Duterte wants accountability for those who used Sabio to file ICC case
President Duterte wants to hold accountable everyone who “used” lawyer Jude Josue Sabio in filing a complaint for crimes against humanity against him in the International Criminal Court (ICC), Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go disclosed on Friday.
“When the President learned that Sabio had admitted that he was just used by the [political] opposition, his directive was to make sure that all those behind this will be charged,” Go said in a Viber message to the Inquirer.
“[The President] wants to know who else [ordered Sabio] to do it and to make all those involved accountable,” he added.
Sabio, with the assistance of suspended lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, a known Duterte supporter, said he decided to withdraw the complaint, formally called a communication, he had filed in the ICC after realizing that it was “not in the interest of justice.”
He also pointed to former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and detained Sen. Leila de Lima as among those who directed him to bring the ICC complaint.
Go, who served as Mr. Duterte’s aide since he was mayor of Davao City, urged the ICC not to let itself become a tool of the President’s critics in their “black propaganda.”
He said he, too, fell victim to the “lies” of the opposition when he was accused of protecting big-time drug lords as alleged by Peter Advincula, the man who claimed to be “Bikoy” in the “The Real Narcolist” videos.
Like Sabio, Advincula has already retracted his allegations against Mr. Duterte and claimed he was just paid by opposition leaders to link the President, Go and their political allies in the illegal drug trade.
“It is sad that the [ICC] was [being] used by the enemies of the Filipino people as a venue to bring down the government that only wishes to serve the Filipinos,” Go said.
“The ICC must be wary of these opportunists trying to take advantage of the court for their own personal interests instead of fighting for the greater good,” he added.
Amid brickbats from critics, Sabio on Friday denied he was paid by administration lackeys to turn the tables on the political opposition by withdrawing his complaint for crimes against humanity against Mr. Duterte in the ICC.
“I deny vehemently that I was paid by anybody,” the lawyer said in an ANC interview.
He repeated the assertion at the Nanka Media Forum in Quezon City, in which he again appeared with Gadon.
Sabio explained his association with Gadon, whom he said had asked to meet him after he accused Trillanes of trying to recruit him to lawyer for Advincula.
Trillanes, however, denied he was directly connected to Advincula, saying the latter failed his vetting.
This angered Sabio, who said the former senator was lying.
Sabio also suggested that he was now questioning whether his former clients Edgar Matobato and Arturo Lascañas were telling the truth about the allegations of extrajudicial killings against the President.
“I’m not saying that Matobato and Lascañas lied. I’m only saying that the case is no longer in the interest of justice, and I’m acting in the interest of justice,“ he said.
He said his doubts and his subsequent decision to withdraw his communication from the ICC should be enough to prompt the tribunal to throw out the case entirely.
On Tuesday, Sabio asked the Office of the Prosecutor of the Hague-based ICC to expunge his complaint and recommended that the entire case be dismissed, as it was “just a part of the political propaganda” of the Liberal Party-led opposition.
The ICC prosecutor’s office, however, said Sabio’s purported withdrawal would have no effect on its preliminary examination of evidence against Mr. Duterte and his subordinates.
It said the communication, according to its rules, “cannot be withdrawn” once it is received and included in the evidence database, though the sender may opt to add supplemental information.
At the Nanka forum, Gadon admitted he would be the one to finance Sabio’s planned travel to The Hague to personally submit his withdrawal letter.
Sabio confirmed this but insisted he had not been paid anything for pulling out his ICC complaint.
“I will deny categorically any insinuation that I received any amount for this withdrawal … I am not for sale,” he said.
But Sabio said that should interested parties fund his travel and accommodations in The Hague, he found nothing wrong with that.
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