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FACT CHECK | President Marcos says the ICC may come but the government won’t cooperate with their investigation

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MindaNews fact-checked the claim made by the YouTube channel KABAYAN NEWS PH that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has declared he won’t allow the International Criminal Court to enter the country and investigate alleged extrajudicial killings committed under the “war on drugs” of the Duterte administration.

The claim is false, as Marcos said the ICC may come but the government or any of its agencies would not cooperate in their investigation.


President Marcos did not say he won’t allow ICC investigators into the country, contrary to a claim on YouTube

KABAYAN NEWS PH on Monday (Feb. 5, 2024) posted on YouTube that former President Rodrigo Duterte might be arrested anytime by the ICC. It was titled “KAKAPASOK LANG AARESTOHIN na! Nakupo Delicado na! Biglaang pagtawag ni FPRRD, Humingi ng Saklolo” (Just in, arrest is coming! Oh my, it’s becoming dangerous! Sudden call from FPRRD, asking for help)

The post used the video of lawyer Harry Roque’s Facebook live on Sunday (Feb. 4, 2024) where he says: “…Tinawagan ako ni Tatay Digong (Duterte’s moniker) at ang sabi niya nakakuha siya ng impormasyon na anytime daw baka siya arestuhin…Alam nila na loyal sa mga Duterte itong Task Force Davao (Tatay Digong called me and he said he got information that he might be arrested anytime…They know that Task Force Davao is loyal to the Dutertes).”

After showing Roque’s video, the voice over said Marcos has said many times that he won’t let the ICC come and conduct an investigation of the alleged extrajudicial killings under Duterte.

“But due to the statements of Duterte against President Marcos our fellow Filipinos are now having doubts whether PBBM will really prevent them from entering the country,” it said in Filipino.

In an interview with reporters on Jan. 23, 2024, Marcos said:

“Let me say this for the hundredth time: I do not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC in the Philippines. I consider it as a threat to our sovereignty, therefore, the Philippine government will not lift a finger to help out in any investigation that the ICC conducts. However, as ordinary people, they can come and visit the Philippines. Pero hindi kami tutulong sa kanila. In fact, binabantayan namin sila (we’re watching them) to ensure that they won’t come in contact with any agency of government.”

KABAYAN NEWS PH showed the footage of the Jan. 23 interview of Marcos, but apparently overlooked or ignored the portion where the President says “However, as ordinary people, they can come and visit the Philippines.”

As of 3pm on Feb. 7, the post had over 89,464 views and 1,800 reactions. The channel has 99,000 subscribers.

The ICC had started a probe into the drug war deaths in 2016. Then-ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the ICC will conduct a preliminary examination of these deaths in February 2018. The pre-trial investigation began on Sept. 15, 2021—covering crimes allegedly committed in the country between Nov. 1, 2011, the date the Rome Statute became effective in the Philippines, and March 16, 2019. This expands the scope of the investigation beyond the Duterte presidency’s “war on drugs” to also include killings during Duterte’s time as Davao city mayor. 

On 17 March 2018, then-President Duterte formally notified the UN secretary-general that the Philippines was withdrawing from the Rome Statute. The withdrawal  became effective on 16 March 2019, a year after its receipt by the UN Secretary General.

Government records say over 6,000 were killed in anti-drug operations from June 2016 until May 31, 2022, but human rights groups estimate that the death toll may be as high as 30,000.

As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact-check stories. 

MindaNews is a verified signatory to the Code of Principles of the International Fact-Checking Network.(H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)

MindaNews is the news service arm of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism. It is composed of independent, professional journalists who believe and practice people empowerment through media.

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About MindaNews Fact Check

MindaNews Fact Check seeks to fight misinformation and disinformation circulating on the internet, news platforms and communities that we serve. 

What is MindaNews Fact Check?

MindaNews Fact Check tracks and debunks fake news, false claims and misleading statements of government officials, civil society leaders and netizens being spread on the internet, especially on social media sites. MindaNews values truth and accuracy in performing our journalistic work.

Why we fact-check?

Politicians, government officials and other public and private figures at times tend to bend facts to suit or advance their vested interests, or their principals, in effect misleading the public. The distorted facts spread easily with the popularity of the internet and the wide influence of social media.

As independent journalists, our primordial duty is to tell the truth and present facts to help the public discern issues and concerns impacting their lives.

How do we rate claims?

FAKE -  if the claim is completely invented.

FALSE - if the claim contradicts, undermines or disputes truthful facts, actual events and official records (i.e. laws and scientific studies)

MISLEADING – if the claim is based on truth but maliciously twisted that gives a different impression to serve a group or individual’s vested interests.

ALTERED – pertains to images or videos that were manipulated to mislead the public.

MISSING CONTEXT – if the claim needs more clarification or contextualization to make it clearer.

Where do you post your results?

We post our fact-checked stories in mindanews.com, on Facebook and Twitter with links to the original piece. We have a dedicated fact check page, where all fact-checked stories can be found. 

How did MindaNews Fact Check start?

Since its establishment in 2001, MindaNews has been living up to its vision of being the “leading provider of accurate, timely and comprehensive news and information on Mindanao and its peoples, serving economically, politically and culturally empowered communities” and its mission to “professionally and responsibly cover Mindanao events, peoples and issues to inform, educate, inspire and influence communities.”

MindaNews was founded by reporters precisely to ensure that reports about Mindanao, an island grouping that has suffered misinformation and disinformation long before these words became fashionable, are accurate. 

Our policy has always been to ensure that reports are thoroughly vetted before they are dispatched and uploaded on our website. 

Our fact-checking initiative with a uniform format started in October 2021 as part of Internews’ pioneering Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator (PFCI) project. Internews is an international non-profit that supports independent media from 100 countries. 

Prior to the PFCI project, MindaNews co-founded Tsek.ph, a collaboration among Philippine media institutions to fight disinformation and misinformation during the 2019. Tsek.ph did the same thing for the 2022 elections. 

Where do you get funds?

MindaNews has sustained its operation through proceeds from subscriptions of its news service  (news, special reports, opinion pieces, photos) and sales of books. It also receives grants from non-state actors.  Editorial prerogative, however, is left entirely to MindaNews. 

MindaNews does not accept funds from politicians or domestic or foreign states for its fact-checking initiative. For the other operations of MindaNews as a media organization in the past two years, we have received grants from the National Endowment for Democracy and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which we use for coverage, staff compensation, administrative expenses and to train other journalists.

MindaNews Fact Check is supported by a grant from Internews.

Do you accept leads from the public for your fact-checking initiative?

MindaNews encourages the public to provide us with leads not only for potential fact-check pieces but other news stories as well of interest to the general public.

Our fact checks include this paragraph encouraging readers to be part of the process: “As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact check pieces.”

MindaNews Fact Check - Methodology

What standards do you follow when fact-checking?

As a news organization, we strictly adhere to accuracy, fairness, balance, independence, accountability and transparency not just in our fact-checking initiative but in all other aspects of our work at MindaNews.

We abide by the Philippine Press Institute’s Journalist’s Code of Ethics. Since we became part of Internews’ Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator project, we have been striving to adhere with the IFCN Code of Principles, in step with our organization’s commitment to non-partisanship, transparency and fairness.

We fact-check a claim that is specifically claimed to be a fact and involved the public interest or the welfare of the people. We debunk false claims using official government records, journals or interviews with experts. 

We don’t fact-check opinions.

How do we fact-check?

Step 1: Team members monitor press conferences, speeches, statements, news, interviews, social media sites, etc. for statements worth fact-checking.

Step 2: When a claim is worth fact-checking, a team member looks for multiple sources to dispute the claim, including tracing the original source document.

Step 3:  Fact-checked claims are then submitted to the editor for copy editing and vetting. The link/s to debunk the claim are always included in the story.  

Step 4: A rating card is prepared to accompany the fact-checked piece, or infographics if needed, to immediately flag readers what the article is all about. 

Step 5: The senior editor takes another look before the article is posted on the website and social media accounts.

Correction Policy

Consistent with our vision and mission as a media institution, we rectify any error committed. If you spot a factual error, you may notify us thru editor@mindanews.com or our Facebook Messenger @Mindanews.

Correction Workflow

  • Errors pointed out are immediately brought to the attention of the editors and the fact-checking team. 

  • The fact-checker is immediately notified for verification. 

  • Once verified, the error is to be corrected within 24 hours and vetted before publication on the website. 

  • Readers will immediately know errors have been corrected through the Editor’s note posted above the article. 

  • The person who notified MindaNews about the error will be informed that the correction has been made.

About MindaNews

MindaNews is the news service arm of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism (MinJourn). It is composed of independent, professional journalists who believe and practice people empowerment through media. MinJourn, which is duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission with registration number CN201700385, is managed by its Board of Directors.

MindaNews values its journalistic independence. It started in May 2001 as a media cooperative and in January 2017 registered as a nonstock, nonprofit media organization.  We do not  accept funding from politicians, political parties or partisan groups.

Editorial staff

Fact-checking Unit: Romer (Bong) Sarmiento, Yas D. Ocampo


Mindanao Institute of Journalism


Board of Directors

President & CEO: Jowel Canuday, D.Phil. (oxon.)
Vice President: Romer S. Sarmiento

Carolyn O. Arguillas, M.A.
Rhodora Gail T. Ilagan, Ph.D.
Amalia B. Cabusao (Doc Can.)
Robert D. Timonera
Ellen P. Alinea