VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Panelo twists argument on presumption of innocence

From an earlier position that presumption of innocence can be waived, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo now says it must be upheld in the case of resigned police chief Oscar Albayalde.

Panelo defended Albayalde's presumption of innocence in a media interview on Oct. 14, the same day Albayalde quit his post amid the “ninja cops” controversy. He said, "all people accused of any crime or transgression” should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, as stated in the 1987 Constitution.

A recent Senate investigation, originally on the good conduct time allowance issue, had unearthed a drug recycling incident in Mexico, Pampanga, in 2013 carried out by 13 rogue police officers, who have since been branded as “ninja cops.” The incident also implicated Albayalde, who was Pampanga provincial director at the time.

But seven months ago, the spokesman offered a different argument when he defended the Duterte government’s decision to release a list of names of alleged narco-politicians who were running in the May midterm elections.

Panelo at the time said one’s presumption of innocence can be “waived” and that accusations hurled against public officials are “fair game.”

Watch this video.

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Panelo twists argument on presumption of innocence from VERA Files on Vimeo.


CNN Philippines, The Source: Sal Panelo, Oct. 14, 2019

Official Gazette, 1987 Constitution

PTV, PRRD reveals names in narco-list, March 16, 2019

RTVMalacanang, Joint National Peace and Order Council (NPOC) – Regional Peace Order Council (RPOC) Clusters, March 15, 2019

ABS-CBN News, Early Edition: Alleged narco-politicos ‘waived’ right to presumption of innocence -- Panelo, March 5, 2019

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)


VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Panelo binaluktot ang paliwanag sa presumption of innocence

Mula sa mas naunang posisyon na ang presumption of innocence ay maaaring talikuran, sinabi ni…

VERA FILES FACT SHEET: What is presumption of innocence?

The constitution states that in all criminal prosecutions, the person accused is presumed innocent…

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Anti-death penalty advocate Sen. Gordon uses repealed death penalty law to warn ‘ninja cops’

Sen. Richard Gordon warned “ninja cops” -- police officers allegedly involved in the illegal drug…

About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

Follow us