ICC decision to probe drug war killings gets no reaction from Duterte — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte had no reaction when he was informed of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to start an investigation into the drug war killings in the country, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said he himself informed the President of the ICC decision on Wednesday night after they recorded the President’s public address.
“Wala pong reaction si Presidente dahil sa mula’t mula ay sinasabi niya na siya’y mamamatay muna bago siya haharap sa mga dayuhan mga huwes,” he said in a Palace briefing.
(The President had no reaction because ever since he said he will die first before he faces foreign judges.)
“Kung mayroong mga reklamo, dapat dito isampa sa Pilipinas dahil ang ating mga hukuman ay gumagana at ang korte ng ICC ay walang hurisdiksyon,” he added.
(If there are complaints, they should be filed here in the Philippines because our judicial system is working and the ICC has no jurisdiction over the country.)
Malacañang maintains that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines since its judicial system is functioning and the country withdrew from the Rome Statute effective March 2019.
“Sa kanya [President Duterte], bahala sila [ICC] kung ano gusto nilang gawin. Ang paninindigan ni President Duterte, lahat ng gustong mag reklamo, bukas ang mga hukuman sa Pilipinas,” Roque said.
(For President Duterte, just let the ICC do whatever it wants. For his part, those who want to complain can do so in our own courts.)
The ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber I has approved the start of the probe into the crimes against humanity cases filed against President Rodrigo Duterte in connection with the drug war killings.
The request for authorization to investigate the case against Duterte was filed last June 14 by Fatou Bensouda, who was then the ICC chief prosecutor.
The probe will cover crimes committed from Nov. 1, 2011, to March 16, 2019.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo earlier said the Philippines will not cooperate when ICC launches its formal investigation into the drug war killings.
Malacañang earlier said Duterte will never cooperate in any investigation to be initiated by the ICC on killings linked to the government’s war against illegal drugs.
According to the ICC, it still has jurisdiction over the alleged crimes because they took place from Nov. 1, 2011, to March 16, 2019 — when the Philippines was still a signatory of the statute.
However, President Duterte earlier argued that the Rome Statute had no legal effect as it was not published in the Official Gazette.
The Supreme Court earlier unanimously voted that Duterte could not invoke the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute to evade investigation by the ICC.
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