Skip to content
post thumbnail

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Inquirer.net inaccurately reports Dela Rosa, Duterte ‘charged’ in the ICC

WHAT WAS CLAIMED

Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa and former president Rodrigo Duterte are among those charged before the International Criminal court for crimes against humanity over the killings related to the drug war.

OUR VERDICT

False:

The ICC probe is still in the preliminary investigation stage and no suspect has been charged.
Although Dela Rosa and Duterte were named in the 2021 request of former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to launch an investigation, the Office of the Prosecutor has yet to identify the respondents if a case is filed.

Mar 1, 2023

VERA Files

|

3-minute read

ifcn badge

Share This Article

:

(UPDATED) An Inquirer.net news report wrongly described former president Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa as “among those charged before the International Criminal Court (ICC)” for alleged crimes against humanity in relation to the killings in the war on drugs.

Contrary to the report, the ICC probe is still in the preliminary investigation stage and no Filipino official has yet been charged.

STATEMENT

In a Feb. 22 news report, Inquirer.net reporter Maila Ager wrote that Dela Rosa fumed over a Spanish lawmaker’s “tinkering” with the country’s affairs for asking questions about a resolution calling on the Philippine Senate to oppose the resumption of the ICC probe into the drug war. The Spanish legislator had made the inquiries in a meeting with three Philippine senators on Feb. 22

Citing  Spain’s 333-year colonization of the Philippines, Dela Rosa, who was the first head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) during Duterte’s term, demanded that Spanish lawmaker Miguel Urbán Crespo “respect our sovereignty.”

Based on the official list of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights delegation, Crespo was the only lawmaker from Spain among the six legislators who visited the Philippines from Feb. 21 to 24.

The last paragraph of the Inquirer.net article said:

Dela Rosa and Duterte are among those charged before the ICC for crimes against humanity in connection with the thousands of people killed in their drug war.”

 

Source: Inquirer.net, Dela Rosa to Spanish lawmaker: How dare you lecture us about human rights? | Global News (archive), Feb. 22, 2023

The story hyperlinked a 2017 news article about the communication submitted to the ICC by the late lawyer Jude Sabio accusing Duterte, Dela Rosa and 10 other officials of crimes against humanity in relation to the drug war. Sabio retracted the document in January 2020.

(Read VERA FILES FACT CHECK: PNA background info on Sabio withdrawal of ICC communication misleading)

FACT

The ICC probe is still in the preliminary investigation stage and no suspect has been charged.

Although Dela Rosa and Duterte were named in the 2021 request of former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to launch an investigation, the Office of the Prosecutor has yet to identify the respondents if a case is filed.

In her authorization request to the Pre-Trial Chamber I, Bensouda cited the statements of Duterte, Dela Rosa and other Duterte administration officials supporting and urging the public, the police and the military to kill suspected drug users and dealers. She said such statements could be considered basis to establish the presence of a state or organizational policy on killings in the bloody anti-drug campaign.

Under the ICC procedure, suspects identified by the prosecutor at the investigation stage are those who allegedly committed the most serious of international crimes, such as crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Arrest warrants or summons are then issued to compel respondents to appear before the ICC in its headquarters in the Netherlands for the confirmation of charges. Trial begins once charges are confirmed against the “accused.” (See ICC probe sa drug war: Ang susunod na kabanata)

In a Feb. 17 statement, Dela Rosa, who implemented the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign as PNP chief from July 2016 to April 2018, falsely described himself as the former president’s “co-accused” in the ICC’s drug war inquiry.

(Read VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Bato wrongly claims he is ‘co-accused’ with Duterte in ICC probe)

He made the statement two days after former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a senior deputy speaker at the House of Representatives, and 18 other lawmakers filed a resolution urging the chamber to provide “unequivocal support” to Duterte following the ICC’s decision to resume its probe.

(See AT A GLANCE: House resolution to support Duterte vs ICC probe)

Editor’s note: A few hours after this fact check was published, Inquirer.net revised the last paragraph of its article and wrote: “Dela Rosa and Duterte are among the names the ICC wanted to investigate for crimes against humanity in connection with the thousands of people killed in their drug war.

 

Check out these sources

 

Inquirer.net, Dela Rosa to Spanish lawmaker: How dare you lecture us about human rights? | Global News (archive), Feb. 22, 2023

Inquirer.net, Duterte, 11 others accused of crimes against humanity before ICC | Global News, April 24, 2017

National Library of the Philippines official website, PHILIPPINE MUSIC, Accessed Feb. 28, 2023

European Parliament official website, MEPs visit the Philippines to discuss human rights developments in the country, Feb. 24, 2023

International Criminal Court official website, Public redacted version of “Request for authorisation of an investigation pursuant to article 15(3)”, 24 May 2021, ICC-01/21-7-SECRET-Exp, June 14, 2021

International Criminal Court official website, How the Court works, Accessed Feb. 28, 2023

Senate of the Philippines official website, Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa – Senate of the Philippines, Accessed Feb. 28, 2023

Get VERAfied

Receive fresh perspectives and explainers in your inbox every Tuesday and Friday.