Palace: Duterte unfazed by ICC probe on drug war killings
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is unfazed by the request of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) for judicial authorization to probe the crimes against humanity case filed against him in connection with the government’s war on illegal drugs, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte will let ICC investigators do whatever they want “if they could” but he will continue to assert the sovereignty of the Philippines.
“The President has not been bothered by this case. They can do whatever they want. The President is firm that he has to do what has to be done as duly elected President,” Roque said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“That’s the proper perspective of the President. Let them do what they want if they could but meanwhile, he will assert Philippine sovereignty and independence from foreign interference,” he added.
But if Duterte is cool to the ICC probe, why not just allow the ICC to investigate the allegation that killings were committed in pursuit of the President’s war against drugs?
“It’s as simple as there is such a thing as sovereignty. Sovereignty is exclusive, it is exercised to the exclusion of others and that’s what our basis of concern when we became a member of the ICC,” Roque said.
“Sovereignty and jurisdiction are only exercised by domestic states and in an exclusive manner. That simply is that nature of an independent sovereign state,” he went on.
Roque earlier said Duterte will never cooperate with the ICC probe, claiming it is politically motivated and it is an insult making it appear that the Philippines’ legal system is not working.
It was in February 2018 when the ICC launched a preliminary examination on Duterte’s alleged human rights violations due to his bloody campaign against illegal drugs.
A month after, Duterte declared that the Philippines was withdrawing from the ICC. Even so, the ICC maintained it will continue assessing the complaints against Duterte as it still had jurisdiction over the case which was filed before the country’s withdrawal.
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