VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Debunked FAKE NEWS on opinion of 'legal expert' about ICC back on social media

An already disproven fake news story about a "law expert" saying the International Criminal Court (ICC) cannot prosecute President Rodrigo Duterte because of his "high approval ratings" is making rounds on the web once again.

The faux post, bearing the headline "Law Expert to ICC: You cannot prosecute a President who has a very high approval ratings in his country!," is a Feb. 13 story by website that basically copies a June 2017 fake report by It is back on social media this month.

Meme Buster, a site that debunks fake news, already disproved the 2017 report a day after it was published, discovering the story's fabrication of facts is five-fold:

  • No such "Dr. Alfred Sanders" works at the College of Law of London's Oxford University;
  • The photo the website uses of Sanders is actually of German politician Martin Schulz;
  • The website does not state the name of the "international legal forum" where Sanders supposedly made the claim;
  • The website flip-flops on the figures it uses about Duterte's approval rating, once saying 75%, on other times 78% -- Pulse Asia Research Inc.'s findings in its April 2017 survey is actually 78%;
  • The book the website claims Sanders wrote, The Rise of American Democracy, was actually written by Sean Wilentz and bore the more complete title, The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln

Also, no Alfred Sanders has been awarded Knight Grand Cross, nor given The Order of the Bath, which are the highest orders of knighthood that may be given to citizens of the united Kingdom.

Facebook detected the story going around social media again this June as both opposition senators and the Philippine Coalition for the ICC, which had campaigned for the Philippines' membership in the international court, filed petitions at the Supreme Court to declare invalid Duterte's withdrawal of the country from the ICC.

Duterte's move came after the ICC announced in February it was opening a preliminary investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings in the government's war on drugs.'s story has been shared more than 160 times by various social media accounts and pages. The website has been publishing stories since July 2016.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)


VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Website revives twice-flagged FAKE report on Duterte and ICC

A fake story about a non-existent "law expert" defending President Rodrigo Duterte from pending…

​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: ICC case vs Duterte NOT 'thrown out'

This story is fake. Don't believe it.

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: De Lima DID NOT apply as ICC counsel

This story is false. Don't believe it.

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.”

Contact Us

Email us at