Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (File photo)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said the International Criminal Court (ICC) probers should not be allowed to enter the Philippines to conduct a formal investigation into the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“Pag punta dito, dapat wag papasukin sa bansa (If ICC will come, it should not be allowed to enter the country). Prevent him. The Immigration must not allow him to come in. He is a persona non grata,” Enrile said in an SMNI News Channel interview posted on YouTube on September 18.
Enrile also called on the Filipinos to defend President Rodrigo Duterte from critics and detractors supporting the ICC’s probe into his administration’s drug war.
“Yung International Criminal Court na ‘yan, pinipilit nila na imbestigahin ang Presidente ng Pilipinas (The International Criminal Court keeps insisting on investigating the President of the Philippines), they do not realize that he’s authorized by the Constitution to enforce the laws,” he said.
Enrile said since the country’s highest elected official can be held accountable through the process of impeachment, there is no need for the ICC to step in.
Instead, he said Filipinos should make a joint effort to protect the President as a “symbol of statehood.”
“Tayong mga Pilipino puwede natin patikwasin ang Presidente natin, pero pag aapihin ng taga labas, ang Presidente ng Pilipinas, simbolo ng ating estado (We, Filipinos can impeach our President, but if the President is being persecuted by foreigners, the President, symbol of our statehood, who is not an ordinary person)…we must all bond together to support him and throw out any foreigner who cast any doubt on the authority and nobility on our President,” he added.
Enrile said the ICC seemed to be using Duterte’s critics and detractors to further their “political agenda.”
“Kung tayo’y talagang Pilipino, ipagtatanggol natin yung hinalal ng makapangyarihan na botante ng Pilipinas bilang hari natin. Huwag natin papayagan bastusin ng banyaga. (If we’re really Filipinos, we must defend the elected leader of our country. Let us not allow foreigners to insult us)…A slap on our President by others, from other countries is a slap on the Filipino people,” he said.
Enrile said those who supported the ICC probe were most likely communists.
“Yang mga sumusuporta diyan sa mga ‘yan mga kaliwa na lumalaban sa uri ng gobyerno natin. E ang mga followers ni Karl Marx yang mga ‘yan, ni Lenin. Kung gusto nila maging komunista, di pumunta sila sa Russia, pumunta sila sa North Korea (Those who support the ICC are leftists who go against our kind of government. They’re probably followers of Karl Marx and [Vladimir] Lenin. If they want to become communists, they should go to Russia or North Korea),” he said.
He said a communist type of government was “impractical” in the country’s current setting.
On Wednesday, judges at the ICC gave its green light to the request of its former chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to conduct a full-blown investigation into Duterte’s drug war.
Malacañang has insisted that Duterte would never allow ICC to have jurisdiction over him because the Philippines has a “working” justice system.
Duterte has repeatedly said he would only participate in the ICC investigation if local courts are no longer functioning.
The ICC’s move to conduct an investigation into Duterte’s drug war came despite the Philippines’ cutting of ties with the international court.
The Philippines formally withdrew its membership from the ICC on March 17, 2019, or exactly a year after it revoked the Rome Statute that created the international tribunal. (PNA)