‘Bring it on,’ Aguirre says on ICC case
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Thursday described as “amusing” and “baseless” his inclusion in the case of crime against humanity filed against President Rodrigo Duterte and other government officials before the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the spate of drug-related killings in the country.
“Initially, I found the filing of the case amusing. Not only are the allegations contained therein utterly false, they are purely hearsay,” Aguirre said in a statement, referring to the case filed by lawyer Jude Sabio, counsel of confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato.
“My inclusion, as a respondent, in the communication filed by Atty. Sabio before the ICC is equally amusing and baseless. The camp of Matobato and Sabio apparently threw a net in the sea with this case and want to see how many fishes they can catch before the ICC. Sorry to disappoint them this early, they will catch none. Their case is substantially and procedurally infirm and bereft of merit,” he added.
In a statement, Aguirre said the ICC should not believe the claims of Matobato on President Duterte’s alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings, calling the DDS hitman as a “discredited witness whose lack of credibility has been conclusively and glaringly established in Senate hearings.”
In February, the Justice Secretary made a controversial remark that criminals, drug lords, and drug pushers “are not humanity” as he brushed aside accusations that thousands of police killings of drug suspects may be crimes against humanity.
“Their case is substantially and procedurally infirm and bereft of merit. Take the allegations against me, I have categorically denied, time and again, I never said that drug lords are not humans. I was deliberately misquoted. What I said is that drug lords are not humanity. And I still maintain that stance even today. Anybody who deliberately profits from the sale of illegal drugs which destroy the lives, the future and the families of their buyers cannot really be equated with humanity,” he added.
Aguirre also alleged that somebody else was behind Sabio in filing the case before the ICC.
“I believe that somebody is behind them because they will not be so brazen in their actions if there is no one holding the strings, purse strings included, behind the scenes. Ask them who is paying for their expenses in going to the ICC? Are these funders public officials at present? If yes, are they using the public funds of their offices to undermine the government? If yes, they should be investigated and be made accountable,” he said.
“If, on the other hand, the funding is private, then it is still an act of destabilization. These destabilizers do not want the Filipino people to have a drug free future. They hate it when the greater majority of our countrymen benefit from the many gains of the Duterte administration. To them and their kind, I say, BRING IT ON!” Aguirre added./rga
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