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Tatad spreads fake news on SC ruling re ICC and Duterte

You are currently viewing Tatad spreads fake news on SC ruling re ICC and Duterte

The target: Daughter Sara

COLUMNIST Francisco Tatad the other day reported that the Supreme Court had ruled that the International Criminal Court (ICC) can investigate former president Rodrigo Duterte for alleged “crimes against humanity” in his anti-drug war.

The report is totally, scandalously and indubitably false. There is no such SC decision, obvious in that Tatad couldn’t even give his readers the number of the decision (called “General Resolution”) and the date when it was promulgated). Tatad based his entire column β€” to the point of shameless plagiarism β€” on a fake report written by one Marlon Ramos titled “Duterte can’t evade ICC, end treaty on his own.” It was published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on July 22, 2021, which falsely reported on the decision of the SC four months after it was handed down.

That article maliciously selected several arguments in the decision in the course of its discussion, but which the SC eventually rejected.

That the PDI fake news appeared four months after the SC decision was made (and reported the same day by several international and local media), and knowing the dynamics of media corruption, I highly suspect the article was commissioned by the opposition.

Contrary to what Tatad and Ramos reported β€” that the SC ruled that the ICC may investigate Duterte β€” the high court upheld Duterte’s order for the government to withdraw from the ICC. This is contained in General Resolution 23887/General Resolution 240954 issued on March 16, 2021, which quite obviously Tatad didn’t bother, or was too lazy to read.

Only PDI

It was only the PDI which distorted (“spun” in media lingo ) the SC decision as adverse to Duterte, several months after it was handed down. All articles on the SC decision the day it was handed down reported its real gist: That the SC upheld Duterte’s order to withdraw membership from the ICC.

Fake news that was plagiarized.

Reuters, for instance, the respected British wire agency which had even been very critical of the Duterte throughout his term reported on the day the SC decision was promulgated:

“The Philippine Supreme Court has thrown out a petition that sought to invalidate President Rodrigo Duterte’s unilateral withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, which has been examining allegations of atrocities in his bloody war on drugs.

“Duterte in March 2018 canceled the Philippines’ membership of the ICC’s founding treaty just weeks after the ICC’s prosecutor announced a preliminary examination was underway into thousands of killings in his war on drugs, which he said was prejudiced against him.


“But six minority senators asked the Supreme Court to invalidate Duterte’s decision, which took effect a year later, arguing it was illegal and done without Senate approval, which is needed before entering into treaties.

“The Supreme Court in a statement said that judges unanimously dismissed the legal challenge as ‘moot and academic.’

“‘The court also noted that the judiciary has enough powers to protect human rights contrary to speculation raised by the petitioners,’ it added.”

The Oxford University dictionary defines “plagiarism” as “presenting work or ideas from another source as your own, with or without consent of the original author, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement.”

There is no question that Tatad’s column the other day on the ICC and Duterte is a case of plagiarism, as he did not acknowledge as his source the PDI’s July 22, 2021 article. Ironically or hilariously, he plagiarized a false news article. But plagiarizing a defective work or article does not absolve one of plagiarism, The usual penalty for plagiarism in an academe or in media is normally expulsion, since it goes against the very heart of truth, which is the basic business of these two institutions.


That Tatad plagiarized somebody’s work is obvious in that he couldn’t quote in his article any statement from the SC ruling except those that the PDI article quoted.

PDI article: “In sum, at no point and under no circumstances does the President enjoy unbridled authority to withdraw from treaties or international agreements,” it declared.

Tatad column: “‘In sum, at no point and under no circumstances does the President enjoy unbridled authority to withdraw from treaties or international agreements,” it declared.

The PDI article referred to a “101-page decision authored by Associate Justice Leonen,” in order to give credence that the author actually read it. Tatad copied that, writing, “Marvic Mario Victor Leonen who penned the 101-page ruling.” But the Supreme Court, ever since it set up its website, had long abandoned the practice of giving or even showing the media a printed copy of its decisions. Instead it posts it on its website β€” without pagination.


Does Tatad think only he has access to Google so that other people won’t find out he plagiarized a work written two years ago?

Tatad is diabolical when he spins facts to support something, a skill he learned as the strongman Marcos’ press secretary for 11 years. He writes: “All 15 justices who supported the ruling were Duterte’s Supreme Court appointees, except for Senior Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen.” Therefore he is saying, these justices aren’t biased, and could only vote to uphold the law.

But then the actual SC decision β€” and not the fake one Tatad reported β€” backed Duterte’s order for the Philippines to withdraw from the Rome Statute. What was surprising was that it was Leonen, appointed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, and a hardcore Yellow cadre (at least during Aquino’s time), who wrote the decision to throw to the waste basket the petition to declare Duterte’s order illegal, filed by his Yellow comrades, among them Kiko Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, and of course Leila de Lima.

Tatad is diabolical when he spreads fake news, and makes it seem to be a recent authentic development that he just picked it up from the “community.” He wrote: “The ruling came as a complete surprise to political observers who had expected the justices to take Duterte’s side for obvious reasons.” Also: “But the rest of the nation, particularly its lawyers, justices and judges, academics, human rights advocates, etc. has every reason to celebrate the historic ruling.”


The high court’s only decision involving the ICC was that which was favorable to Duterte. Yet Tatad deviously made it seem that there was another more recent decision giving the green light to that international body to proceed to investigate the former president, and that he was reporting a “scoop.”

What could be Tatad’s intention in reporting fake news?

His column gives us a hint, as he wrote: “Although the vice president has hardly been mentioned in connection with the reported drug killings, some leaked ICC documents have linked Sara Duterte to some of these crimes allegedly when she was mayor of Davao City from 2010 to 2013 and 2016 to 2022. For that reason, she is being targeted for indictment along with her father, the documents said…More than the case of her father, this is what bears watching. It could have a decisive effect on the future of the Marcos-Duterte “Unity” team, which took the nation by storm in the 2022 presidential elections.”

Tatad’s fake news therefore is targeting Sara’s bid to succeed Marcos in 2028. Tatad is saying that her supporters (especially financiers) better look for another candidate to develop, as she will be linked to Duterte’s alleged extra-judicial killings during his anti-drug war, which the ICC will be investigating soon.

It’s amazing though how Tatad can sneak in another fake news in a bigger fake news. “Leaked ICC documents?” My foot. I read the ICC reports that the only “documents” they have, on which they stupidly they based their decision to investigate,” are the biased reports of such Duterte-bashers as Rappler, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Vera Files and New York-based Sheila Coronel β€” all whom were apparently told by their US handlers that Duterte would fall if they just continue reporting on the EJKs.


But then I may be futilely trying to find a reason for this madness. How could he have thought to write a piece of fake news, using false information in a single article of the biased Philippine Daily Inquirer, which I am convinced was a paid-for piece? How could he have reported a supposed SC decision when all the high court’s decisions are posted on its website, which anybody can access with a few clicks of the keyboard?

Or probably because of his maintenance medications, Tatad might have deluded himself that it is still the martial law period, when he could control the media, and his words cannot be challenged. He is wishing for this Duterte sinner, a killer, to be indicted and to burn in hell. I hope he is reminded that lying is a sin, and a mortal one even, forgivable, I would surmise, if he confesses it not to a priest, but to the nation.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Dorina S. Rojas

    Now Tatad is in the same category as Rappler, Vera Files, PDI and that equally ugly inside and out like Maria Ressa – Shiela Coronel. As I was reading the article, I knew it was fake and was wondering how Tatad became a spin doctor and a plagiarist. He was good during the time of PFEM and if he is trying to drive a wedge between Sara and Bongbong, he is digging his own grave as a journalist.

  2. Hilarious that until now, Tatad is still being Tatad, doing the bidding for his American paymasters. His name is actually among the list of little brown Amboys mentioned in those leaked US Embassy/State Dept./CIA internal memos that Julian Assange and Wikileaks released to the public years ago, this shameless shill is literally on the payroll of the US government since the 70s, along with Jose Almonte and the rest of that usual gaggle of pro-US-in-everything colonial-minded influence-peddlers.

    As for the pathetic ICC, everyone who isn’t in awe of the condescending neo-colonialist white man knows that it’s merely an EU-funded pressure group to keep in line those pesky “third world” leaders who don’t kowtow to and don’t act as doormats to the imperialists who still act like these superiority-complex afflicted bearers of “freedom and democracy” to the unwashed masses of the Global South.

    “There exists no control of the ICC, even when its general prosecutor is a corrupt criminal. The Court is reserved exclusively for the service of those who pay for it – the European Union.”

    “This is why the three greatest world States – China, the United States and Russia – refused to ratify it. They saw in it – quite rightly – a violation of the principle of sovereignty, formulated in the 18th century by the legal expert Emer de Vattel, and voted into action by the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties [1].”

    “It no longer pretends to help states render justice but has proclaimed itself the defender of humanity against states.

    It is important to understand what is happening – over the last few years, the ICC has mainly been financed by the European Union, and has drawn up its own code. Until 2016, it tried only African defendants under its own laws and found them all guilty. After a vote by its Parliament, Burundi then decided to withdraw from the Rome Statute, on the motive that the ICC had become β€œan instrument of pressure on the governments of poor countries, or a means of destabilizing them according to the desires of the great powers.” Three other states then followed – Gambia, the Philippines and South Africa.”

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