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FALSE: Duterte orders death penalty for Nuezca

At a glance:
  • Claim: President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the death penalty for Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: There is no death penalty in the Philippines and Duterte did not mention imposing such on Nuezca.
  • Why we fact-checked this: This claim was flagged by Facebook Claim Check, a tool that detects dubious content on the platform. The video has gained 323,000 reactions, 31,000 comments, and 135,000 shares as of writing.
Complete details:

Facebook page PH NOW uploaded a video falsely claiming that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the death penalty for Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca.

The policeman faces two counts of murder for shooting dead a mother and son in Tarlac.

The video was captioned: "BREAKING NEWS: PRES. DUTERTE BATO SASAMPOLAN NG PARUSANG D. PENALTY ANG PULIS NA SI NUEZCA." (Breaking news: President Duterte, Bato order the death penalty for the policeman Nuezca.)

The video also contains the text: "Breaking news: Parusang death penalty para sa kriminal na pulis!" (Breaking news: Death penalty for a policeman who is a criminal!)

This claim was flagged by Facebook Claim Check, a tool that detects dubious content on the platform. The video has gained 323,000 reactions, 31,000 comments, and 135,000 shares as of writing.

The claim is false.

The video did not contain proof that Duterte ordered the death penalty for Nuezca. It featured an excerpt from Duterte's fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27, wherein he called for the reinstatement of the death penalty.

"I reiterate the swift passage of a law reviving the death penalty by lethal injection for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous [Drugs] Act of 2002... This law will not only help us deter criminality but also save our children from the dangers posed by illegal and dangerous drugs," Duterte had said.

Meanwhile, the President discussed Nuezca's case in a speech on December 21, but he did not mention the death penalty. He urged the Philippine National Police to "be sure that he is detained."

In a December 22 press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque was also asked if Duterte would consider the reinstatement of the death penalty following the incident.

"Well ang pagpapasa po ng death penalty, ‘pag bubuhayin po ay sa mula’t mula prayoridad ng ating Presidente pero nakasalalay po ang mangyayari diyan sa batas na iyan sa kamay siyempre ng mga mambabatas ng Mababang Kapulungan at ng ating Senado," Roque said.

(Well, reinstating the death penalty has always been a priority of our President but it depends on what will happen to it in the hands of the lawmakers in the House of Representatives and the Senate.)

The video also ran the audio of a December 23 interview with Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa on DZRH News, wherein he was asked if he wants Nuezca to face the death penalty. He responded, "Eh kung may death penalty tayo niyan eh dapat death penalty na 'yang tao na 'yan, nabitay na 'yan." (If we had the death penalty, he would have already been sentenced to it, he would have been hanged.)

He was also asked about the status of the bill he filed in the Senate, which aims to impose the death penalty on certain crimes. "Sa awa ng diyos, wala pa ring nangyari. Kahit isang hearing, wala pa rin," he said. (By the Lord's mercy, nothing has happened. Not even one hearing.)

Bills filed in the Senate aiming to impose the death penalty on certain crimes remain pending in the committee.

Earlier, Rappler also debunked a post claiming a photo shows Vice President Robredo handing out money during the wake of Nuezca's victims, Sonya and Frank Gregorio. – Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.