ICC investigation an insult to Philippines, says Duterte

Diana Lhyd Suelto - The Philippine Star
ICC investigation an insult to Philippines, says Duterte
Building of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
Wikimedia Commons

MANILA, Philippines — Former president Rodrigo Duterte called the reopening of the probe on drug war killings an ‘insult’ to the country.

“You are insulting,” Duterte told the ICC on the Sonshine Media Network Inc. (SMNI).

The former president said he felt insulted not because he is who he is, but because it questioned his duty to protect the people.

“Since when was it a crime for the head of a sovereign state to threaten criminals? Is there a law against a president uttering such hostile words?” Duterte asked, adding that he did not issue an order to kill specific persons.

“What I said that if you destroy my country, I will kill you. I never said you kill Mr. Santos or whoever,” he said. “It was an all-out war; if it resulted in a killing, I’m sorry. It was how the game was played. There is always a confrontation,” Duterte added.

The war against drugs did not just result in the death of alleged criminals, Duterte said, as police officers were also killed along the way.

“I have lost several policemen during my term, during buy-bust operations, and you think only of the criminals. Me, I think of my country first. I think of my countrymen who are law-abiding citizens. Then maybe how I would eradicate criminals,” Duterte lamented.

The former president also questioned the jurisdiction of the ICC to investigate him.

“Who are you? May I ask them, who are you to initiate an investigation here? Do it outside, but if you come here to summon people, sending them summons or subpoena, or whatever, in the name of your court, you are just looking for trouble. And if you are looking for trouble, trouble will come,” Duterte said.

He explained that “that the ICC could not just enter a country and start an investigation because that is a function of a sovereign state.”

Duterte, however, said he is willing to go to prison for his alleged crimes.

“You know what, ICC? Do you want me to go to prison? I will. I will. As a matter of fact, I did it as a matter of principle, so I will die for it and go to prison and rot there until kingdom come. As a matter of principle for me,” Duterte said in the program at SMNI with Apollo Quiboloy as co-host.

“There is no glory without pain. You cannot establish law and order in a lawless community. And in putting proper order in a community, there are things you have to do because you have to do it,” the former president further said. “You have to run after criminals, you have to run after those trafficking with drugs and of late trafficking of human beings.”

But Duterte stressed that ICC could not conduct its investigation here in the Philippines without permission. “You know you cannot just intrude into any country and start an investigation because that is the function of the sovereign state,” he said.

“If you do not have any permission from the state, from Congress, or from the President, you have no business to come here,” Duterte said. “Besides, the Philippines is no longer a member of the ICC, all its judicial system is functioning.”

The ICC can only conduct an investigation if they are granted permission by the Philippine government. Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has already stated that the Philippines will not cooperate with the ICC investigation.

For her part, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the administration of President Marcos should not delay the investigation of the ICC on the war on drugs.

“The shortcomings of our justice system favor the rich and powerful and fail our poor countrymen, especially in the bloody drug war that targeted the poor. That’s where the ICC comes in. We need an independent institution that is not beholden to anyone in power who is committed to silencing the victims and their families,” she added.

“It is in the best interests of the country that the government turns over all internal documents, testimonies from whistle-blowers, videos from bodycams, CCTV footage, and other evidence related to the drug war to the ICC and give them uninhibited access,” she said.

“As long the government remains uncooperative, it will look evasive. The world will keep on wondering if it is hiding something. After the President’s many trips, his administration can no longer use ‘sovereignty’ as an excuse to conceal the evidence. If it is truly his desire to gain the respect of the world, he should start here – the human rights issues right on our shores. Let him show that he respects international law, as he says he does,” she added.

Watching over Davao

Duterte said he is still actively watching over Davao City and monitoring its peace and order situation after retiring from public service.

Duterte said he is currently monitoring the movements of a person allegedly involved in human trafficking and the sex trafficking of children.

He warned criminals that he can deliver them to the police station or to the funeral parlor, where he can collect a commission. Duterte warned parents to look after their children and ensure they don’t go into drugs.

The former president added that even if he is already out of government, he is still willing to lay down his life for his country.

“I am already retired, but if called upon by the demands of the time, I would gladly lay down my life for my country. I really love the Philippines and I am ready to die in the name of love for country,” Duterte said, asking Filipinos to treat him as one of their fellowmen.

Congratulations, Maria

Meanwhile, Duterte congratulated Rappler CEO Maria Ressa on her acquittal for the four counts of tax evasion cases filed against her by the Department of Justice.

“I would like to congratulate her. As a lawyer, I am not in a position to question how the acquittal came about. I respect the court,” Duterte said.

“I think Ressa has the legal right to be free of the nuances of the crime charged.”

Ressa’s tax evasion cases, filed during Duterte’s term, were cleared by the First Division of the Tax Court. She once claimed that the charges were politically motivated. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Edith Regalado

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