Duterte Fact Checks

FACT CHECK: Duterte named in ICC documents on Philippine drug war case


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FACT CHECK: Duterte named in ICC documents on Philippine drug war case
This is contrary to a claim in a May 13, 2024 article in The Manila Times by columnist Rigoberto Tiglao

Claim: Former president Rodrigo Duterte is not named in the documents in the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into his administration’s war on drugs.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim can be found in a May 13 article in The Manila Times by columnist Rigoberto Tiglao, titled “Highly paid lawyer gathering dirt vs Duterte.” The article alleged that lawyer Kristina Conti, who is also secretary-general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers – National Capital Region, was being paid to malign Duterte. (Conti, in a Facebook post, denied Tiglao’s allegation.) 

Tiglao claimed that former president Duterte was not named in the ICC investigation documents, writing: “Conti and the Yellows have repeated in Hitlerian fashion that the ICC case is investigating the former president and [Senator Ronald] de la Rosa for these crimes. This is fake news. It is still an investigation of the ‘Philippine situation,’ and there is no mention of Duterte in all of the ICC’s documents on the case, which are labeled only as an investigation of the ‘Situation in the Republic of the Philippines.'”

The facts: Duterte’s name has been mentioned in several ICC documents on the drug war case, which also state “Situation in the Republic of the Philippines” on the title page: 

ICC investigation: In 2018, then-ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary examination of the drug war killings. A full investigation was opened in 2021 and later temporarily suspended upon the Philippine government’s request under Duterte. The probe resumed in July 2023. (TIMELINE: The International Criminal Court and Duterte’s bloody war on drugs)

The ICC has not yet identified subjects or respondents, as this will only happen in a pre-trial stage, or the next stage after investigation. However, the prosecutors’ reports have named Duterte in the killings that “appear” to have been committed pursuant to an official State policy.

Under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, at least 6,252 individuals were killed in police operations, as recorded by the government, as of May 2022. Human rights groups, however, say the number is between 27,000 and 30,000 if people killed in vigilante-style executions are counted.

Previous related fact-checks: Rappler has previously fact-checked claims about Duterte and the ICC investigation. 

Rappler has also fact-checked false claims by Tiglao in his columns:

Percival Bueser/ Rappler.com 

Percival Bueser is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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