FACT CHECK: One judge in Duterte list already dead for 8 years

Jodesz Gavilan

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FACT CHECK: One judge in Duterte list already dead for 8 years
(UPDATED) Rappler is crowdsourcing information on the 158 government officials listed as allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade. How accurate is this list?

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Seven members of the judiciary were named by President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday, August 7, as allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

The list, read by Duterte himself during a press conference in Davao City, included more than 150 officials from the judiciary, police, and local governments. (READ: The Duterte list: Judges, mayors, police officials linked to drugs)

The judges named were: 

  • Judge Mupas, Dasmariñas, Cavite
  • Judge Reyes, Baguio City
  • Judge Savilo, RTC Branch 13, Iloilo City
  • Judge Casiple, Kalibo, Aklan
  • Judge Rene Gonzales, MTC (no location mentioned)
  • Judge Navidad, RTC Calbayog City
  • Judge Ezekiel (based on Palace transcript) (or Exequiel based on Palace press release) Dagala, MTC Dapa, Siargao

However, one judge on the list, “Judge Navidad” of Calbayog City, has been dead since 2008. No first name was provided by Duterte or the Palace in its release.

A Judge Navidad who presided over an RTC Branch in Calbayog City was found to be Judge Roberto Navidad of RTC Branch 32. He was killed in January 2008, according to news reports from that year. According to a Newsbreak report in 2008, Navidad was the 15th magistrate killed since 1999.

The slain Calbayog RTC judge was also one of two lawyers surnamed Navidad in the lawyers list found on the Supreme Court website. The other Navidad resides in La Union.

Witnesses from the 2008 incident said that the 69-year-old judge was inside his car and was about to leave a pharmacy when an unidentified man shot him at close range. He died on the spot.

Task Force Navidad was even created by Philippine National Police Region 8 for the manhunt of the suspect who fled on foot after the shooting. 

According to the Judiciary Book of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) of the Supreme Court of the Philippines (SC), no RTC Branch in Calbayog City is currently being presided over by a certain “Judge Navidad.”

Other judges

The Judiciary Book also showed that no Judge Mupas currently presides over a court in Dasmariñas, Cavite. 

The only one with the same surname is Judge Jesus Mupas of Pasay City RTC Branch 112. His wife Lorinda once served as Municipal Trial Court (MTC) judge in Dasmariñas, Cavite. (READ: Jesus Mupas, the infamous judge).

Lorinda Mupas was dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2007 for “gross ignorance of the law and incompetence.”

The “Judge Savilo” on Duterte’s list is associated with Iloilo City’s RTC Branch 13, but a judge named “Adriano Savillo” presides over Iloilo City RTC Branch 30, which is a family court.

There are 3 other judges either without first names or with incomplete information – Reyes, Casiple, Gonzales, and Dagala. There is a certain “Judge Antonio Reyes” assigned to a Baguio drug court. A certain “Judge Domingo Casiple Jr” is based in Kalibo, Aklan.

A search for an MTC judge named Rene “Gonzales” with no location provided yielded a certain “Judge Rene Gonzalez” (with a z) from Iloilo City. The list with the information: “Ezekiel Dagala, MTC Dapa, Siargao” contrasts with what was found in the Judiciary Book: “Exequil Dagala” assigned to Dapa, Surigao del Norte, among others.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno expressed concern over the list Duterte announced. (FULL TEXT: Sereno’s letter to President Duterte)

Through a letter sent to Duterte on Monday, August 8, Sereno wrote that the judges included in the list may become targets of vigilante groups due to the President’s “premature public announcement.

“Our judges may have been rendered vulnerable and veritable targets for any of those persons and groups who may consider judges as acceptable collateral damage in the ‘war on drugs,'” Sereno said.

Asserting that the High Court has sole jurisdiction over members of the judiciary, Sereno urged Duterte to give them “even an informal report” instead of public announcements. 

“As the sole entity charged with the discipline of judges, the Supreme Court decides when judges are excused from bench duty and report to it,” the Chief Justice said.

Help us

The information on Duterte’s list appears to be incomplete and not 100% accurate. There are over 150 names on that list that need verification and checking.

We’ve done an initial check. Help us check the other names on the list and share information you may have about them, especially if it is first-hand.

During the Davao press conference, Duterte said he was taking sole responsibility for any mistake in the list.

”Any mistake of the military and the police dito (here), ako yung tagasalo (I will take responsibility). I ordered the listing, revalidation, I am the one reading it and I am the sole person responsible for the same,” he declared. – with research by Ziel Cabreros/Rappler.com


Do you have information to correct or add to what’s on the Duterte list? Rappler is crowdsourcing information on the individuals on Duterte’s list. Comment below or email investigative@rappler.com for confidential information. Or simply tag @rapplerdotcom on Twitter.

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and impunity beats, producing in-depth and investigative reports particularly on the quest for justice of victims of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and war on dissent.