U.S. President Donald Trump didn’t say he couldn't handle his people. He also didn’t say he needed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to help him solve the COVID-19 crisis.
The pro-Duterte Facebook page The 16th President of The Philippines manipulated an April 19 Facebook post of GMA News on the phone call Duterte got from Trump that day to make it look that way.
The genuine post, published at 10:16 p.m., reads:
JUST IN: President Duterte receives call from US President Trump to discuss bilateral cooperation against COVID-19, according to Sen. Bong Go (Photos from Sen. Bong Go) | via Ian Cruz and Joseph Morong /GMA News
Read more about it: bit.ly/2VnWzat
The network uploaded two photos of Duterte on the phone, which it got from Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go’s Facebook page.
The 16th President of The Philippines did the following when it published its post about the phone call 12 minutes after GMA News did.
One, the Facebook page inserted a photo of Trump.
Two, it fabricated a quote in which the American president was supposed to have said:
I think I can't handle my people. I need help (sic) the President of the Philippines to solve (sic) Coronavirus (sic)
Three, it modified the text of GMA News’ post, removing the reference to journalist Joseph Morong and changing the URL to lead to the network’s page containing updates about COVID-19 instead to the story about the phone call.
It also replaced Duterte’s photo.
A search on Google and American news media sites showed Trump never made that quote. He also never tweeted such as statement.
In fact, little is known of Trump and Duterte's phone conversation beyond what presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in his April 20 briefing:
It was cordial and it was about collaboration nga, bilateral collaboration on COVID-19.
The photo used by The 16th President of The Philippines was taken by Agence France Presse’s Noel Celis at Duterte’s press conference at Malacanang on Jan. 30, 2017.
The Facebook page was created in August 2017. Its Trump-Duterte post has 1,200 likes, 545 comments and 440 shares.
One reader fixed the grammatical errors in Trump’s fabricated quote in his comment.
COVID-19 COVERAGE. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/covid-19/
Duterte, Trump discuss COVID-19 cooperation via phone call. (2020, April 19). Retrieved from https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/734696/duterte-trump-discuss-covid-19-cooperation-via-phone-call/story/
GMA News. (2020, April 19). JUST IN: President Duterte receives call from US President Trump to discuss bilateral cooperation against COVID-19, according to Sen. Bong Go (Photos from Sen. Bong Go) | via Ian Cruz and Joseph Morong /GMA News Read more about it: bit.ly/2VnWzat [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/gmanews/posts/10158675920636977
John, T. (2017, January 30). Rodrigo Duterte Just Put the Philippines' Drug War on Hold. Time. Retrieved from https://time.com/4653207/philippines-rodrigo-duterte-drug-war/
Presidential Communications Operations Office. (2020, April 20). Palace: PRRD to decide on ECQ extension based on experts’ recommendations. Retrieved from https://pcoo.gov.ph/news_releases/palace-prrd-to-decide-on-ecq-extension-based-on-experts-recommendations/
The 16th President of The Philippines. (2020, April 19). U.S. Pres. Donald Trump tinawagan si Pres. Duterte para pagusapan ang Coronavirus. mukhang nagustuhan ni Pres. Donald Trump ang panumuno ni Pres. Duterte sa ating Bansa. SUPORTAHAN natin ang ating PANGULO [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/PPRDOFPHILIPPINES/posts/2364247247206635