ICC probe on PH drug war ‘beginning of end of Duterte’s kakistocracy’ – De Lima
Detained Senator Leila de Lima has lauded the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague as it prepares to launch its preliminary examination on the Duterte administration’s brutal campaign against illegal drugs.
De Lima believed that the international tribunal’s move to determine the basis of crimes against humanity allegations hurled against President Rodrigo Duterte might actually be the start of the administration’s “international isolation as a rogue criminal regime.”
“This might actually be the beginning of the end for the Duterte kakistocracy,” De Lima, the fiercest critic of Mr. Duterte, said in a statement she issued from detention on Friday.
On Thursday, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the international tribunal will start the preliminary examination after a “careful, independent, and impartial review of a number of communication and reports” on the Philippines’ situation.
The ICC was acting on the 77-page complaint filed by Jude Josue Sabio, a lawyer for self-confessed Davao Death Squad hit man Edgar Matobato, in April 2017 against Duterte and 11 senior officials of the country.
The complaint asserted that crimes against humanity were being committed “repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously,” and that killing drug suspects and other criminals had become “best practice” in the Philippines under the Duterte administration.
De Lima called the ICC’s latest move as a “fulfillment of a hope and a dream” as it is a “wish granted.”
“The decision of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to start a preliminary examination on the Philippine situation—preliminary to an investigation that will eventually charge this government, its leaders and all those complicit in the mass murder of thousands in its so-called drug war—is the fulfillment of a hope and a dream,” she said.
The opposition senator, however, brought up the possibility that Malacañang would “continue to spin” the issue like what Duterte did with his alleged death squad during the 2009 Commission on Human Rights (CHR) investigation, which she led as the agency’s former chairperson.
“They might actually lie low for a while and order a temporary stop to the extra-judicial killings by the PNP death squads, in the hope to assuage the ICC Prosecutor that it is doing something to stop the killings, or even to fool her that there is actually no government-sponsored and funded program of social mass extermination,” the former Justice secretary said.
“But even these cosmetic options will not free Duterte from the reality that sooner or later, he might actually be charged with the mass murder of civilians as a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute,” she also said. /kga
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