Trillanes says he filed early ICC intervention on Duterte’s war on drugs
MANILA, Philippines — Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday clarified that he and former Magdalo Congressman Gary Alejano filed a communication with the International Criminal Court (ICC) on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs ahead of the leftist groups.
In a statement, Trillanes said that the communication he and Alejano filed in June 2017 adopted and supplemented the one filed by lawyer Jude Josue Sabio in April that year.
“The formal withdrawal of Atty. Sabio from the ICC in January 2020 merely removed himself as a stakeholder and did not affect the case in any way since ICC’s processes are different from our own court processes. Besides, as mentioned, our communication formally adopted and even supplemented the one that he filed,” he said.
He noted that both communications were used as the primary basis of ICC’s preliminary examination on several complaints of crimes against humanity against Duterte in February 2018.
Trillanes, who is known as one of the President’s most strident critics, explained that Atty. Romel Bagares and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDF) filed their separate communications around mid to late 2018.
“Atty. Rommel Bagares and the CPP/NPA/NDF groups filed their communications with the ICC only around mid to late 2018. Therefore, there could be some misrepresentation to say that they are spearheading the efforts in relation to Duterte’s ICC case,” Trillanes told the reporters.
However, Bagares, a professorial lecturer in International Law at the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) College of Law, denied Trillanes’ claims.
“I never filed a communication with the ICC for and on behalf of the CPP-NPA-NDF,” he told Inquirer.net on Friday.
“But as a professor of international law, I have been invited on many occasions by media to say that the communication filed by his erstwhile lawyer Jude Sabio was infirm, because it largely covered matters not subject to the temporal jurisdiction of the ICC,” he added.
In a recent Twitter post, Trillanes spelled out that Bagares is not associated with the groups he mentioned.
“[L]et me clarify that Atty. Bagares is not a communist. I never said that in my tweet. However, he is a long time law partner of Sec. Harry Roque. Therefore, Atty. Bagares should not be part of any coalition re the ICC case as he could compromise any info/legal strategy,” the former senator said.
“Also, this guy was the same one harping around saying that what we filed in 2017 was legally infirm and would be dismissed daw. Well, he was dead wrong,” he followed.
Meanwhile, former Congressman Teddy Casiño asked Trillanes on Twitter to not red tag the family members of EJK victims and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) – who also filed a communication with ICC.
“It was the mothers and family members of the EJK victims of Duterte’s drug war who filed with the ICC through the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL). Pls don’t red tag them,” said Casiño.
In 2018, activists and families of eight victims represented by NUPL filed a 50-page complaint against Duterte for the EJKs and “brazen” executions by police acting with impunity.
Trillanes later clarified that he did not mention nor connected the families of EJK victims and NUPL to the leftist groups. Still, he maintained that the CPP-NPA-NDF filed a separate complaint.
“I did not mention in my tweet that the mothers of the victims are CPP/NPA/NDF. I believe they are not communists. How sure are you that the CPP/NPA/NDF did not file any other communication with the ICC, are you in touch with them?” asked Trillanes in a Tweet.
“Well, based on my impeccable intel sources, nag-file ang CPP/NPA/NDF; but let me categorically state that the mothers of the EJK victims are not communists,” he added.
(Well, based on my impeccable intel sources, CPP/NPA/NDF filed a communication; but let me categorically state that the mothers of the EJK victims are not communists.)
Reds ‘in bed’ with Duterte
Supporting his claim that the reds filed their complaint months after his communication, he cited the three officials who were part of Duterte’s Cabinet in 2018.
“As a background, during the first two years of the Duterte administration, the CPP/NPA/NDF is in a power-sharing/coalition government with Duterte. In fact, there were at least 3 Cabinet secretaries from the CPP/NPA/NDF,” said Trillanes.
The former senator was referring to peasant leader Rafael Mariano, social worker Judy Taguiwalo, and former congresswoman Liza Maza.
“During those times, they never called out Duterte for the EJKs (extrajudicial killings) and, therefore, did not file a case with the ICC. It was only when the peace talks were eventually scrapped by Duterte that they started raising issues against him,” he stated.
“So, again, it is clear that when the CPP/NPA/NDF was still in bed with Duterte, they countenanced Duterte’s EJKs,” he added. [je]
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