New York Times Duterte story: The fakest story of all


AS an adult in the news business, the Manila Times as a matter of policy does not dignify a piece of fake news or fake story, by commenting on it as if it should be seriously considered by our readers and the Filipino nation.

But there are times when we make an exception because the fake story is deceiving too many; and it has the potential to shape international perception of our country and our people in a highly negative way.

This is the situation we face with the unsubstantiated story authored by Mr. Richard C. Paddock. which the New York Times published in the World section of its edition of March 21, 2017.

The story is grandly titled “Becoming Duterte: The Making of a Philippine Strongman.” It is illustrated with full-color photos of various incidents in Duterte’s life.

It relates multiple stories about Duterte, and summarizes many of his outrageous statements and claims. It purports to quote some of DU30’s relatives and his acquaintances who agreed to be interviewed.

It levels at Duterte the charge that he sees himself as a killer-savior of the Philippines. Killing for him is the solution to key problems of the country.

Paddock writes of various killings in the country, some of which he says involved Duterte at the trigger. Yet whenever he has to substantiate an allegation he retreats by claiming that it is hard to prove. He cannot cite specific cases.

Typical is how he cites a sadistic story where Duterte allegedly throws a criminal suspect out of a helicopter, Paddock did not even supply his name.

Overall, it is hard not to agree with the charge of Duterte’s spokesman and press secretary Ernesto Fabella that the NYT story is just a clever hack job.

Mr. Paddock is unbelievably lazy as a journalist. He will not validate any of his allegations with serious fact-checking. No one corroborates his grisly tales.

For instance, he claims that in nine months. President Duterte has exceeded the number of killings during the 20-year rule of President Ferdinand Marcos — by claiming that there are now over 7,000 killings under Duterte, while there were 3,600 under Marcos.

The numbers are wrong with both Presidents. Both statistics are false and have not been validated by fact-checking.

No serious work of journalism has made the claim that 3,600 were killed under Marcos. It was Amnesty International which first made the claim. But when challenged, AI admitted that it could not validate its figures.

The problem is the same with the contemporary figures regarding killings under Duterte. Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao has exposed the 7,000 figure as a concoction of a Philippine website, rappler.com, whose numbers were used by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the United Nations and Western governments to criticize Duterte and make him call off his drug war.

This is not a defense of President Duterte and his war on drugs (which the Manila Times has squarely criticized on several occasions). This is rather a call for better and fact-checked journalism.

It would have been different if the paddock story was published as an op-ed article. But NYT ran it as a news story and analysis in its world section.

We criticize the New York Times in its handling of the Paddock story, because by reason of its prestige and influence, we did not expect to see it purveying a false story. We expected it to be more factual and reliable, by demanding fact-checking from its reporters or contributors.

The net result of the Paddock story is that it contributes no new facts about President Duterte, other than some hitherto unknown personal family anecdotes. It has no facts to report.

Far truer, is that NYT and Mr. Paddock have added to the growing urban legend of Duterte and made it global.

According to the Oxford dictionaries and other respected dictionaries, an urban legend is “a humorous or horrific story or piece of information circulated as though true, especially one purporting to involve someone vaguely related or known to the teller.”

Fake news, by definition, resembles an urban legend. According to Politifact,

“Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports.”

That unfortunately is what Paddock’s story on Duterte amounts to.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Juan Makisig on

    We should not woder on how this journalist has ended up on writing this kind of stories maybe just to cover up more horrible stories that his Government or his Country has committed from his own citizen as well as mingling with the internal affair of other Nation. Remember this details below and address it before you criticize our President.

    1. US invade Iraq for what??? Weapons of Mass Destruction – reality is to create war for the sales of your lethal arms which is happening now.
    2. US invade Afghanistan for what??? Because of Taliban which you portrayed them as bad wherein they want to govern their land as per their religious belief..You forgot that your Government once used them against Russia during Cold War
    3.The killing of black minorities in your Country – No explanation at all and you want to divert the attention of the world by bringing up stories on our President.
    4. The frequent shooting from school to other public places- Your Government should focus on this matter.
    5. Your Government should not act as Universal Police – They do not have the right to take part in creating proper solution to each every nations problem.
    6. How about invading privacy of your citizen or even other citcitizen by your highly sophisticated equioment especially NSA.

    I can throw a lot of issues from your rotten system of leaders and government but I will not instead I will use my energy for the protection and betterment of my country against this Aggressive Nation like US.

  2. Melchor Escobia on

    Survey says, around 84% of filipinos trust PDU30, that’s roughly 87M. 90% of filipinos now believed their lives will get better, that’s roughly 95M. 82% in metro manila believed they are safer now due to war on drugs. The numbers speak for itself. Now, who’s counting?

  3. Melchor Escobia on

    3 or 4 million addicts is not a crisis? Multiply that with a conservative 3 for a filipino family. That’s 9 or 12 million directly affected filipinos. In this country we value family. In marriage, both family clans are married as well. Imagine the effect of one family member into illegal drugs. Add to it the viictims of crimes that that these lost minded souls could commit and its effect to society in particular and govt in general. All filipinos will be affected in some way or the other. Still not a crisis uh? Try living in Mexico if you want to know what illegal drug crises mean. If you are stubbornly yellowish, you need to see a doctor. You have an identity crisis problem.

  4. Thank you Manila times for standing up against bullies American. I hope other mainstream media
    will follow. I am not sure about inquirier.

  5. Duterte is the number one creator and spreader of fake news. He keeps on insisting that there is a drug crisis and that narcopolitics will soon takeover the government when he himself said that only 3 million Filipinos are engaged in using and selling drugs. 3 million is only 3 percent of the population of the Philippines. How on earth is that a crisis? Duterte continues to lie to sow fear. The more he sows fear and claim that he’s the only one who can solve the problem, the more he gets popular with the gullible majority.

    • Drugs already flourished long time ago in our country but our previous administrations did not pay to this problem. It’s a billion industry and our government officials are so corrupt and can be easily bribe by the drug lords. That’s why it grows as the major problem in our country now

    • JESS LOPEZ: How many percent of the PHL population should it be before you can call the drug problem a “crisis”? For me, one drug user or pusher is one drug user or pusher too many.

  6. Just Wandering if this Paddocks or Padlocks whatever is a paid journalist by the Movement to ouster an elected President. Yellow Submariners… What have you to say.


    Yonkers, New York
    24 March 2017

    I can understand why The Manila Times is bristling with anger over that Richard C. Paddock “story” in The New York Times of March 21 2017: It puts Little Tyrant Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, and the country he rules, in a very bad light.

    If Mr. Paddock makes those assertions without backing them up with FACTS, I would suggest that The Manila Times take the effort and the trouble to controvert those assertions with FACTS.

    For starters, it should factually deny that President Duterte has imposed a REIGN OF TERROR on the Filipino people starting June 30, 2016 with his warrantless genocidal extrajudicial mass-slaughter of those invvokved one way or the other in his speciously justified Drug War.

    If it denies that a reported at least 7,000 hapless victims have been slaughtered by PNP chief General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and his blood-thirsty policemen so far in that lawless Drug War, I suggest that The Manila Times come out with the correct or accurate NUMBER of those killed–for it cannot deny that thousands have been slaughtered.

    Finally, The Manila Times ought to comment on whether or not the United Nations and its human rights agencies, the European Union, the European Parliament, the International Criminal Court, and others, are all wrong to have condemned Little Tyrant Rodrigo Duterte’s barbaric Drug War–and, if possible, on Time magazine’s recent lament “THAT NIGHT HAS FALLEN ON THE PHILIPPINES.”

    All of the foregoing should clear the air–WITH FACTS to be furnished by The Manila Times to controvert allegedly the FACT-STARVED “story” of Richad C. Paddock.


    • Ernest John Kennedy on

      Mr Patalinjug. Are you so dumb to even consider that a nationwide state sponsored killings is possible? That a president can clandestinely issue a directive to the entire 160,000 strong PNP without anyone leaking it? I’m sure there’s a good % in that number that dislike DU30 just as much as you do who would squeal on him, if there was ever such a directive.

      Let me correct your stupidity, Mr Patalinjug. BTW, you’re not supposed to be entitled to it. Obviously you’re ignorant as f*ck as a newly squeezed out mule.

      Our PNP are so corrupt the situation is comparable to Mexico or Colombia’s police force ‘crisis’. FACT. And this was made worse by PNoy (your founding turd) and the LP pigs (your relatives). FACT. His administration was the golden age of drugs; the term narcopolitics (once unheard of in the history of this country) has never been so applicable. FACT.

      The police force has always had its bad apples. But the situation the PNoy leadership created empowered the bad apples to multiply exponentially. So much so that the disease almost infected the entire basket; good ones got forced to embrace the ‘norm’. They were basically presented with three options: join, turn a blind eye, quit. The result: PDEA became the drug dealers, AKG became the kidnappers, entire staffing of police precincts leading on extortion, carnapping and all sorts of illegal activities. Police morale was at its lowest. Dignity was out the window.

      Three months leading to May 2016 elections: It was becoming clearer that DU30 was going to be the Philippines’ 16th president. His war cry: decimate the drug economy. The drug world realizes this and goes into panic. The ‘burn bag’ protocol was then initiated. Finding of drug personality cadavers in our streets has become more frequent (yes, ‘EJK’ existed prior to DU30). And the rest is history.

      So what does this mean, Mr Patalinjug. This means your whole so-called EJK is the drug world exercising its burn bag protocol for its personalities to evade implication. And yes, these personalities include the police force, law makers, and other ‘important’ people. That should give you the logic behind this whole phenomenon.

      That should also explain to you why it’s mostly the small players that fall victim to your EJK. Obviously when you do the cleaning, you start from the bottom.

      Meanwhile, DU30 doesn’t give a f*ck as the drug world consumes itself. Why? Because they’re actually doing him a favor. He would certainly want to line them all up against a wall himself with BB guns on both his hands then empties all his clips on them SOBs but that’s apparently no longer necessary.

      There’s a biproduct to the sudden dip in the drug economy however and it’s equally as bad. Cops who were used to the regular flow of considerable income from their drug moonlighting have trouble adjusting to the sudden cut. So how do they address this? Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to, TOKNAP.

      Please don’t tell me TOKNAP is state sponsored as well.

      I hope this gives you some form of clarity, Mr Patalinjug and to all the yellow turd peers of yours.

      As to DU30’s war on drugs, the objective is noble but the method is very flawed. The approach should be multipronged:

      1. Focus on PNP cleansing; how can you enforce the law if the enorcers are the law breakers?

      2. Unrelenting pursuit against big time drug lords. Don’t waste time and resources with the bottom feeders. They’ll fizzle dry when the source is killed.

      Forget about rehab. Addiction is just a biproduct to the drug economy. And successful rehabilitation mainly depend on a person’s willingness to be rehabilitated.

      3. Improve the economy. I trust everyone knows what an improved economy brings. People will naturally choose gaining thru legitimate means if only options are readily available to them.

      4. Lastly, for DU30, shut your mouth and flush your ego down the toilet.

      So there. My bottomline to this convoluted post is your state-sponsored EJK is a myth.

    • MARIANO PANTALINJUG: All you have been reading are newspapers from the US which gets their news from local (PHL) news agencies which are controlled by local oligarchs and the Catholic church. And then there are also the “journalists” who are given envelops by monied politicians who have their own selfish agenda. FYI, the UN Secretary-General Antnio Guterrez has spoken in favor of the Prez DU30 and his campaign against the drug trade. If that is not enough for you, you can read about how many foreign business establishments are willing to set up their businesses here in the PHL. Better yet, why don’t you come visit the PHL, where I assume you come from, and see for yourself what is really going on here. BTW, the European Union, the European Parliament, and the International Criminal Court have done nothing but talk and criticize, with action to back them up. As for TIME Magazine, what can I say, they have always been so liberal and politically correct, it makes me sick. As for the PNP chief and his cops, you should really take a look at your own backyard before you speak; take a look at Chicago, LA, Miami, Smalltown, USA, and even at your own NYC. There are more trigger happy cops there than there are here.

  8. Roy Guerrero on

    1). This NYT writer, RICHARD C. PADDOCK is surely paid by LOIDA NICOLAS-LEWIS. Ms. Lewis until now cannot accept that her bet, Mar Roxas lost to DU30 in the last presidential election. She may have cough up a lot of money, which she cannot recover for as long as DU30 sits in Malacang. LUGI, ano nga Ms. Lewis?

    Paging Mr. Trump, please shut the mouth of this NYT not to meddle on the internal affairs of the Philippines.

    2). Since the mining business of Benjamin Philip Romualdez, husband to PDI CEO, Sandy Prieto- Romualdez, was recently closed for destroying the environment and aside from that, PDI is always allied with the Yellows – of course it will use the paper to get back at DU30..

    The concerted efforts of Ms. Lewis, the oligarchs and the yellow minions to bring down DU30 are very obvious. NALULUGI na ba or just cannot accept that your long hold to power have ended. Enough of your lies, deception and greed; you do not own the Philippines! The majority of ordinary Filipinos has been awakened. Although DU30 is not yet 1 year in office, we can now feel that Change is really happening.

  9. New York Times reminds me of New York Inquirer of Mr. Kane. Using Yellow journalism to sensationalize news.

  10. Dominico Villanueva on

    Let the Philippine Association of Journalist (if there is any) award Mr. Richard C. Paddock “the King of Fake News” and “Most Outstanding Lazy Journalist”….This article from Manila Times must be published in New York Times.

  11. So if the numbers are not exact then it is all a lie? Once again the man is considered innocent until… yeah until what, what more is needed? The man is telling everybody what he wants and what he does. It is substantiated by the happenings in the country: he gets elected and many die. He says pause and it is paused. Is he doing anything to prevent the killings? No! He announces many more. This article is trying to hitch a ride on the ‘fake news’ tale of Trump. It is not fake news – it is a more – to the point – story than ever comes from this website.

    But then another viewpoint: you say it are not those amounts. That means you should know the exact amounts of Marcos and Duterte. Do you? No! So you are spreading fake news according to your own standards. So stop the nonsense spreading by this kind of mindless articles.

    • This Manila Times article aimed to unmask the kind of fake news published in the New York Times and written by Richard Paddock is appropriate and timely as doing nothing in the face of outrageous abuse of journalistic misinformation is tantamount to surrendering our ability and courage to clear the information channels of derogatory remarks used by people with questionable stand in the propagation of truth to show to the whole world that our President Digong whose ability to lead our country to redeem us from the long time of neglect and criminal abuse by traditional politicians who prefer to line their pockets resulting from graft and corruption and the widespread proliferation of illegal drugs.

    • you said, ‘he gets elected and manly die’. are you sure?? are there not killings/murders before?? (am not saying aquino’s term only) as the statistics of the pnp reveal the police killings in their operation is something like 2,000+ (am not sure tho of the exact number) and the rest of about 4,600+ includes murders, death by accidents, etc. if you doubt the police statistics where would you get your data, from rappler? even inquirer does not subscribe to the 7,000 kills due to du30 drug war

    • And they have the balls to say that. While their writers as well authored a lot of so-called “fake news” themselves by not corroborating all information gained! So tell us, who is bias?????

    • Argumentum ad ignorantiam.
      This fallacy asserts that a proposition is true because it has not been proven to be false. In this case there is actually no factual evidence that relates to the number of killings directly attributed to the Duterte Administration. The number can not be considered true (or even false) because there is no FACTUAL evidence to prove the claim which this article has pointed out leading to the conclusion that Paddock’s article is gibberish. Not knowing the exact figure actually strengthens the claim of this article against Paddock’s work.

      Manila Times has a responsibility and she did it even if it is against a media giant like NYT.

  12. let us declare RICHARD C. PADDOCK as persona non grata–unless he supplies the references of his claims!!!

  13. this is an example paid journalism, false facts feed to the writer/reporter who do nothing to verify if there’s truth to the information given to him/her. As for the New York Times, if its cobtroversial, its good news and will sell even its seem the news “doesn’t have to be true but only needs to look like that”. Press Trump is Correct all along that NYT is garbage news broadsheet!!!

    • Do you honestly believe Trump? You just assumed that because it fits your biases against the oppositions. Right?

  14. Root cause is VP Leni’s unverified Video msg destructing her own Filipino people and family..

    Nakakahiya ng masyado and she still has a face to defend herself that what she had revealed is true..

    Me problema pamilya mo, as our mother to the Filipino people and as ur family, and yet you tell the whole about it, without first consulting the elderlies..

    Leni listened to the wrong people or wrong advise paano mamumuno ang 1 gaya mo mam..

    You’re disgusting and disappointment to our Nation and your Filipino family..

  15. MABUTI pa ang gobyerno ngayon may malaking accomplishment na nakikita, kayong mga dilawan ilang dekada hinawakan ang gobyerno ano ang accomplishment? pinalala ang: KRIMINLIDAD, DROGA, KORAPSYON, BATA2 system, SUGAL atbp., at gusto pa ngayon agawin ang kasalukuyang gobyerno, dahil nasagassaan ang kanilang mga negosyo na nabanggit sa taas, mahiya naman kayo sa taong bayan at sa bansang Pilipinas, kapal nman ng mga mukha nyo….,,

  16. He also forgot to mention that NPA has killed more than 40,000 innocent people and military who are just doing their jobs protecting the country.

  17. Scanned your article. Short of substance called for by the title. Bit of melodramatic presentation.

  18. if the impeachment case for Leny Robredo is the only way to convey a big statement to the international forum that cries “THIS IS THE PRIZE FOR BEING A FAKE NEWS”…then so be it!!

    • Rady Bonachita on

      With due respect to her office, she shd have verified the report feed to her not swallowing hook, line and sinker. She said the move to impeach her is divisive. What does she think about her video provided to the UN? It is not only divisive but shaming the whole nation to the world. Think madam VP.

  19. It is very disheartening that the Philippines’ reputation has to suffer internationally once again because of articles like the New York Times piece written by a distant observer, who I doubt keeps track of the true story on the ground in the Philippines, and the endless drama and destabilizing moves spun by the opposition party that has left the citizenry exhausted, outraged and disgusted. Given the recent ramped up successive moves by some members of the opposition Liberal Party to undermine the leadership of the Philippine president, one could be forgiven for thinking that could it be possible that the prestigious New York Times (NYT) has some connection to them. After all, why would the NYT devote so many articles attacking the reputation of the leader of a small country on the other side of the world? It couldn’t be out of concern for the welfare of its people since the president enjoys widespread popularity, except maybe from the oligarchy, drug lords, corrupt officials and other vested interests whose businesses have now been diminished. Only very recently the Philippines has suffered another international set-back from its very own Vice President who should be promoting the Philippines, but because she belongs to the opposition party, has instead presented a video to the United which, though widely criticized as full of unsubstantiated/unverified information, will for sure have very detrimental impact to the Philippines. The NYT may be a big named newspaper in the U.S., but to most Filipinos who crave a nation that is drug free and peaceful, free of corruption, working toward progressive agenda that benefit the common person, the article is an irrelevant piece of tabloid reporting.

    • That is your opinion ,and you are one of the 16 million who has a mental problem, out of 38 million who did not vote for this Mayor.If you try to look the articles, it is almost true, you just keep your eyes blinded because of hatred, How can you make a nation a drug free, if the focus is on the user and pusher? Cut the supply from really a Big Drug Lord, if this man, duterte, want to eraducate it fully, eh wala, nauuna ang bibg kaysa sa utak na mag isip…Lantaran na ang drug lord na si PETER LIM ay di niya makasuhan. Bakit? may alam kasi si Peter Lim sa kanya at drug protector siya ni Peter LIm? sa Davao..Tsk,tsk,tsk,,tama nga si marcos,, madaling mauto ang pilipino sa kitid ng utak,,panay tuyo at adobong tuyo ang kinakain kasi.

    • I respect your opinion, but do you honestly believe the “destabilization” spins of the government against the opposition? Why are you trying to silent the other side if we are a democratic nation? We have a democratic government although not perfect but it is what we have and it is enough. And why do you attack the VP if the President himself done so many bad things that destroy our image and the last time is the Duterte’s supporters don’t cry when Duterte did something that can ruin our image but when the VP questions although I don’t know if it is verified, you cry that it can ruin the image. How double standard are you. You can call them tabloid because it doesn’t fit your agenda. Oh and did you read the article? It is full of quotes from many person, including one of his family and you call them fake. Please stop being a blind in this situation.