Marcos Fact Checks

FACT CHECK: No Supreme Court subpoena issued to Marcos

Rappler.com

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FACT CHECK: No Supreme Court subpoena issued to Marcos
The Supreme Court has previously ruled that the President is immune from suit during his term

Claim: The Supreme Court (SC) has issued a subpoena to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The video containing the claim has garnered 10,398 views, 654 likes, and 59 comments as of writing. It was posted on July 3 by the channel “BANGON PINAS,” which has 82,900 subscribers. Other videos with similar claims have also been circulating on YouTube. 

The video’s title reads: “Hala! PBBM binigyan na ng subpoena ng Korte Suprema?! Katiwalian ng mag-asawang Marcos, bistado na?!

(PBBM given a subpoena by the Supreme Court?! Corruption of the Marcoses, exposed?!)

The facts: No official sources corroborate the claim that a subpoena has been issued to Marcos. Furthermore, a sitting president enjoys immunity from suit. 

While not explicitly stated in the 1987 Constitution, this presidential immunity is known in legal scholarship as a “judge-made” law, as seen in the Supreme Court’s decisions in David v. Arroyo and De Lima v. Duterte. However, once their term ends, former presidents no longer enjoy this immunity. (READ: No longer immune from suit, Duterte faces criminal complaint from Castro)

“Settled is the doctrine that the president, during his tenure of office or actual incumbency, may not be sued in any civil or criminal case, and there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution or law,” the High Court said in David v. Arroyo.

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Similarly in De Lima v. Duterte, the SC said: “The concept of presidential immunity is not explicitly spelled out in the 1987 Constitution. However, the Court has affirmed that there is no need to expressly provide for it either in the Constitution or in law.”

In his separate concurring opinion, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen pointed out that “petitions for a writ of amparo or habeas data may still be filed against his or her official acts, as long as the executive secretary, or the relevant officers, are named as party respondents.”

How a subpoena is issued: According to Section 1, Rule 21 of the Rules of Court, a subpoena is a “process directed to a person requiring him or her to attend and to testify at the hearing or the trial of an action, or at any investigation conducted by competent authority, or for the taking of his or her deposition.”

SC justices are among those who can issue a subpoena. Contrary to the claim, however, the SC has not issued any subpoenas to Marcos.

PDEA leaks: The video provides no evidence for its claim, merely featuring commentary from a vlogger to imply that the supposed subpoena is related to the so-called Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) document leaks allegedly linking Marcos to illegal drug activities.

While the President’s involvement has not been established during a series of hearings conducted by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, committee chair Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is convinced the leaked documents are authentic. 

Senate President Chiz Escudero said Dela Rosa is free to continue the probe, but the investigation hit several roadblocks with two of its resource persons cited in contempt for lying.

Previous fact checks: Rappler has previously debunked false claims about subpoenas and other court orders:

– Shay Du/Rappler.com

Shay Du is a Rappler intern. She is an incoming fourth-year mass communication student at Silliman University. 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.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. You may also report dubious claims to the #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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