 3.7m, then 4m. He was lying, not joking,” he wrote.
“The latest official figure for drug use in the Philippines is 1.8m. That’s from the Dangerous Drugs Board National Survey conducted Jan 2015 to Feb 2016. That’s roughly 1.8% of the population, well below the international average of 5.2% drug use from UN studies. In fact, the entire “Philippine Drug Epidemic” pretext for War-on-Drugs is simply untrue,” Ong explained.
The second example of Duterte lying was when he said: “Shabu users are no longer viable for rehab, a year or more of shabu use shrinks the brain.”
“There are no peer-reviewed scientific studies that support his claim. The admissions chief at Tahanan (QC Rehab Center) says there is hope for them. Even the rehab center in Davao accepts shabu addicts,” Ong said.
Dr. Alvin Vergara, head of the screening and intake section at the Quezon City Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center, or Tahanan, “Drug dependency is a medical problem, and therefore should be dealt with as one.”
The third instance Duterte lied was when he said: “China has never invaded a piece of my country all these generations.”
The President, was of course, lying, according to Ong. He then showed China invading Mischief Reef in 1995 and Scarborough Shoal in 2012.
“China invaded Mischief Reef in 1995. The reef is part of the submerged continental shelf of the Philippines as affirmed by the UN Arbitral Tribunal’s Final Award of July 12, 2016,” Ong said.
“China invaded Scarborough Shoal in 2012. Scarborough is defined as Philippine Territory under R.A. 9522 (Amended Definitions of the Archipelagic Baseline of the Philippines),” he added.
Ong’s fourth example of Duterte lying was when the President said: “The Arbitral award gives us the right; China has the historical right.”
“All ancient maps of Chinese dynasties show Hainan Island as southernmost territory of China. No ancient Chinese map shows Scarborough or Spratlys as Chinese territory. Ancient maps of the Philippines show that Scarborough Shoal has been Philippine territory since 1636, and Spratlys part of the Philippines since at least 1690,” Ong explained.
Ong also took note of the UN Tribunal’s decision over the case filed by the Philippines against China over the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea issue.
“UN Tribunal said: “The Tribunal sees no evidence that, prior to the Convention, China ever established a historic right to the exclusive use of the living and nonliving resources of the waters of the South China Sea,”” Ong said.
Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio Carpio also corrected Duterte’s wrong statements about China’s non-invasion of the Philippines.
The fifth lie from the President would be his remark on October 6, when he said that the Philippines will not beg for foreign aid so as not to compromise the dignity of the Filipino people.
“I do not expect the human rights (advocates), I do not expect (US President Barack) Obama, I do not expect the EU to understand me. Do not understand me and if you think it’s high time for you guys to withdraw your assistance, go ahead. We will not be for it,” Duterte said in his speech in front of the soldiers at Camp Rafael Rodriguez in Butuan City.
But Ong pointed out how barely two weeks later, Duterte uttered this at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, with the Chinese Vice Premier in the audience: “…In this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States… I have separated from them. So I will be dependent on you for all time.”
“Declaring dependence on the very country that recently seized Philippine territory & EEZ. So much for independence & dignity,” Ong wrote of Duterte’s relationship with China.
According to Ong, he could “go on and on” with more examples of Duterte’s lies, not jokes, but he stopped with the examples above, adding that those are enough to establish that
jokes and lies are two different things.
“Jokes and lies are different things. Jokes bring temporary entertainment. Lies can be disastrous if these are the basis of national policy. Malacañang is wrong to use jokes as excuses for outright lies & bad policies,” he said.
“Discern facts from jokes and lies. The last two often get mixed up, especially when the joker is also a liar,” Ong concluded his post.
Ong’s post came after the Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told the media to discern when Duterte is joking and when he is serious with his remarks.
“The President gave two pieces of advice during the election campaign, which we find relevant to this day,” Andanar said.
“1. Discern joke from truth, 2. Members of media should undergo a briefing from Davao-based media to learn how to differentiate when the President is making fun of the issue at hand and when he is seriously stating a fact. We hope those tips can be of help,” he added.
Manila Bulletin took note that even Davao-based media reported Duterte’s remarks about talking to God while he was returning to the Philippines from Japan. The President later said that the story was just a joke.