Malacañang ‘exasperated’ with ICC request to resume probe into PH drug war
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Saturday expressed exasperation at the latest request of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan for the resumption of investigations regarding the rights situation in the Philippines, seven months after it was suspended upon the government’s appeal.
“For the nth time, we express exasperation on the latest request of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan,” acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar said in a statement.
In a 53-page document posted on ICC’s website on Friday night (Manila time), Khan asked the Pre-Trial Chamber to resume the investigation that centers on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which has been the subject of criticisms for supposedly violating human rights.
According to the ICC prosecutors, they have analyzed the manner of investigations done by the Philippine government — a consideration as to why the ICC probe was suspended in November — and concluded that necessary steps were not taken.
Last September 2021, the ICC pre-trial chamber authorized the start of the investigation on the drug war. It was however stopped after ICC granted the Philippine government’s request, based on the reasoning that the justice system in the country is fully functional.
Andanar reiterated that “amid our hugely successful anti-illegal drug campaign that saw a massive dip in crime incidents attributed to drug abuse, the Duterte administration has undertaken, through the Department of Justice, in partnership with the Philippine National Police, among others, investigations of all deaths that have arisen from lawful drug enforcement operations.
“This shows transparency and the efforts to address alleged flaws in the campaign are in fact supported by the United Nations in its 3-year technical cooperation program with the Philippines known as the Joint Program on Human Rights that took effect in July last year,” he added.
On the other hand, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite on Saturday welcomed the development.
“We are glad that the ICC Prosecutor eventually concluded what we have been pointing out before that the so-called domestic accountability mechanism as far as this bloody war is concerned is clearly functioning and even is a big farce,” Gaite said in a statement.
“Years have already passed after these killings, the prolonged and still continuing suffering of their families in seeking justice should now be put to an end. Those responsible cannot forever avoid the long arms of justice from catching up with them,” he added.
As of May 31, 6,252 drug suspects have died in legitimate anti-drug operations, according to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Despite this, Duterte has admitted he was unable to end the country’s drug problem, which he promised to do in just half a year after taking office in 2016.
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