Duterte unfazed by De Lima helping ICC

Edith Regalado - The Philippine Star
Duterte unfazed by De Lima helping ICC
This composite photo shows President Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Leila De Lima.
Combination photo, file

MANILA, Philippines — The International Criminal Court (ICC) and former senator Leila de Lima can go together for all former president Rodrigo Duterte cares, as he is unfazed by their joining forces against his so-called war on drugs.

“Magsama-sama na kayo ng ICC, iha, (You and ICC can go together),” Duterte said, addressing De Lima, when he was asked during the “Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa” program over Sonshine Media Network International Wednesday night for his comment on her possible cooperation with the ICC in prosecuting him.

Duterte refused to comment on the court’s granting bail for De Lima following her detention for six years over illegal drug charges at the Philippine National Police custodial center inside Camp Crame.

“I would not question the wisdom of the court in granting (bail) So, I will not discuss,” he said.

The ICC is adamant in pursuing its probe on Duterte’s drug war that killed thousands including innocent victims.

De Lima, who was freed last Monday, has earlier said that she considers filing legal cases against Duterte who is widely believed to be behind the charges that sent her to jail in 2017.

Duterte likewise lamented that Speaker Martin Romualdez is behind all that is happening now, including the De Lima case, in his bid for power and his plan to run for president in the 2028 national elections.

He told Romualdez not to worry anymore, as the former chief executive will personally campaign for him, urging Filipinos to vote for Romualdez to see how the country fares under his leadership.

Couldn’t ask for more

“In our family, it is enough,” Duterte said regarding political fortunes, as family members have occupied key positions, including his becoming president from 2016 to 2022.

The former chief executive added that his daughter Sara is the country’s incumbent vice president while his son Paolo is Davao City first district Representative and youngest son Sebastian is this city’s mayor.

In the recent barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, his eldest grandson Omar won uncontested as village chair of Barangay Buhangin Proper while Paolo’s wife, January, likewise won as village chair of Barangay Catalunan Grande.

“How grateful we are that we are given the privilege to serve in government,” Duterte said.

He added that he has no wealth to bequeath his children when he dies, as he is not into business himself and his children are not businessmen.

Duterte got into politics in 1986 when he was appointed as vice mayor of Davao City and later served as the city’s mayor for 23 years before becoming president in 2016.

PDP-Laban members’ exit

Duterte is also unfazed by the exodus of Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) members, particularly among House lawmakers to the Lakas-CMD party headed by Romualdez.

Duterte said he will remain with PDP-Laban even if he would be the only one left in the party.

PDP-Laban used to be the majority political party when Duterte was the president.

Now, more than 100 PDP-Laban members have switched allegiance to Lakas-CMD.

Duterte said Davao City third district Rep. Isidro Ungab remains with him in PDP-Laban.

Duterte said he even understands the PDP-Laban members who flocked to Romualdez’s side now and eventually made Lakas-CMD the predominant political party.

The former president explains that the PDP-Laban members should kowtow to the wishes of Romualdez, who is deemed to seek the presidency in 2028.

“They (lawmakers) cannot move and cannot be given projects unless they are members of the dominant party,” he added.

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