Rodrigo Duterte remark he funded Davao slays sent to ICC
MANILA, Philippines — Former President Rodrigo Duterte’s admission that he had bankrolled extrajudicial killings while mayor of Davao City should convince President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to let the International Criminal Court (ICC) pursue its investigation against his predecessor, the Magdalo group said on Monday.
The group led by former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV pointed out that Duterte himself disclosed in a television interview last week that he had spent his intelligence funds to carry out killings in Davao City while he was mayor.
The vigilante-style executions were said to be the handiwork of the dreaded Davao Death Squad or DDS.
“My intelligence funds, I used it to buy. I had all of them killed. That’s why Davao is like that. Your companions, I really had them killed. That’s the truth,” Duterte said in his TV show on SMNI Network on Oct. 10.
At that time, he was talking to his spiritual adviser, Apollo Quiboloy, about the request of his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte, for confidential funds.
The video of his full interview was taken down from SMNI’s YouTube channel on Oct. 12.
“We, the Magdalo group, are urging the Marcos administration to allow the ICC investigators into the country in order to make… Duterte accountable for his crimes against humanity,” Magdalo said. “Truly, justice [for the victims and their families] is long overdue.”
According to Trillanes, they have already sent a copy of the TV footage to the ICC as additional evidence against the former president.
“This is truly an open-and-shut case,” he posted on X (formerly Twitter).
“Being the original filers of the ICC case in 2017, we have witnessed and documented the barbaric actions of the past administration, as well as the trauma and hardships that the thousands of victims and their families have suffered,” Magdalo said.
As a senator in June 2017, Trillanes and then Magdalo party list Rep. Gary Alejano filed a supplemental communication with the ICC, asking it to step in and investigate Duterte.
This was a month after lawyer Jude Josue Sabio asked the international tribunal based in The Hague to charge the then president and 11 other politicians and government officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the thousands of deaths that resulted from the government’s bloody war on drugs.
In March 2018, Duterte ordered the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute after ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that she would start a preliminary examination of the complaints against him.
Since then, the former president and his political allies have been arguing that the international court lost jurisdiction after the Philippines decided to pull out of the international treaty.
However, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 2021 that Duterte could not skirt accountability just because the country bolted the Rome Statute as a state party.
During his visit to Washington in May, Marcos conceded that “abuses” were indeed committed by law enforcement agents tasked with implementing the government’s anti-drug campaign.
He made the remark two months after he announced that the Philippines would “disengage” from the ICC after it rejected the government’s appeal to suspend its inquiry into the drug war atrocities.
A motion for reconsideration was also denied by the ICC’s Appeals Chamber in July — a ruling that allowed the continuation of the investigation against Duterte covering the alleged crimes against humanity that happened from Nov. 1, 2011, to March 16, 2019.
In November 2018, during his speech before the Filipino community in Papua New Guinea, Duterte likened the Magdalo group to the international terrorist group Islamic State and said it had done nothing but to “challenge” and “mock” people.
Magdalo first landed in the news when Trillanes, then a junior Navy official, with Alejano and over 300 other military men, took over Oakwood Premier in Makati City in July 2003 to protest alleged corrupt practices under the Arroyo administration and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
After being arrested and detained, many of the group’s members, including Trillanes, were granted amnesty. Magdalo then became a party list group that won its first election in 2013 and held a seat in the House of Representatives until 2022.
Trillanes, on the other hand, was elected senator in 2007. He won a second term in 2013 and served until 2019. He then ran for senator again in the May 2022 elections but lost.
Even before Duterte won as president, Trillanes was already his staunch critic. In April 2016, Trillanes accused him of having at least P227 million in an account at a bank branch in Metro Manila that he did not declare in his latest statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
Duterte denied the existence of the account at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch on Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig City, prompting Trillanes to dare him to sign a waiver to allow the opening and scrutiny of his bank accounts, and to file a libel case against him if the allegations were false.
After some netizens uploaded their copy of deposit transaction receipts into his BPI account, Duterte admitted that he had two accounts at BPI Julia Vargas, one with P17,000 in deposits and another with less than P50,000.
Duterte said he had “less than P200 million” in the BPI Julia Vargas branch and that he did not declare it in his SALN in 2014 because he had already spent it. He claimed the money came from friends as a birthday gift.