Trillanes: ICC in PH last Dec; arrest order vs Duterte soon

ICC in PH last Dec; arrest order vs Duterte soon – Trillanes

/ 06:15 AM January 22, 2024

Antonio Trillanes IV

Former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Investigators from the International Criminal Court (ICC) were able to gather enough evidence against former President Rodrigo Duterte when they visited the country in December, and a warrant of arrest may be issued “very, very soon,” former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said on Sunday.

“Based on my information, the ICC [investigators] have done what they needed to do in their initial investigation inside the country as far as the principal accused are concerned,” Trillanes told the Inquirer in a text message.


He gave the same information during a media forum earlier in the day, citing what he called “inside information.”


“If they will come back, this will be for the purpose of obtaining enough evidence for the secondary level of accused or respondents,” Trillanes added.

“For the primary respondents of the case, I believe they already have what they need. What we are waiting for right now is the warrant of arrest, which may come very, very soon,” he said, adding that this could be “within the first half of the year.”

The principal respondents in the crimes against humanity case pending before the Hague-based court include Duterte and former Philippine National Police chief, now Sen. Ronald dela Rosa.

Duterte camp’s response

The former President’s camp was reached for comment on Sunday night. His former spokesperson Harry Roque said: “No amount of evidence can vest any court with jurisdiction where it has none. The preliminary investigation was authorized long after our withdrawal had come into effect. The court is thus bereft of jurisdiction.”

Duterte’s former chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo agreed that “the ICC has absolutely no jurisdiction,” adding that Trillanes’ “narratives” are “pure chismis [and] fake news.”


“There is no validation from the government that the ICC probers have set foot in the country…. Even assuming that they are here, they cannot pluck out evidence from nothing. Hearsay and speculations are not evidence,” Panelo said.

Security concerns

Roque first floated reports about the entry of ICC investigators into the country, although authorities, including immigration officials, said they had no such information.

On the other hand, Neri Colmenares, one of the lead counsels for the families of those killed during Duterte’s drug war, said they received no information about the supposed visit to the country of ICC probers.

But he pointed out that there may have been security considerations, meaning it was possible that the ICC investigators—or even local authorities—deliberately decided not to inform the public.

“We are not aware of that (ICC entry),” Colmenares told the Inquirer in a phone interview. “Secondly, when it comes to the evidence collected, we always believed that the pieces of evidence submitted to the ICC have been very strong, in terms of witnesses and whistleblowers.”

“For me, the results of the investigation should not take any longer because we believe that the evidence is already strong and the [families of the] victims have been waiting for justice since 2017 and 2018, and it’s 2024 already. We hope that the trial against former President Duterte and his subordinates will soon begin,” he said.

‘New threats’

According to Colmenares, should the resolution resulting from the ICC investigation be in favor of the drug war victims, the ICC prosecutor can then recommend the case for trial.

He said they were also exploring the possibility of submitting a supplemental affidavit in the case against Duterte, especially if the ICC investigation has yet to be concluded.

This would contain the “new threats” made by Duterte in public forums and television interviews.

“That is one of the possibilities we are eyeing, and if we can submit it before the investigation is done. If not, if the investigation already ended, we can still use these affidavits just in case there would be a trial,” Colmenares said.

In June 2017, then Senator Trillanes and Magdalo party list Rep. Gary Alejano filed a supplemental communication with the Hague-based ICC, asking it to investigate Duterte.

This was a month after lawyer Jude Josue Sabio asked the international court to charge Duterte and 11 other politicians and government officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the thousands of extrajudicial killings committed in the conduct of the drug war.

Duterte’s antidrug campaign left at least 6,000 people dead, according to official government tallies. However, human rights groups and advocates claim the number may reach 20,000.

‘Murky stance’

Rights group Karapatan, on the other hand, called out the Marcos administration for its “murky stance” on the ICC investigation against Duterte, saying this reflected “its doublespeak on the human rights situation in the country, particularly its noncommitment to justice and accountability demands.”

The group also accused the government of putting on a “show” by inviting United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion Irene Khan to the country to hide the “wanton repression” and “violations of rights and basic freedoms” under President Marcos.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier called Khan’s visit to the Philippines from Jan. 15 to 26 a demonstration of the Marcos administration’s “open, sustained and sincere cooperation… with bilateral and regional partners and the UN.”

‘Window dressing’

Karapatan noted that the government had dismissed the recommendations of other UN special rapporteurs who previously visited the country to assess its human rights situation.

“Integrity in cooperation with international human rights mechanisms means heeding recommendations of these international experts and bodies, consistent with a State’s obligations under human rights treaties, conventions and declarations,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

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“The Philippine government has disregarded, shrugged off, and rejected past recommendations done by UN special rapporteurs who have visited the country. They are faking these all, as the Marcos Jr. government has stepped up its policy of wanton repression against the people, violating rights and basic freedoms, including our freedom of expression,” she added.

She said the government should stop using events like Khan’s visit as “window dressing” before the international community and instead “heed and implement previous and upcoming recommendations of the special rapporteur and international human rights mechanisms.”

TAGS: Antonio Trillanes IV, crimes against humanity, ICC drug war probe, International Criminal Court, Rodrigo Duterte

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