Ex-Sen. Osmeña withdraws support for Isko over stance on ICC prosecution of Duterte

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Ex-Sen. Osmeña withdraws support for Isko over stance on ICC prosecution of Duterte
Composite photo shows former Sen. Serge Osmeña and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso

MANILA, Philippines — Former Sen. Serge Osmeña said he withdrew his support for presidential candidate and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso after he declared he disagrees with the International Criminal Court prosecuting President Rodrigo Duterte.

The government has taken the position that the ICC, which the Philippines left in 2019, has no jurisdiction in the country and that domestic procedures for accountability for abuses exist and are functioning. 

"That is precisely why we need the United Nations to investigate those people in our country who are doing things that are not good for the people," Osmeña told ANC’s "After the Fact."

Osmeña now backs Vice President Leni Robredo for president, whom he says is the “best qualified among all the candidates” for Malacañang.

Isko: Better for local courts to handle 'drug war' abuses

Domagoso was among four candidates who were asked by GMA News anchor Jessica Soho whether the ICC should prosecute Duterte, to which he replied "no" but was not given a chance to explain his answer.

In a succeeding press conference, Domagoso said he will not turn over Duterte if the ICC were to convict him of crimes against humanity, adding that he would rather see the incumbent president be prosecuted by local courts.

The Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer has previously said that he will allow investigators from the ICC to enter the country for a preliminary investigation into alleged abuses in the "drug war." The preliminary investigation has been paused following a request from the Duterte administration.

Domagoso has also said that he is open to rejoining the ICC, which the Philippines bolted from after its then prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, launched a preliminary examination into the crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Duterte and his officials in the course of the anti-drug campaign.

It is not the first time that Domagoso has essentially thrown his support behind the Duterte administration, which he served under as social welfare undersecretary for five months in 2018.

Before Duterte backed out of the senatorial race, Domagoso said he would include him into his ticket, citing the president’s accomplishments like his administration’s flagship infrastructure program “Build, Build, Build.”

Domagoso has long positioned himself as a moderate and has denied being a secret administration candidate, but openly courted over the weekend the endorsement of Duterte’s party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan.

Duterte has still not made up his mind on who to endorse for president.





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