Fact checks on public officials

FACT CHECK: Hontiveros not expelled from Senate over ICC probe resolution

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FACT CHECK: Hontiveros not expelled from Senate over ICC probe resolution
Hontiveros remains a member of the 19th Congress. The misleading video showed clips of Senator Ronald 'Bato' dela Rosa expressing his dismay over a resolution filed by Hontiveros

Claim: Senator Risa Hontiveros was expelled from office for urging the government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) probe into the drug war killings.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: As of writing, the YouTube video has gained 48,471 views, 1,000 likes, and 524 comments. 

The video’s narrator claimed that Hontiveros was exposed as a “traitor” after it was revealed that she had a mission from the ICC to politically sabotage the Marcoses and Dutertes. The video’s title implied that Hontiveros was removed from the Senate because of this.

The bottom line:  Hontiveros remains a member of the 19th Congress, as seen on the Senate’s website. The video didn’t provide any concrete evidence to support its claim. Instead, it merely showed clips of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa expressing his dismay over a resolution filed by Hontiveros. 

There are no reports regarding any move in the Senate to expel Hontiveros from office. Article VI, Section 16, of the Constitution explains the process: “Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its Members, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed sixty days.” 

ICC resolution: On November 28, Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution 867 urging the Philippine government to cooperate with the ICC’s investigation into former president Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial drug war that killed thousands. In her resolution, Hontiveros pointed out that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had personally vowed “to promote human rights and a ‘high level of accountability’ for human rights violations.”

Dela Rosa said he was “hurt” by the resolution filed by Hontiveros, whom he considers a “close” friend. Dela Rosa and Hontiveros’ late husband Francisco Baraquel Jr. were mistahs, or batch mates, at the Philippine Military Academy.

Masama po ang loob ko. But anyway, baka sabihin niya trabaho lang, walang personalan. Pero that’s very personal because I’m one of the subjects na iimbestigahan,” said Dela Rosa. (I feel offended. But anyway, she might say it’s just work, nothing personal. But that’s very personal because I’m one of the subjects who will be investigated.)

Dela Rosa, who was the Duterte administration’s first chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), spearheaded the bloody war on drugs. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said at least 4,999 were killed in police anti-drug operations from July 2016 to October 2018, a period that mostly covered Dela Rosa’s stint as PNP chief.

Responding to questions on the proposed House resolutions urging the government to cooperate with the ICC, Marcos said the return of the Philippines to the ICC was “under study.” In 2018, the Philippines under the Duterte administration withdrew from the ICC after it took its first step in the drug war probe. Andrei Santos/Rappler.com

Andrei Santos 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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