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Claim: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered the expulsion of Senator Robinhood Padilla from office in the wake of an alleged leak of sensitive information from a Senate executive session.
Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video bearing the claim has gained 97,179 views, 1,900 likes, and 726 comments as of writing.
The video’s title reads: “IMPEACH TRAYDOR! GRABE PBBM GINULAT SENADO! TANGGAL NA! PINABABA SA PWESTO! SAWAKAS MAY NAGSALITA NA.”
(Impeach the traitor! PBBM surprised the Senate! Remove him! Resign from the position! Finally, someone has spoken up.)
The bottom line: Padilla remains a senator, as seen in the Senate website’s roster of members of the 19th Congress.
What the Constitution says: Marcos doesn’t have the power to expel Padilla. The 1987 Philippine Constitution doesn’t give the President of the country that power.
Article VI, Section 16, of the Constitution explains how a senator can be expelled: “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.”
No statement: There have been no official statements released via the social media accounts of Marcos, Radio Television Malacañang, or the Office of the President regarding a supposed order kicking Padilla out of the Senate.
Alleged leakage: The video showed clips from Senate Session No. 30 on November 7, where senators raised concerns over the alleged unauthorized release to the media of sensitive details from the Senate’s executive session discussing the confidential funds of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd).
During the November 7 plenary session, Senator Jinggoy Estrada addressed circulating reports that he, alongside eight other senators including Padilla, was in favor of reinstating the P650-million confidential funds of the OVP and DepEd, led by Vice President Sara Duterte.
“I wish to tell the people of the Philippines that there was no votation that happened yesterday with regard to the intelligence fund of the Vice President and DepEd. In fact, we had an executive session and I do not know who among our colleagues scooped or leaked our conversation with this media outlet,” said Estrada.
The misleading video spliced together clips from Estrada’s statement to make it seem that he was referring to Padilla as the source of the alleged leak. In the original video, Padilla’s name was read out from the news report as part of the list of senators who allegedly voted to restore the confidential funds.
The Senate is seeking an investigation into the alleged information leak.
Confidential funds: On November 9, the OVP issued a statement saying it would no longer pursue its request for confidential funds. Duterte had sought P500 million for the OVP and P150 million for DepEd in the proposed 2024 budget. The House of Representatives earlier committed to redirect the funds instead to other government agencies.
“We will no longer pursue the confidential funds. Why? Because this issue is divisive, and as the Vice President, I swore an oath to keep the country peaceful and strong,” said Duterte.
Duterte faced intense scrutiny over the matter of confidential funds when it was revealed that the OVP received P125 million in confidential funds in 2022 from the Office of the President. It is now the subject of a petition before the Supreme Court, seeking the return of the funds.
Debunked: Rappler previously debunked similar claims about Padilla’s supposed expulsion from the Senate, supposedly for questioning US presence in the West Philippine Sea and for his comments on the Bajo de Masinloc collision. – 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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