PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. has joined the national government’s call for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to respect the country’s sovereignty amid the re-opening of a probe on the alleged crime against humanity of murder in the country during former President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-illegal drug campaign.
In a press conference in Camp Crame on Monday, January 30, 2023, Azurin reiterated that the PNP is not hiding anything on matters pertaining to the drug war and has since been cooperative with the investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) especially on lapses on police operational procedures during the conduct of anti-drug operations.
“The PNP encourages the ICC to respect the Philippines sovereignty and acknowledge the capacity of the Philippines’ judicial system,” Azurin said in a press conference in Camp Crame on Monday, January 30, 2023.
“As the PNP has always maintained, that the Philippines has a robust, efficient, and functioning criminal justice system with active legal proceedings and remedies available to address any claim of human rights abuses in the government's anti-illegal drug campaign. This is evidenced by ongoing investigations on all drug related deaths and cases of successful prosecution of some government personnel involved in related crimes,” he added.
Currently, Azurin said there were 52 cases filed against police officers over alleged irregularities in the conduct of anti-illegal drugs operations. These were among the 300 case folders submitted by the PNP to the DOJ for further probe.
Azurin urged the families of the alleged drug war victims to reach out to them instead of the ICC, assuring that they will be assisted accordingly.
“That's why [we] don't see any reason why the ICC would come in to investigate because tuloy-tuloy naman ang ginagawang imbestigasyon ng ating kapulisan in tandem with the DOJ,” the top cop said.
“I think it's just a matter of reaching out sino ba ‘yung nagcocomplain na ito sa ICC so that they could engage us and we promised, the PNP will help na bigyan ng hustisya kung hustisya ang hinihingi nila,” he added referring to the families of the alleged drug war victims.
Last week, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I allowed the resumption of the prosecutor’s probe in the Philippines saying they were not satisfied that the government is undertaking relevant investigations especially on the deaths related to the drug war that would warrant a deferral of its investigations on the basis of the complementarity principle.
The DOJ said the probe is not welcome in the country considering its well-functioning justice system which gained support from the Malacañang. (SunStar Philippines)