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Diokno spews the same lie Rappler first made in 2017

You are currently viewing Diokno spews the same lie Rappler first made in 2017

IT’s unethical for “human rights” lawyer Jose Diokno to lie to a Congress committee hearing, claiming that the Office of the President (OP) itself under President Rodrigo Duterte listed 20,322 drug war-related deaths among its accomplishments in a 2017 report.

This lawyer merely repeated that falsehood first made by the news website Rappler back in 2017, which that vehemently anti-Duterte outfit continuously updated such that the gullible International Court of Justice was easily persuaded that so many Filipinos were killed in that president’s war on drugs that he has to be prosecuted for “crimes against humanity.”

Where does it say there were 20,322 drug-war deaths?

Diokno hates Duterte so much that he has stupidly or maliciously followed the same trick in manipulating figures to claim there were 20,322 drug war-related deaths from July 2016 to November 2017, even telling a congressional committee that the figure was mentioned in the 2017 year-end accomplishment report of the Office of the President.

The lawyer is a liar. As shown in the accompanying image, the OP reported, based on PNP data, that there were 3,967 “drug personalities who died in antidrug operations from July 1, 2016 to November 2017” and 16,355 homicide cases under investigation in roughly the same period. This category of “cases under investigation” had nothing to do with the war on drugs.

Diokno, however, added the police data on deaths due to the drug war, 3,967, to the 16,355 homicide cases under investigation, to tell a Congress committee that such a huge figure, 20,322, were killed in Duterte’s war against drugs.

Another figure

Diokno lied to the congressional human rights committee: “Of the 20,322 who were killed according to the OP report, 3,967 Filipinos were killed by police in police operations, during the period from July 1, 2016 to November 27, 2017,” he said. “Then there is another figure, 16,355 killed by riding-in-tandem and other unknown persons during the same period,” he added.

That’s a product of Diokno’s imagination. No such riding-in-tandem killings were reported in the OP report. That figure represented the homicides that the PNP had to investigate, which had nothing to do with the drug war.


To dramatize his false claims, Diokno said: “Your honor, all of these people who were killed, that would fill up the SM Mall of Asia Arena.” That mall indeed has a capacity of 20,000, but the PNP data is that only 6,250 were killed in the antidrug war by the end of Duterte’s term. Diokno’s attempt to get the Congress committee to visualize how many the war on drugs killed backfired, if one thinks about it.

Deaths numbering 20,000 in 16 months that would fill that Arena could not have been handled by hospital morgues and funeral homes: Manhattan had just 9,000 Covid deaths at the height of the pandemic and media showed photos and videos of the dead having to be put in refrigerator vans. There were no such reports at that time of morgues and funeral homes being so full of corpses. (There was one report of a Caloocan funeral home crowded with corpses. It turned out that these corpses were there for several months as no one claimed them or said they couldn’t afford the embalmment costs).

Indeed, a study by the Ateneo School of Government, funded by a Columbia University unit, concluded that there were 5,021 deaths in Duterte’s war vs drugs — lower than the government figure of 6,250. The study even claimed that it is the “most complete list of casualties that exists.” The UK magazine The Economist reported that ABS-CBN Research had a 6,840 figure; the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, an international research group, 7,742; and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 8,663.

The extreme outlier report is the one by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which claimed 12,000 to 30,000 drug-related deaths. Of course, this was because the ICC, as I have explained in several columns, relied on its claim that Duterte should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity, mostly from Rappler’s biased reports. (See TMT, “ICC case totally based on biased, inaccurate reports” Feb. 22, 2023 and “ICC report vs Duterte based solely on Rappler, biased media reports,” Feb. 20, 2023).


The ICC prosecutor swallowed hook, line and sinker Rappler’s claim that the war on drugs resulted in casualties from 12,000 to 30,000 and therefore had to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

Rappler back in 2017 distorted police data, in the way Diokno would do six years later. The PNP had released data that from June 2016 to January 2017, there were 2,555 “suspected drug personalities killed in police operations” and “4,525 victims in cases under investigation or investigation concluded.”

The PNP’s 4,525 figure represented those killed for reasons not due to the war on drugs, but for other conceivable reasons, from passion killing to murder.

Yet Rappler maliciously added the 2,555 drug-related deaths to the 4,525 deaths that had nothing to do with the war on drugs, resulting in a figure of 7,080 which was broadcast to the world to be the “real number of drug-related deaths.”


Using the same flawed method every year, the figure went up to 9,000 by the end of 2019 and then to 20,000 by the end of Duterte’s term. This lie was repeated again and again in Hitlerian fashion by the anti-Duterte propagandists, especially the US propaganda apparatus, which wanted the president toppled because of his anti-US, pro-China stance.

Former investigative journalist Sheila Coronel’s case shows how the Rappler lies spread worldwide. Based in the US, she wrote an article in a prestigious US magazine: “The drug war has claimed the lives of as many as 9,000 suspected drug dealers and users.” When I messaged her, asked her why didn’t she read my columns debunking that figure, and where did he get those figures, she replied: “Numerous reports quote that figure. Google it.” Communication ended.

It is not coincidental that the House Committee on Human Rights has started hearings where Diokno’s, and presumably other lies will be broadcast. I suspect the Red stragglers and the “Pink” Akbayan — a mercenary gang and Sen. Risa Hontiveros jukebox, respectively — have allied with this regime to get the ICC to prosecute Duterte and arrest him for the trumped-up charge of crimes against humanity.

They have to inflate the number of deaths during Duterte’s war on drugs to 30,000 and even more to justify their aim to get the former president out of the country. Only the ICC has managed to come up with the exaggerated, false figure of 30,000 deaths and one Kristina Conti, who carries the ICC title of “assistant to counsel,” has been gathering dirt desperately to prove that number.

Why? Removing Duterte from the country is the only way for the Marcos-Romualdez clan to continue in power. Only Duterte now has the political support to thwart this cabal’s overreaching agenda.

It is certainly ironic that Chel Diokno is in effect helping a clan that his father Pepe had fought and was jailed for.

Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao

X: @bobitiglao

Website: www.rigobertotiglao.com

This Post Has One Comment

  1. edwin nemeno

    I don’t even see any action from the ICC trying to investigate China’s water cannon bullying in our territorial waters.

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