Roque: FPRRD to invoke right vs self-incrimination

Ex-presidential spox Harry Roque says Duterte won’t appear in committee hearing on war on drugs
Rodrigo Roa Duterte
Rodrigo Roa DuterteSunStar File Photo

FORMER president Rodrigo Duterte won’t be attending any bicameral hearing related to his administration’s war on drugs. Instead, he will only be appearing if the court in the Philippines would compel him.

Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that Duterte would not attend the ongoing House Committee on Human Rights inquiry on the war on drugs campaign, invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination.

Roque, however, said the former president is “willing and able” to appear in any court to answer any criminal accusation on extralegal killings related to the drug war campaign.

“As guaranteed by our Bill of Rights, Congress cannot compel FPRRD [Duterte] to be a witness against himself,” Roque said.

The former spokesperson said Duterte has been telling the hearing at the House of Representatives “is not the proper forum to investigate any criminal allegation against him.”

“Tatay Digong is unafraid to face all his accusers in any domestic court. He will cooperate and participate in any criminal investigation, provided that Filipino prosecutors conduct the proceeding," Roque said.

Citing the Supreme Court rulings on People vs Ayson (1989) and Rosete vs. Lim (2006), Roque, a law practitioner, said the right against self-incrimination prescribes an “option of refusal to answer incriminating questions and not a prohibition of inquiry.”

He added that every person who gives evidence, whether voluntary or under compulsion of subpoena, in any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding is accorded the same constitutional right.

“Any witness, whether he is a party or not, has the right to refuse to answer questions that may incriminate him for some crime,” the former official said.

On June 25, the Lower House invited Duterte to respond to issues on extrajudicial killings that allegedly occurred during his administration’s anti-drug campaign.

Duterte, a former Davao City mayor, is also facing a possible warrant of arrest from the International Criminal Court related to the crimes against humanity in the implementation of his war on drugs. RGL

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