Palace: Gov’t won’t go after Sabio for vilifying Duterte
MANILA, Philippines—The government will not go after lawyer Jude Sabio for vilifying President Rodrigo Duterte, Malacañang said Thursday after the lawyer announced he was withdrawing the complaint he filed before the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing the Chief Executive of crimes against humanity in his brutal war on drugs.
In a Palace briefing, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte does not mind his detractors and acknowledges that criticisms are part of the country’s democracy.
“If you noticed, the President doesn’t mind all of this. Pinapabayaan niya lang iyong naninira sa kaniya ‘di ba. Wala naman siyang dinidemanda, (He’s just not paying attention to those who vilify him. He has not sued anyone),” Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, told reporters.
“Kahit anumang—iyon naman ang ano ni Presidente eh, lahat ng mga kasinungalingan ninyo, lumalabas eventually hindi totoo (Whatever lies they throw about the President, eventually the truth comes out). It only shows that this is a robust democracy in place,” he added.
Sabio earlier 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.
In his communication, 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.
However, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor claimed that Sabio’s actions would not affect its examination of the allegations against Duterte.
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.
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.
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