Ombudsman says ICC case won’t stall probe on spate of killings
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Tuesday said the crimes against humanity complaint filed before the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague would not stop the anti-graft office from pursuing its investigation into the extrajudicial killings of the administration’s war on drugs.
In a press conference, Morales said the ICC could only “complement” the Ombudsman’s ongoing investigation into the complaint filed by confessed hitman Edgar Matobato against Duterte.
Morales said Matobato’s criminal and administrative complaint against Duterte is “pending investigation”
“Matobato, I think, has been summoned and he had showed up in the office. So his testimony has been recorded,” Morales said.
Morales said the ICC complaint would not progress if the court thinks there is development in the judicial proceedings investigating the administration’s narcotics war.
The ICC, of which the Philippines is a state party, is the court of last resort, and a petitioner may only file a case before the ICC after exhausting all legal remedies in the home country.
“The ICC can only complement Philippine laws, so if they believe that the Philippine government is doing something to control or act upon the complaint, or the subject of the complaint of Matobato, then probably the ICC will not move because it’s supposed to complement only,” Morales said.
Morales said the filing of the ICC complaint would not stall the pending investigation before the Ombudsman.
“It will certainly not stall (the Ombudsman’s investigation) It would depend on how the ICC looks at it, because it has jurisdiction over a particular person, not the state, a particular person who belongs to a state who is a signatory to a treaty,” Morales said.
She said the filing of the complaint in the ICC does not “necessarily mean” that the Ombudsman is sitting on its job to look into the summary killings.
Morales added that it’s up to the ICC to determine if the filing of complaint is premature or not.
“It’s up to the ICC if it gives due course to the complaint of Mr. Sabio… I wouldn’t be thinking (whether) they might or they might not… It’s up to the ICC to determine if the requirements for filing a case to the ICC have been met,” Morales said.
Matobato in December last year sued Duterte and 26 others for murder, kidnapping, torture and Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity, for their alleged involvement in the Davao Death Squad (DDS), the group which allegedly killed 1000 criminals in Davao city when Duterte was mayor.
BACKSTORY: ‘I saw Duterte kill 8 times’ –Matobato
With Matobato’s complaint against Duterte, the Ombudsman mulled reopening its fact-finding investigation on the DDS since members of the alleged vigilante group have surfaced.
In 2014, the Ombudsman terminated its probe on the DDS due to lack of evidence, quoting a report from the Commission on Human Rights Davao Regional office that dismissed the allegation as “chismis” or gossip.
Morales made the statement following Matobato’s lawyer Jude Sabio’s filing of a complaint for crimes against humanity against Duterte before the ICC for the latter’s alleged involvement in the spate of extrajudicial killings.
In his 77-page complaint, Sabio cited the “continuing mass murder” in the Philippines due to the thousands of Filipinos killed in Duterte’s anti-drug campaign that started when he was Davao city mayor and continues now that he is president.
Also included in the complaint are Duterte’s closest allies—Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Senators Richard Gordon and Alan Peter Cayetano, Solicitor General Jose Calida, and former Interior secretary Ismael Sueno, among others. IDL
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.