After announcing retirement from politics, Duterte says he will prepare defense for ICC probe


MANILA, Philippines — After announcing that he is retiring from politics, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would go back to his hometown Davao and prepare his defense for the investigation of the International Criminal Court over his bloody “war on drugs.”

But even as Duterte said he is preparing for his defense, the Philippine president again asserted that the ICC has no jurisdiction over his person.

In a taped public address that aired late Monday night, Duterte said his ratings are going down because people want him to stop joining politics. “They want me to return to Davao City and wait. For those who keep yapping about the case, I will wait for you. I will prepare for my defense, that ICC thing,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Duterte on Saturday announced that he is retiring from politics. He made a similar statement in 2015, but he still ran for presidency in 2016 and won.

The president continued: “Huwag lang kayong magsinungaling. Kung totoo lang tutal may record naman. Huwag kayong mag-imbento na ‘yung namatay ng malaria diyan pati—ica-charge ninyo sa akin. Kalokohan na ‘yan.”

(Just do not lie. If that is true, there should be a record. Do not make up evidence like including someone who died of malaria—that that too will be charged against me. That’s bullshit.)

Duterte, however, asserted that the Philippines has a working justice system and the ICC “never acquired jurisdiction over [his] person.”

The ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber has approved the request of the Office of the Prosecutor to launch an investigation into Duterte and his men, who are accused of committing crimes against humanity over their bloody “war on drugs.”

The investigation will also cover alleged killings in Davao City between 2011 and 2016, when Duterte was in the local government of the southern Philippine city.

While the Duterte administration remains adamant that they will not cooperate with the probe due to supposedly lack of jurisdiction, the international tribunal, however, said it had jurisdiction over crimes committed while the Philippines was still a party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC. — Kristine Joy Patag with reports from Gaea Katreena Cabico




As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 22, 2021 - 11:02am

President Rodrigo Duterte says the controversial drug war will continue until the last day of his term, with or without a communication filed at the International Criminal Court.

The ICC recently announced that it has begun processing the accusations against Duterte and his campaign against illegal drugs, which has led to the killing of thousands of people since he assumed power in June 2016. — Photo of the ICC building by AP/Peter Dejong

November 22, 2021 - 11:02am

Free Legal Assistance Group urges the International Criminal Court to continue its investigation on the so-called war on drugs in the Philippines.

The lawyers’ group points out that the cited investigation merely relied on documents provided by the Philippine National Police and only covered a small fraction of killings under the bloody “war on drugs” by the Duterte administration.

“The DOJ ‘investigation’ adverted to in the Philippines’ deferral letter covers only a fraction of the killings or attempted killings which occurred within the scope of the ICC investigation,” the group says in a letter addressed to ICC Prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan.

September 16, 2021 - 12:07pm

President Rodrigo Duterte will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court's probe into the drug war, his lawyer says Thursday, insisting the tribunal does not have jurisdiction in the country.

Duterte "will not cooperate since first of all, the Philippines has left the Rome statute, so the ICC no longer has jurisdiction over the country," chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo tells local radio DZBB.

"The government will not let in any ICC member to collect information and evidence here in the Philippines, they will be barred entry." — AFP

January 14, 2020 - 2:32pm

Lawyer Romel Bagares, lead counsel for Philippine Coalition for International Criminal Court, says Jude Sabio’s communication against President Rodrigo Duterte at the International Criminal Court was "largely irrelevant."

"To begin with, his submission was largely irrelevant as it dealt with matters before Mr Duterte became president," Bagares says. 

"Also the OTP (Office of the Prosecutor) itself said in its Dec 5 report said it consulted open sources in its preliminary examination so it is not limited to him. But definitely it will buoy up the confidence of all the President’s men," he adds. 

January 14, 2020 - 2:14pm

Lawyer Jude Sabio says he will withdraw his communication about extrajudicial killings filed before the International Criminal Court.

In a release, Sabio says "he did not approve what Trillanes and other LP personalities have resorted to aimed at besmirching the honor of the President."

The lawyer, who was assisted by Larry Gadon in a Quezon City court, has signed and sworn an affidavit and statement about his withdrawal.  

March 31, 2019 - 11:54am
Karapatan challenges the Duterte administration not to block efforts by the International Criminal Court and United Nations Independent Experts to probe human rights violations it reported if indeed human rights organizations are "merely spouting lies to defame the government."
"It is clear to us why there are very persistent efforts to undermine our work and discredit our organization. We are being singled out, harassed, and our work criminalized because of our advocacy to continuously expose human rights violations and initiate efforts and campaigns to hold the Philippine government accountable as the primary duty-bearer of human rights promotion and defense," Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay says in a statement.
Karapatan made the statement after a delegation called the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict made rounds in diplomatic missions in Europe. It said the delegation "maliciously" red-tagged several human rights organizations.
The European Union on Saturday said it would probe allegations that its aid were being funneled to Philippine communist guerrillas after the Philippine government asked for an investigation.
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