VP Sara ready to face ICC charges 'only before a Filipino court'

Denies she had a “death squad” when she was mayor of Davao City
Vice President Sara Duterte
Vice President Sara DuterteOVP/File Photo

“Gayunpaman, haharapin ko ang anumang akusasyon laban sa akin (Nevertheless, I will face whatever allegations against me). But I will only face any charge against me before a Filipino judge — and only before a Filipino court,” Duterte stated on her Facebook page.

She added that she would not be a part of a process that would bring shame and ruin the dignity of all of the judges, the court, and the entire justice system of the Philippines.

“Huwag nating ipahiya ang bansa sa buong mundo sa pamamagitan ng pagpapahintulot sa mga dayuhan na manghimasok at makialam sa Pilipinas. Ang kahiligan na magpailalim sa mga dayuhan ay sampal sa mga bayaning Pilipino na nagbuwis ng kanilang buhay at lumaban para lang sa ating kalayaan (Let us not embarrass our country before the whole world by allowing foreigners to interfere in the Philippines. Our tendency to submit to foreigners is a slap to the Filipino heroes who gave up their lives to fight for our freedom),” Duterte said.

She also said that when she was elected as Vice Mayor and Mayor in Davao City she was never accused or was involved in the so-called “Davao Death Squad”, but when she was elected as Vice President, a witness suddenly appeared against her in ICC.

“Matapos akong manalo bilang Vice President, bigla na lang nagkaroon ng testigo laban sa akin at ngayon ay kasama na ako sa mga akusado sa International Criminal Court. Hindi ko kailangan ng death squad para sa mga bagay na kaya kong gawin (After I won as Vice President, suddenly there was a witness against me and now I am among the accused in the International Criminal Court. I do not need a death squad to do things that I can do),” Duterte said.

Duterte served as vice mayor of Davao City from 2007 to 2010 and was elected mayor from 2010 to 2013, and 2016 to 2019. 

On the same day, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that he does not recognize the jurisdiction of ICC in the Philippines and that he considers it a threat to the country’s sovereignty

He added that the Philippine government will not aid ICC but they are welcome to visit the country; however, he mandated every agency in the country that if ICC comes into contact with them they must not respond.

“We do not recognize your jurisdiction; therefore, we will not assist in any way, shape, or form, in any investigation that the ICC is doing in the Philippines,” Marcos said.

Prior to this, former senator Antonio Trillanes IV claimed to have learned that during their December visit to the nation, ICC investigators had amassed sufficient proof against former President Rodrigo Duterte about his war on drugs campaign. He said that what they are waiting for is the warrant of arrest which will come soon.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte during his Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa program that was aired on SMNI News on January 30, 2023, called the ICC’s decision to proceed with the preliminary investigation on the war on drugs an “insult” to the Philippines and even questioned the authority of ICC to conduct their investigation inside the country. 

During his administration, he mandated that the country withdraw its membership to the Rome Statute in March 2018. The statute laid the foundation for the creation of the ICC. 

Last July 2023, the ICC appeals chamber allowed a request to resume the investigation into an alleged murder crime against humanity in the Philippines concerning the contentious drug campaign, which took place between November 1, 2011, until March 16, 2019. RGP with reports from TPM and RGL

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