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Busted: Oxford law professor said ICC cannot prosecute Duterte due to his high approval ratings? It’s fake news!

A professor at Oxford University’s College of Law is allegedly saying that the International Criminal Court (ICC) cannot prosecute President Rodrigo Duterte because he has a “very high approval rating” in the Philippines.
The story has been shared close over 25,000 times, based on Facebook search results, after it was published by and

It originated from, which published some fake stories, one of which we have debunked. The hoax claimed that BBC anchorman Stephen Sackur said Filipinos should elect more intelligent senators next time.

The story was shared by several Facebook pages, such as Showbiz Government, Rody Duterte News Portal, Favradio, and The Pandora’s Box.

It was also shared by some individual Facebook users, which once again included this certain Raden A. Payas, to several Facebook groups, such as (vf) DDS Diehard Duterte Supporters, Marcos Defenders Worldwide Unlimited, Rody R. Duterte Movement Universal, President Duterte V.P Marcos Worldwide Supporters, Cruelty of Noynoy “Abnoy” Aquino and His Government, and Protectors of Our Beloved President Digong!,” among others.

According to, a certain Dr. Alfred Sanders, described as an “Oxford College of Law professor and international law expert, slammed the ICC over the complaint filed against Duterte due to human rights violations. Sanders allegedly made his case against the international court during an “international legal forum” in Munich, Germany on June 23. He was reported to have said that it is not possible to file criminal complaints against a leader like Duterte because of his very high approval ratings.

Sanders was said to have described Duterte’s 78% approval rating as “very high.”

He was also quoted saying the following during the unspecified forum:

“Based from the documents circulated to the delegates, the cases filed against the Philippine President was sponsored by politicians. This alone can raise many questions. Why politicians? Why not civil society groups? And based on the latest report coming from the Philippines, President Duterte’s public approval rating sits at 75%. Is this the type of man who kill his own people? I’m not convinced.”

The said legal forum was participated in by over 300 law professors from Europe and the United States and President Duterte was reportedly one of the most highly-debated topics. further described Sanders as a 72-year-old professor who teaches doctoral law at the Oxford University in the UK. He was a recognized professor who received Knight Grand Cross and Order of Bath. He also reportedly wrote The Rise of American Democracy fifth edition.

However, Pinoy Observer has truly stuck to its roots of being a fake news site by sprouting these lies:

  1. No Dr. Alfred Sanders at Oxford

First, we cannot find anything about a Dr. Alfred Sanders who teaches at Oxford. We looked at the list of academics, faculty officers, and visiting professors at the university’s College of Law but there was no “Dr. Alfred Sanders” in there.

  1. Photo used was of a German politician

The photo paraded around by Pinoy Observer and Favradio to make it seem like he is Dr. Alfred Sanders is that of German politician Martin Schulz. We Google reverse image searched the photo and found this:

  1. No specific name for the “international legal forum”

It would have been easier to confirm whether the forum really happened or not if they specified it, but of course, they were not able to give the name of the event, where Sanders was said to have defended Duterte.

  1. Inconsistent figures for Duterte’s approval rating

They used both 78% and 75% for President Duterte’s approval rating. In truth, it is actually 78%, based on the results released by Pulse Research Inc. on April 5. The survey was conducted from March 15 to 20.

  1. Book was written by another author

Pinoy Observer said that Sanders wrote The Rise of American Democracy. However, there is an actual book called The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln that was written by Sean Wilentz and originally published in 2005.

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