Hontiveros: Duterte can’t have anyone arrested under Constitution
President Rodrigo Duterte “should stop throwing due process into disarray and acting like a Marcos copycat,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Sunday.
Hontiveros’ statement came after the President on Friday threatened to have prosecutors of the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrested if they would come to the Philippines and continue with their probe on his drug war.
“You cannot exercise any proceedings here without basis. That is illegal and I will arrest you,” he said in a press conference at the Davao International Airport upon arrival in Hong Kong.
“Kaya ikaw Ms. Fatou, ‘wag kang pumunta dito because I will bar you. Not because I am afraid of you, I said, because you will never have jurisdiction over my person, not in a million years,” he added.
Fatou Bensouda is the ICC prosecutor conducting preliminary examination into the alleged human rights violations under Duterte’s regime.
Hontiveros questioned the statements of the President, noting that he “cannot order anyone arrested.”
“Our Constitution reserves that power for our judges. The President has no power to issue ‘Executive warrants.’ They ceased to exist when we toppled the Marcos dictatorship. President Duterte should stop throwing due process into disarray and acting like a Marcos copycat,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
The opposition senator also pointed out that it was Duterte who was charged before the international court with crimes against humanity.
“Arrest International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda? Why, is she accused and guilty of high crimes? Is she involved in the systemic and large-scale killing of people? Did she made numerous public statements in favor of extrajudicial killings? Did she influence and command state security forces to inflict unjust and extreme violence against the public? Did she shield extrajudicial killers from calls of justice and accountability?” Hontiveros asked.
“As far as I know, it is President Rodrigo Duterte and his cohorts who are charged before the ICC with crimes against humanity,” she added.
The senator likewise urged Duterte to stop making outrageous statements “in an attempt to deflect the serious charges lodged against him and discredit the ICC.”
She said he was only making himself “look more and more guilty in the eyes of the public,” adding that if he thinks he is innocent of the accusations, “then there is nothing to fear.”
Last March 14, Duterte announced the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute, citing a “concerted effort” between the UN special rapporteurs and the ICC special prosecutor to paint him as a “ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extrajudicial killing.”
He also argued that the treaty, entered to by the Philippines on Aug. 23, 2011, was not “effective nor enforceable” in the country because it was not published in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.
The withdrawal from the treaty comes after the ICC launched a preliminary examination into Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, which was criticized to have killed thousands of suspected drug criminals and have stemmed to alleged extrajudicial killings. /cbb
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.