Admin ally Eric Yap questions ICC’s purpose for probing Duterte, ‘drug war’
MANILA, Philippines — Administration ally ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap has doubted the motive of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in conducting an investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte and his war on drugs.
In a privilege speech during Monday’s session of the House of the Representatives, Yap said the timing of the ICC probe is dubious as it comes just as when campaign season for the 2022 elections was soon to commence.
“Ang tanong ko po sa ICC, magkano po’ng rason ang naibigay para po gawin nila ito? Kaduda-duda ang timing, Madam Speaker, na pagkatapos nilang manahimik, biglang magpopolitical season na po, ito pong ICC ngayon lalabas. At pati po ang Davao City ay gusto nilang imbestigahan sa allegedly ‘yong ibang namamatay na adik,” Yap said.
(My question to the ICC, how much is the reason that was given for them to do this? The timing is doubtful, Madam Speaker, that after their silence, suddenly, as the political season was to start, this ICC would emerge. And they even want to investigate Davao City for the alleged deaths of addicts.)
The lawmaker, who also chairs the powerful House committee on appropriations, believes Davao City is merely being dragged into the discussions because it is Duterte’s hometown.
“Eh gano’n, Madam Speaker, hindi lang po ako, kung hindi karamihan po ng tao sa buong Pilipinas, alam na alam po natin ang Davao po ay isa sa safest city sa buong Pilipinas,” Yap claimed.
(But, Madam Speaker, it is not only me, but a majority of people nationwide, we very well know that Davao is one of the safest cities in the whole of the Philippines.)
“Bakit po sinasama ang Davao City? Natatakot po ang mga kalaban dahil ang ating Presidente ay tiga-Davao, at makikita po natin na ang drug war ng Presidente Duterte ay talaga naman po, eh masasabi natin na epektibo. Ilan po ang adik ang mga nawala, ilang krimen po ang nabawasan?” he added.
(Why is Davao City being included? Opponents are being scared because our President is from Davao, and we can see that the drug war of President Duterte is really effective. How many addicts have been neutralized, how many crimes have decreased?)
On September 15, the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber announced that it has approved the request of former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda for judicial authority to proceed with a probe on the crimes against humanity complaints filed against Duterte.
Bensouda sought judicial authority last June 14 — days before she stepped down from her post — explaining that based on information gathered by her office, there is reason to believe that state actors have killed thousands of civilians under Duterte’s war against illegal drugs.
She also noted that the information suggests that vigilante-style killings were perpetrated by police officers or other private individuals hired by authorities — leading to a death toll of between 12,000 and 30,000 civilians.
But Yap was so sure that Duterte’s drug war has been successful because the number of drug addicts was significantly reduced, supposedly leading to a lower crime rate.
Official numbers from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in July showed that under Duterte’s drug war, 6,165 drug suspects have been killed in legitimate anti-drug operations while 298,348 have been arrested.
But administration critics believe that drug-related deaths could be more as there were allegedly vigilante-style killings – some of which, Bensouda said, were also linked to authorities – excluded from government figures.
“Madam Speaker, ang drug war po ay tagumpay, nabawasan po ang mga adik. Ito po ay hindi ko lang po sinasabi kung hindi po mapapatunayan po ito,” Yap said.
(Madam Speaker, the drug war is a victory, the number of addicts was decreased. I am not only saying this as this can be proven.)
“Isa lang po ang aking pinagtataka, ‘yong mga oposisyon, ‘yong mga kumakalaban sa Presidente, mas gusto po nilang nakikita ‘yong dati kung saan ang pinapatay ay ang breadwinner, ‘yong kawawang nurse na uuwi nang madaling araw at gagahasain ng adik, ‘yong mga construction worker at uuwi at hino-holdup po, ‘yong mga nagta-trabaho sa call centers na nire-rape po,” he added.
(I am just wondering about one thing, the opposition, those fighting the President, they prefer to see what was before when those being killed were the breadwinner, the poor nurse who would go home at dawn and would be raped by an addict, the construction worker being robbed, those working at call centers who were being raped.)
Duterte is facing several complaints before the ICC, including those filed by staunch administration critic and former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, late lawyer Jude Sabio, and drug war victims from the Rise Up for Life and Rights group.
According to the petitioners, Duterte has violated Article 7 of the Rome Statute for widespread and systematic attacks in the form of the murder of thousands of civilians.
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