VERA FILES FACT CHECK: ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa, Duterte make contradicting claims on drug war surrenderees

Read this fact check in Filipino

Senatorial aspirant Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa recently said there have been 1.3 million drug war surrenderees in the country; President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said 1.6 million.

STATEMENT

Former police and corrections chief Dela Rosa in his opening statement at the CNN Philippines Dec. 2 senatorial forum said:

"Nung ako’y nag (When I became) chief (of the) PNP, nung ako’y nag (when I took the) lead sa (on the) war on drugs, record po ‘yan (it’s on record), we were able to have 1.3 million drug users and drug pushers surrendered (sic) to the folds of the law at karamihan sa kanila nag-bagong buhay (and most of them reformed their lives).

Source: CNN Philippines Senatorial Forum, Dec. 2, 2018, watch from 24:12-24:45

FACT

Dela Rosa’s 1.3 million figure does not match earlier claims by Duterte.

Ranting about the growing drug trade in the country, the president in an Aug. 8 speech said:

“(T)here’s one million six hundred that surrendered… Look at the surrenderees now. They are skinny. They are sick. They do nothing. They are zombies.”

Source: PCOO, Speech during the 117th Police Service Anniversary Celebration, Aug. 8, 2018, watch from 11:26-11:42

Days later, he said:

"The fact that the official count and you saw on TV, surrendering en masse all skinny, thin, malnourished. These are… Well, I would say one million six. One million six of your fellow human beings, Filipinos at that, are reduced to slavery to a drug called shabu.”

Source: PCOO, Speech during the launching of the Go Negosyo’s “Pilipinas Angat Lahat” Program, Aug. 14, 2018, watch from 13:34-14:04

The president in a Nov. 6 speech attributed the 1.6 million figure to Dela Rosa himself, but used it to refer to drug-affected Filipinos in general:

“The numbers of (drug-affected) Filipinos I believe is more than just --- more than one million six hundred ‘yung bilang ni (by the count of) Bato. That was the number given by Bato.”

Source: PCOO, Remarks during the lecture on militarization and drugs, Nov. 6, 2018, watch from 2:29-2:45

Dela Rosa’s 1.3 million is closer to the over 1.26 million figure reported by Philstar.com, CNN Philippines and Manila Bulletin, all citing data as of Oct. 10, 2017 from the Philippine National Police Directorate for Operations.

Duterte has repeatedly revised his figures on Filipino drug addicts. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: How many drug addicts are there in PH? Let Duterte do the counting and VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Without citing hard evidence, Duterte keeps revising the number of Filipino drug addicts)

Sources

CNN Philippines, The Filipino Votes: Senatorial Forum, Dec. 2, 2018

Presidential Communications Operations Office, President Rodrigo Duterte, Speech during the 117th Police Service Anniversary Celebration, Aug. 8, 2018

PCOO, President Rodrigo Duterte, Speech during the launching of the Go Negosyo’s “Pilipinas Angat Lahat” Program, Aug. 14, 2018

PCOO, President Rodrigo Duterte, Remarks during the lecture on militarization and drugs, Nov. 6, 2018

CNN Philippines, Police data: More than 1.26 M drug personalities has surrendered to PNP, Dec. 18, 2017

Philstar.com, 1.37 M drug personalities surrendered nationwide --PNP, Dec. 17, 2017

Manila Bulletin, PNP reports on anti-drugs drive, Dec. 20, 2017

The Daily Manila Shimbun, 1.26 million drug personalities surrendered: PNP, Dec. 18, 2017

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

FOR FURTHER READING

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