Palace: Duterte will never cooperate with ICC probe
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will never cooperate in any investigation to be initiated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on killings linked to the government’s war against illegal drugs, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the remark in response to the ICC’s request for judicial authorization to proceed with an investigation on the Philippine government’s drug war.
Roque said the President will not cooperate on any probe since the Philippines is no longer a member of the ICC.
Roque also claimed that the case against the President is politically motivated as evidence gathered for the case came from communists and politicians who are enemies of Duterte.
“Hindi ba pulitika nag dahilan kung bakit sinampa ang kasong yan? This is now a political issue. hinding-hindi mag cooperate ang Presidente hanggang tapos ng kanyang termino sa June 30, 2022,” Roque said in a press briefing in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
(Was it not politics the reason why the case was filed? This is now a political issue. The President will never cooperate until his term ends on June 30, 2022.)
Roque also reasoned that the ICC can only make a move when there are no domestic courts in a member state.
He said it is an insult to Filipinos for foreigners to state that the legal system in the Philippines is not working.
“Hindi tayo pumayag na ang ICC ang magsa-substitute sa ating lokal na piskal at lokal na hukuman. Walang hadlang na maimbestigahan ang mga kasong ito sa Pilipinas,” he said.
“Insulto kasi sa lahat ng mga Pilipino para ang dayuhan na magsabi na ‘yung mga legal na institution sa Pilipinas ay hindi gumagana at hindi nagbibigay ng katarungan,” Roque added.
While the withdrawal of the Philippines from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the treaty which created the ICC, took effect on March 17, 2019, the ICC retains jurisdiction with respect to alleged crimes that took place in the Philippines when it was still an ICC member state from November 2011 to March 16, 2019.
The ICC request for a formal investigation is also “legally erroneous,” Roque insisted.
In December 2019, the ICC vowed to continue assessing the complaints against Duterte even though the Philippines had withdrawn from the Rome Statute. The ICC said it still had jurisdiction over the case as it had been filed before the country’s withdrawal.
The complaint was drawn up by the Rise Up for Life and Rights, which is composed of the relatives of drug war victims and other human rights advocates.
In December 2020, the ICC said that it had a reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity were committed in the conduct of the drug war.