FALSE: 'Conspiracy is not a crime' – Panelo
Claim: Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said in a statement that "conspiracy is not a crime." (READ: 'Totally unnecessary' for Duterte to prove 'ouster matrix' – Malacañang)
In the statement sent to the press on Wednesday, May 1, Panelo said it was unnecessary to prove that those who were named in the "Oust Duterte Matrix" are participating in an ouster plot. (READ: FALSE: 'Ouster plot' against President Duterte 'bared')
The "matrix" was published by the Manila Times on April 22 and named news groups and human rights lawyers allegedly plotting against President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: Manila Times editor resigns over ‘matrix’ story)
Panelo cited Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code, saying, "Conspiracy and proposal to commit felony are punishable only in the cases in which the law specially provides a penalty therefor."
He listed proposals to commit treason, coup d'etat, and rebellion as examples of proposals to commit a crime which need no overt acts but are punishable under the Revised Penal Code.
"Only when all the elements of any of these crimes have been committed will we file a case against the conspirators. Should their plans lead to overt acts punishable by law, then criminal cases will also be filed against them. It is only when the cases are filed in court that proof will be submitted to substantiate the criminal charges," Panelo said.
The facts: Conspiracy is a crime under Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code.
Article 8 says: "Conspiracy and proposal to commit felony are punishable only in the cases in which the law specially provides a penalty therefor."
Article 136 of the Revised Penal Code says: "Conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d'etat, rebellion, or insurrection" are each punishable by years in prison and a fine.
As human rights lawyer Ted Te explained to Rappler, "Conspiracy under Article 8 is not a crime unless it is defined as such; conspiracy to commit rebellion or sedition is a crime, so Panelo's claim is false."
Te said the government does not need proof to file an information on those named in the "matrix," only a prima facie evidence. "He's basically admitting there is no basis for the matrix because they can't even come up with a prima facie case," said Te.
Rappler has published a fact check piece on the Manila Times article, which has 10 claims that are false, misleading, or unsubstantiated. – Vernise L. Tantuco/Rappler.com