IN NUMBERS: The freed 1,914 heinous crime convicts

Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: Philippines

Organisation: Rappler

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 9 Nov 2019

Credit: Rambo Talabong and Michael Bueza

Project description:

The story comprises of data kept from the public by the Philippine government with regards to convicts who have been released after serving time for heinous crimes. These freed men have been ordered rearrested by President Rodrigo Duterte on a whim.

Impact reached:

The story unveils the Philippine government’s faulty data-keeping in its campaign to rearrest released convicts who have served time for heinous crimes, which means the President’s order stood on wrong records.

We found that  not all of the 1,914 heinous crime convicts were released because of the law cited by the President as the reason for their mistaken release. We also found that despite the President’s anger about releasing the heinous crimes convicts, most of the releases were done under his own administration.

After the story’s publication, the government admitted using faulty data in following the President’s arrest order and after failing to validate their data, they suspended their massive arrest campaign.

Techniques/technologies used:

We used Google Sheets to arrange the data, and then Datawrapper and Flourish to visualize.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part was obtaining the data, which contained damning information on the basis for President Rodrigo Duterte’s arrest order.

What can others learn from this project?

Data on a systematic misstep is needed to assail a systematic misstep. Without data, stories cannot stand against questionnable policy decisions of the government.

Project links: