Fact check: Marcos didn't say ICC reps won't be allowed entry to Philippines

Fact check: Marcos didn't say ICC reps won't be allowed entry to Philippines
Building of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
Wikimedia Commons

MANILA, Philippines — A YouTube video claims that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has said that representatives of the International Criminal Court, whose prosecutor plans to resume a probe into the previous administration’s “War on Drugs” would be denied entry to the Philippines.

CLAIM: YouTube channel Showbiz Fanaticz released a video titled “President BBM KINUMPIRMANG HINDI MAKAKAPASOK ang ICC sa PINAS | PBBM IPINAGTANGGOL si PRRD!” (President BBM confirms ICC would be denied entry to the Philippines | PBBM defends PRRD!).

RATING: This is false.

FACTS: Marcos did not mention that ICC representatives will be denied entry to the country when he said the Philippines has no intention of rejoining The Hague-based tribunal following its withdrawal in 2019.

What the post says

The post also has a thumbnail that reads: “ICC BIGONG MAKAPUNTA SA PILIPINAS MATAPOS I-REJECT NI BBM ANG PAGSALI MULI NG PILIPINAS SA ICC” (ICC fails to go to the Philippines after BBM rejects the Philippines rejoining ICC). This is incorrect.

In the video, an unnamed narrator claimed that Marcos blocked the moves of ICC to enter the country to conduct an investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs, and ensured that there will be no interference from the court.

The video also claimed that “diehard Duterte supporters” cheered the remarks of Marcos and that the president “bravely defended” his predecessor.

Philstar.com screenshot on August 4, 2022

What it left out

The post included a clip of Marcos’ interview with journalists on the sidelines of his visit to the Pasig Sports Complex vaccination site on Monday. There, he said: “The Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC.”

“Ang sinasabi naman namin may investigation dito at patuloy ang investigation, bakit magkakaroon ng ganoon?,” Marcos stressed.

(What we’re saying is there is already an investigation here and it’s ongoing, so why should they need to investigate?)

Marcos did not say that ICC representatives cannot enter the country. In fact, in January 2022, then-presidential candidate Marcos said he would allow ICC representatives to come to the Philippines as tourists, although not as probers.

ICC's Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) conducts investigations by gathering and evidence, questioning persons under investigation and questioning victims and witnesses.

Sending investigators to areas where alleged crimes happened is not the only way to gather evidence. The OTP can interview victims as well. Victims are also allowed to make written submissions through their lawyers. 

Essential context

In June, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan formally requested judges of the tribunal’s pre-trial chamber to move forward in the probe into the “war on drugs.” He said the government failed to demonstrate it has investigated cases of killings in police operations.

The ICC is a “court of last resort” and steps in and exercises jurisdiction only if member states are unwilling or unable to prosecute offenders. The government, however, insists local courts are functioning well and can exercise jurisdiction over any complaints.

In 2018, the Philippines withdrew its ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, after the court’s former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda launched a preliminary examination into the “war on drugs.” Despite the withdrawal, the court retained jurisdiction over alleged crimes that occurred in the Philippines while it was a State Party.

The country has until September 8 to provide the ICC a response to Khan’s request to pursue the investigation. 

Marcos said his administration would study the government’s response to Khan’s request.

“The ICC is a very different kind of court so we need to study it first. I told them, ‘you need to study its procedures well so that we will do things correctly and we do not misinterpret the things that we are doing,’” he said in Filipino.

Why did we fact-check this?

As of publication, the video has 31,359 views, with around 1,700 likes, on YouTube. The channel also has 687,000 subscribers.

We fact-checked this because having no plans to rejoin the ICC and barring probers from entering the country are two completely different things. The president’s decision not to rejoin will also not affect ongoing proceedings. — Gaea Katreena Cabico, reviewed by Kristine Joy Patag



This story is supported by the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts.

Philstar.com is also a founding partner of Tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 Philippines’ elections and an initiative of academe, civil society groups and media to counter disinformation and provide the public with verified information.

Want to know more about our fact-checking initiative? Check our FAQs here. Have a claim you want fact-checked? Reach out to us at [email protected].





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