Drug war architect Dela Rosa 'unbothered' by ICC decision to continue probe

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
Drug war architect Dela Rosa 'unbothered' by ICC decision to continue probe
Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa during the Kapihan sa Senado forum, July 4, 2019.
The STAR / Geremy Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said he is “unbothered” by the decision of the International Criminal Court to resume its investigation into the drug war he implemented under the term of then-President Rodrigo Duterte.

Dela Rosa said that he has also not made arrangements for his legal defense if summoned by the international court, saying that he would just avoid traveling to countries “loyal” to the ICC.

“Whatever happens, I'm not bothered. I'm not concerned,” the former Philippine National Police chief said in an interview with Radyo 630.

Dela Rosa also said he believes it is unlikely that the ICC can arrest him while he is in the Philippines as the court retains no jurisdiction over the country, which officially withdrew its membership from the Rome Statute in 2019.

The chief implementor of the drug war under Duterte added that he “does not care” what the ICC does regardless of whether he believes the court's probe will be carried out in a fair manner.

“We did the war on drugs not for ourselves or to make ourselves rich, but for the benefit of the nation and for the youth,” Dela Rosa said in Filipino.

“My only concern is that I can’t travel to countries that are loyal to them because I could be arrested there. I can go maybe to China or Russia,” he added. 

Dela Rosa also said that former presidential spokesperson and lawyer Harry Roque would defend him if he undergoes trial.

The ICC appeals chamber greenlighted on Tuesday the continuation of its drug war probe after it trashed the appeal of the Philippine government against its previous decision. 

Official documents submitted to the ICC providing evidence of the drug war mention the names of Dela Rosa, former president Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Sara Duterte and Sen. Bong Go, according to VERA Files

Previously, the ICC appeals chamber ruled that Philippine courts could “only address the physical, low-ranking perpetrators and at present do not extend to any high-ranking officials.”

A day before the ICC released its decision, Department of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said that the Philippines will refuse to hand down arrest warrants related to the ICC probe on the alleged crimes against humanity committed during anti-illegal drugs operations.  

Duterte's war on drugs has resulted in 6,000 deaths, based on official government records, but local and international human rights organizations estimate the true number to be around 12,000 and 30,000.  — With reports by Gaea Katreena Cabico

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