MANILA (Updated) – Lawmakers associated with the Magdalo Group on Tuesday filed before the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) a supplemental complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte over his deadly war on drugs that has so far taken thousands of lives.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Magdalo Partylist Representative Gary Alejano said their 45-page communication submitted before the Office of the Prosecutor of ICC "affirmed" and supplemented the communication earlier filed by lawyer Jude Sabio.
In a statement, Trillanes said their complaints are well within the jurisdiction of ICC, contrary to the claims of the President's allies that the cases must be tried first in the Philippines.
“The case of crimes against humanity against Duterte is very solid...Moreover, the Philippines, being a state party and Duterte being a Filipino, satisfy jurisdictional requirements. Any Filipino lawyer who says otherwise, should read the ICC policy papers first,” Trillanes said.
"[W]e are calling on the ICC to intervene and conduct preliminary examination of the situation in the country in order to prevent further extrajudicial killings and render justice in the country," Alejano further explained.
Contents of the information include the list of killings which transpired after the first communication to the ICC was filed by Sabio as well as other "systematic" methods of extrajudicial killings "done by police" and other "vigilante groups."
Several groups have alleged that the drug-related killings since last 2016 were orchestrated by Duterte and executed by the men of Philippine National Police.
Alejano early this year has filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte, only to be junked after majority of the lawmakers found it insufficient in substance.
“As to the complementarity requirements, the abruptly terminated Senate hearings plus Duterte’s immunity from suit and with the junking of the impeachment complaint, prove that our government is unwilling and unable to prosecute the perpetrators of the crimes," Alejano said.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, for his part, said Trillanes and Alejano's supplemental complaint against Duterte was merely based on "hearsay and unsubstantiated allegations."
"Their (Trillanes and Alejano) belated and remedial effort only goes to show that their initial complaint was based merely on hearsay and unsubstantiated allegations," Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo was confident that the petition lodged by the two lawmakers would not prosper, saying the ICC is merely a "court of last resort."
"Unfortunately for the misguided lawmakers, they cannot hope to cure a complaint which is intrinsically flawed, and worse, was filed before a tribunal that does not even have the jurisdiction in first place," Panelo said.
"It should be remembered that the ICC is a court of last resort and filing a case before it can only be resorted to after all domestic legal remedies are fully exhausted," he added.
Last April 24, Sabio filed before the ICC a complaint alleging that Duterte and other high-ranking government officials are committing crimes against humanity in their bloody war versus drugs. (SunStar Philippines)