Ex-President Duterte mum on Marcos’ decision not to rejoin ICC
MANILA, Philippines — Former President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday declined to comment on his successor’s decision not to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC), where the former president faces charges of crimes against humanity.
He was referring to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s remark that the Philippines would not rejoin the ICC.
“I would rather not comment on it. I cannot, I’m a civilian, I cannot say anything about it. Tahimik na muna ako [I’ll just keep silent],” Duterte said in a chance interview after visiting the wake of former President Fidel V. Ramos.
Duterte is facing crimes against humanity charges before the ICC over the deaths related to his bloody drug war during his presidency.
The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, which it was a state party since Nov. 11, 2011, effectively on March 19, 2019.
It was then President Duterte, in March 2018, who ordered the withdrawal of the country’s ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty which created the ICC, just weeks after former ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced a preliminary examination was underway into the deaths of thousands due to his administration’s illegal drugs crackdown.
Duterte said that he does not have a problem with the ICC “personally” but if he was going to be tried for his alleged crimes, he was firm that it should be in Philippine courts.
“I am a Filipino, if I will be prosecuted, it will be a prosecutor who is a Filipino. If I have to be judged, it will be a Filipino judge. If I go to prison, I should go to Muntinlupa. Nobody but nobody else can. Sa akin [For me] it has to be our or within our jurisdiction,” he said.
He said he has “no qualms” about going to jail since he is old, saying he would do things he couldn’t do when he was President, such as reading books.
“Matanda na ako. I have no qualms about going to prison. I am 77… 80, ano ang makuha nila sa akin?” the former chief executive said.
(I am old already. I have no qualms about going to prison. What can they get out of me?)
“I can read to death there inside, so many books to read during the six years that I was attending to the affairs of the nation. Marami akong hindi nagawa, gagawin ko na,” he added.
(I couldn’t do so many things, so I will do it there.)
Duterte’s former spokesman Harry Roque earlier revealed that the former President had floated the possibility of seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would prevent his arrest should the investigation of the ICC continue.
In September last year, the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC approved the start of the probe into the crimes against humanity cases filed against President Duterte in connection with the drug war killings.
The probe will cover crimes committed from Nov. 1, 2011, to March 16, 2019.
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.
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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