Panelo says Duterte not afraid of ‘Caucasian’ probe
MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte is not afraid to face an international body’s investigation into his brutal war on drugs, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said this after Duterte declared that he will only answer to a Philippine court, a week after the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) moved to adopt a resolution asking the body to look deeply into the human rights situation in the Philippines.
“I will not answer a Caucasian…You must be stupid. Who are you? I am a Filipino. We have our courts here. (Why) you have to bring me somewhere else? I would not like that. I have my country. It’s working, I know it’s working (and) justice is working here,” Duterte said.
Asked if the President is referring to the UNHRC, Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said Duterte was in fact referring to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“He refers to the ICC case. Kasi di ba sa ICC they…it can bring someone subject of any complaint or charge sa international court. He will not allow that. He will only allow a Philippine court to try him, under a Filipino judge and a Filipino prosecutor,” he said in a Palace briefing.
Asked if it was fear on Duterte’s part, the Palace official said: “No. Sinasabihan niya lang na ano kayo sinuswerte?”
“Diba from the very start sinasabi natin you’re assaulting our sovereignty, you cannot do that. Unang-una we are not even a member of that international court na ‘yan,” he added.
Last March, the Philippines officially withdrew its ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty that formed the ICC after it moved to conduct a preliminary examination on the administration’s brutal war on drugs.
The Duterte administration maintains that the ICC never acquired jurisdiction over the Philippines, pointing to the non-publication of the Rome Statute in the government’s Official Gazette. /muf
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