PRESIDENT Rordigo Duterte did not react to the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to allow the conduct of investigation on the alleged crimes against humanity in the Philippines in the context of the war on drugs, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said on Thursday, September 16, 2021.
“Nagbalita po ako kahapon kay Presidente (Rodrigo Duterte). Wala pong reaksyon si Presidente kasi mula’t mula pa, sinabi na niya na mamamatay muna siya bago siya haharap sa dayuhan na huwes,” Roque said in a press briefing.
Roque maintained that the charges in relation to the government’s drug war should be filed before the local courts which are fully functioning and willing to prosecute.
He reiterated that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines since the government already withdrew its membership to the Rome Statute which created the ICC.
Roque said without the participation of the government, the ICC investigation will lead to nothing but failure
“Sa kanilang sistema (ICC) ‘yung prosecutor hahanap ng ebidensya. Ang problema kung hindi na tayo miyembro at wala nang duty to cooperate paano sila makakakakalap ng ebidensya? Paano gagawin nila kung hindi makikipag-cooperate ang mga pulis para ibigay ang mga pulis report, hindi magco-cooperate ‘yung forensic experts na gumagawa ng medico-legal, hindi magco-cooperate ‘yung pulis kung ano naging resulta ng kanilang imbestigasyon,” he said.
“Matutulog lang po yang kasong ‘yan,” he added.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, September 15, the ICC said it has granted the request of former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to pursue the probe chamber found that the “specific legal element of the crime against humanity of murder” has been met amid the killings committed in the country between July 1, 2016, when Duterte took office, and March 16, 2019, when the Philippines’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute took effect.
It said the same legal element was also found present with respect to the killings in the Davao area between November 1, 2011 and June 30, 2016, when Duterte was still then the City's mayor.
The chamber also considered the representation from 204 victims of the drug war.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo in a separate television interview maintained that the ICC’s intention to interfere into the country’s domestic affairs is a violation to its rights.
He said ICC investigators will not be allowed to enter the country.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch senior Philippine researcher Carlos Conde said the decision of the ICC offers a “much-needed check” on Duterte’s “deadly” drug war.
“Victims' families and survivors have reason to hope that those responsible for crimes against humanity could finally face justice,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)