De Lima to Duterte: Stop hiding, face Int’l Criminal Court
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is hiding behind the “legal acrobatics of his men” rather than face the International Criminal Court (ICC), detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima said Thursday.
De Lima issued the statement after Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the government will not cooperate should the ICC investigate the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
“Instead of facing the music, Duterte is running scared,” De Lima said in a dispatch from Camp Crame, where she is detained for drug-related charges.
“Behind the delusional bravado of a tyrant is a man who hides behind the legal acrobatics of his men, rather than face justice before the International Criminal Court – which, unlike the brand of justice faced by victims of Tokhang and EJKs, at least accords him the opportunity to defend himself,” she added.
De Lima said Duterte’s “men,” particularly Panelo and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, argue four things, all of which betray that Duterte is “desperately” grasping at any excuse to escape jurisdiction of the ICC.
She noted that Guevarra argues that the ICC cannot exercise jurisdiction over the Philippines since the country’s justice system is working.
Guevarra also claimed that the letter of withdrawal from the ICC was only a matter of courtesy.
De Lima also pointed out that Guevarra earlier said that the thousands killed in the drug war do not constitute genocide or crimes against humanity.
Lastly, she said that Panelo claimed the ICC would be violating its own laws if it proceeds with a probe without preliminary investigation prior to the Philippines’s withdrawal.
The senator said that these attempts to argue reveal that the reason behind the withdrawal is the “purely self-serving attempt of a guilty man to flee from justice.”
“He may not yet be fleeing physically, but he is surely fleeing by abusing his powers as President and usurping the powers of two other branches of government,” De Lima said.
The detained senator said Duterte should fulfill his promise that he will take responsibility for all the deaths in the anti-drug campaign.
“After all the boasting about your willingness to sacrifice yourself supposedly to save the country by killing drug suspects, be man enough to face justice for the murders committed with your blessing and/or upon your open inducement,” De Lima said.
The Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC will take effect on Sunday, March 17, after the Supreme Court (SC) failed to issue a ruling on the consolidated petitions filed by six opposition senators and Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC) led by former Commission on Human Right chairperson Loretta Rosales. / gsg
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