In this Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the troops during the 82nd anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. Duterte said Wednesday that his country is withdrawing its ratification of a world treaty that created the International Criminal Court, where he’s facing a possible complaint for crimes against humanity. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

Timeline: From Duterte's willingness to 'rot in jail' to withdrawing from the ICC
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - March 15, 2018 - 4:31pm
MANILA, Philippines — A little more than a month after the International Criminal Court announced a preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his intent to pull out from the international court.
Duterte had announced that he is withdrawing the Philippines from the Rome Statute of the ICC due to "outrageous" attacks on him and his administration.
Before withdrawing the country from the treaty that established the ICC, the president had been willing to face the allegations against him.

'I'm willing to rot in jail'

On October 2016, following criticism from the international community against extrajudicial killings and human rights violations, Duterte told the Hague-based international court not to threaten him with an investigation.
"They keep on threatening me on sending me to the International Criminal Court. Sinabi ko na nga, I am willing to rot in jail for the Filipino. Hindi ba ninyo maintindihan ‘yan," Duterte said in a speech before the Filipino community in Brunei.
He added that the threat of imprisoning a president declaring a war against illegal drugs was "ridiculous."
The president said this in reaction to the statement of ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensoud that her office would start monitoring the developments in the Philippines amid Duterte's crackdown against the illegal drug trade.
Duterte made a similar statement last March 2017 in reaction to the plan of self-confessed Davao Death Squad member Edgar Matobato to file a criminal case against the president before the ICC.
"I said, I will do what I say in public. I’m ready to face the consequences. If I go to prison, so be it. Iyan talaga ang buhay ko," Duterte said.
In his State of the Nation Address in July 2017, the president reiterated that he is willing to go to prison for the rest of is life as long as the drug war goes on.
"The fight will not stop until those who deal in (drugs) understand that they have to stop because the alternatives are either jail or hell," he said.

Joining Putin in withdrawing from the ICC

In November 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an executive order for Russia to withdraw its signature from the Rome Statute.
Describing the ICC as "useless," Duterte said that he might join Putin's withdrawal from the international court over criticism on his administration's drug war.
"They (Russia) withdrew. I might follow. Why? Only the small ones like us are battered," Duterte said.

'Close to De Lima'

In an August 2017 speech, Duterte joked that he would not mind going to jail as long as his detention cell is near Sen. Leila de Lima.
"I know that they will demand to answer for all of this patay. Eh ‘di okay lang. Kung ako ang ma-no bail, eh ‘di… Basta gusto ko ilapit ako doon sa kwarto ni De Lima," Duterte said in a speech at the 19th anniversary of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption.
De Lima, one of the staunchest critic of the president, has been detained since February 2017 at Camp Crame over her alleged involvement in the proliferation of the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison during her term as Secretary of Justice.

'Shoot me, don't jail me'

Retracting his past statements that he is willing to go to jail for his crimes against humanity, Duterte said that he would prefer facing a firing squad rather than be imprisoned.
"I welcome you. If you want to find me guilty, go ahead. So be it. Find a country where they kill people with a firing squad and I’m ready," Duterte said in a news conference in February 2018.
Duterte also said that he would like to have a one-on-one meeting with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
"If you haul me into a rigmarole of trial and trial, no need. Go ahead and proceed in your investigation. Find me guilty, of course. You can do that," the president said.
He made this statement following the announcement of the ICC that it will start a preliminary examination of the complaint against Duterte.

'Drug war will continue'

With or without a case, the so-called war on drugs will continue as long as Duterte is in office.
"The war or the drive against drugs will not stop and it will last until the day I step out. If I go to prison, I go to prison," Duterte said on February 12.
The president said that the ICC cannot declare him guilty of a crime as merely threatening criminals with death is not considered a crime.

'ICC does not have jurisdiction over me'

Earlier this month, Duterte said that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over him despite the complaint filed against him over extrajudicial killings and human rights violations linked to the drug war.
"You cannot acquire jurisdiction over me not in a million years kaya ‘di ko sinasagot. Totoo ‘yan. Ayoko sabihin that has always been my weapon ever since. Shit. Maniwala ka diyan," Duterte said in a March 6 speech.
Contrary to Duterte's claim, the ICC acquired automatic jurisdiction on the Philippines when it ratified the Rome Statute. Even if the Philippines withdraws from the treaty, the investigation on Duterte's drug war would still go on.

Philippines withdraws from the Rome Statute

In an unsigned March 14 statement, Duterte said that the Philippines will withdraw from the ICC "effective immediately."
"Given that the ICC shows a propensity for failing to give due respect to the State Parties of the Rome Statute and that there is clear bias on the part of the UN against the Philippines, the Philippines may very well consider withdrawing from the Rome Statute," Duterte said in a statement.
Duterte claimed that the acts that he allegedly committed are neither genocide nor war crimes.
"The deaths cuffing in the process of legitimate police operation lacked the intent to kill. The self-defense employed by the police officers when their lives became endangered by the violent resistance of the suspects is a justifying circumstance under our criminal law hence they do not incur criminal liability," he said.
Under Article 127 of the Rome Statute, a state party may withdraw from the treaty through a written notification addressed to the UN secretary-general. The withdrawal will take effect a year after the date of receipt of the notification.

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