De Lima: ‘Desperate forces’ behind withdrawal of ICC complaint vs Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — Opposition Senator Leila De Lima is convinced there are “desperate forces” behind the withdrawal of the complaint filed before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Rodrigo Duterte for alleged crimes against humanity in his brutal war on drugs.
De Lima, a staunch Duterte administration critic, issued the statement Wednesday after lawyer Jude Josue Sabio announced he was withdrawing the ICC complaint he had filed in 2017 against Duterte, claiming that it was supposedly just a part of the political propaganda of the opposition Liberal Party.
“I feel sorry for Atty. Sabio. I can understand that he is going through personal issues that forced him to turn his back on the cause of the victims of mass atrocities. Whatever is the true reason for such an awful move. Atty. Sabio has become very vulnerable to the machinations from the dark forces,” De Lima said in a statement.
“I’m pretty sure there are forces, desperate ones, behind this development,” she added.
The LP stalwart suspected that the “voices of temptation could be difficult to resist” that prompted Sabio’s move.
However, De Lima said the move is “too late” and will hardly have a significant effect on the progress of the current ICC intervention as there are other communications filed against Duterte.
“The Sabio Communication may be the first, but not the only one under consideration by the ICC,” the former justice secretary said.
In his 2017 complaint, Sabio cited the “continuing mass murder” in the Philippines as shown by the thousands of Filipinos killed in Duterte’s anti-criminality and anti-drug campaigns.
In August 2018, activists and families of eight victims of drug war filed another communication against Duterte, accusing him of murder and “crimes against humanity” over the government’s crackdown on illegal drugs in the extrajudicial killings and “brazen” executions by police acting with impunity.
They were assisted by the National Union of Peoples Lawyers.
Duterte withdrew the Philippines from the Rome Statute in 2018 after ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a “preliminary examination” of the allegations in Sabio’s communication.
The withdrawal took effect in March 2019, making the Philippines the second nation to quit the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal.
Edited by KGA
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