Duterte commends Roque’s ‘honest’ stand on drug war

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star
Duterte commends Roqueâs âhonestâ stand on drug war
Former spokesman Sec. Herminio Harry Roque running for senatorial race gives his political agenda during the press-conference at the office of People’s Reform Party(November 17, 2021).
Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — For the second time, UniTeam senatorial aspirant Harry Roque received President Duterte’s endorsement for his views on a social conflict like the war on drugs being investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Duterte described Roque, the first Asian lawyer to practice at the ICC, as more than qualified to replace overstaying senators. The President also praised Roque’s stand on illegal drugs.

In a recent one-on-one interview, the Chief Executive said he appointed Roque as a spokesman because of the latter’s honesty.

Duterte cited Roque’s temerity to attack and legally challenge his “Oplan Tokhang” drug campaign.

In 2017, the Center for International Law (CenterLaw), which Roque founded, filed the first-ever petition to suspend “Oplan Tokhang” before the Supreme Court.

Roque, a human rights advocate, investigated the extra-legal executions in Davao City, which confirmed the existence of the Davao Death Squad (DDS).

He said his informants were highly placed individuals in the judiciary.

However, there was no direct evidence that then Mayor Duterte was behind the death squad, he said.

“The ICC wants to determine whether the Duterte government’s anti-drug campaign constitutes crimes against humanity. But should it exercise criminal jurisdiction when the Philippines has a functioning judicial system?” he asked.

The ICC can only admit a case if it can establish that a state is unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out an investigation or prosecution as provided under Article 17 of the statute.

The ICC suspended its formal investigation after granting the deferral request of the Philippine government last November.

The former party-list congressman said criminal cases had been filed against erring police officers who use illegal force in anti-drug and criminality operations.

In 2021, the justice department began determining the criminal liabilities of law enforcers involved in 52 drug-related cases. – Cecille Suerte Felipe


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