VERA FILES FACT CHECK: De Lima DID NOT apply as ICC counsel

An Aug. 8 report published by website onelinebalita.xyz claiming Sen. Leila de Lima applied - and was rejected – as counsel of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is false.

Onlinebalita.xyz's headline, "BOOM IYAK! DE LIMA BINITIN SA ERE NG ICC APPLICATION PAGKA-ABOGADO, NIREJECT! PANOORIN (Boom, cry now! De Lima left hanging by ICC in her application as counsel, rejected! Watch)," does not reflect its content: a pirated copy of CNN Philippines' live coverage of Supreme Court (SC) spokesperson Theodore Te's press briefing the day before.

Te announced the high court’s denial of De Lima’s plea to participate in the oral arguments challenging President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute -- the treaty that established the ICC.

The denied petition was filed in June by De Lima. On July 24, senators Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan and Antonio Trillanes IV, asked the Supreme Court to allow the incarcerated senator to represent them in their case against the executive branch.

De Lima has been detained at a custodial center in Camp Crame since February last year on alleged drug-related charges.

On May 16, the six opposition senators lodged a petition asking the SC to invalidate the country’s withdrawal from the ICC, saying it lacked concurrence from the Senate. Duterte announced the withdrawal in mid-March, about a month after the ICC said it will begin its preliminary investigation on alleged extrajudicial killings under his administration’s war on drugs.

The fake story could have reached more than 25,000 people. Traffic to the story was largely generated from social media by pages President Duterte Astig Suporters, President Duterte Loyal Supporters and Duterte Media.

Onebalita.xyz was created July 21; Youtube channel Tatay Duterte News, which uploaded the pirated clip, in December 2016.


(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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