Philippines

‘I am responsible only to the Filipino:’ President Duterte on Int’l Criminal Court threat

‘I am responsible only to the Filipino:’ Duterte on ICC threat
By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — President Rodrigo Duterte has no plan of cooperating with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in case it asks for his explanation over the deaths of drug personalities in the government’s campaign against the narcotics trade in 2016.

Unfazed by threats that he might get jailed over the drug-related deaths in the country, the President said he would never answer any “stupid” questions from the ICC.

“Do not scare me na ipakulong mo ako diyan sa International Court, Criminal Court. T***… I will never allow myself to answer itong mga puti (them). Hoy, luko-luko kayong mga (Those from ICC are stupid). I will never, never, never answer any questions coming from you,” he said in a speech delivered in Manila.

“I am responsible only to the Filipino,” he added.

Duterte maintained that only Filipinos can judge his way of addressing the drug menace.

“And if you hang me for all what I did, go ahead. It will be my pleasure, but never itong mga puti (but never the ICC),” he added.

The ICC, in its “Report on Preliminary Examination Activities 2019,” revealed its plan to conclude its initial review of Duterte’s drug campaign by 2020 to determine possibility of carrying out a full-blown investigation into the Philippines’ anti-narcotics campaign.

The international tribunal’s “brazen display of ignorance of the law” prompted Duterte to revoke the Philippines’ membership from the ICC on March 17, 2018. However, the country’s withdrawal formally took effect just on March 17, 2019, or exactly a year after the President’s notification.

The Philippines’ departure came after the ICC launched in February 2018 a preliminary examination of Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs, based on the communication lodged by lawyer Jude Sabio that accuses Duterte of perpetrating crimes against humanity for the killing of thousands of drug offenders from July 1, 2016 to Mar. 31, 2017.

However, the ICC’s preliminary examination is still ongoing, as it insisted that it still has jurisdiction over the alleged crime committed by Duterte since the supposed killings happened when the Philippines was still a member-state of the international tribunal.

‘Better behave’

The President said the ICC, which he branded as “stupid and dumb,” appears to have a lack of understanding when it comes to the drug problem in the Philippines.

He vented frustrations that the international court merely focused on the killings of the drug offenders, but not on the deaths of innocent people who died at the hands of drug suspects.

“Hindi nyo man lang tinignan na (You do not check that) my country is being flooded with drugs and I have to protect the next generation,” Duterte said.

“Hindi nila binilang ang mga namatay dahil sa droga. Kaya kayong human rights, you better behave (They do not look at the number of those killed by drug offenders. So to those advocates of human rights, you better behave),” he added.

Duterte said his directive was “clear” and has repeatedly warned those involved in the illicit drug trade who will attempt to “destroy” the Philippines face death.

On Dec. 7, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo insisted that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines that is an independent state and has a working justice system.

The President told ICC prosecutors that if he were given the chance, he would go on a debate with them, as he was confident that he was “brighter” than them.

“Gusto ko nga, mag-harap tayo ng korte (I honestly want to face you before the court). I want to debate with you about what ails this country and I’d be happy to answer you and to condemn you. Hindi niyo ako matalo (You can’t defeat me),” he added. (PNA)

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