Roque: Duterte got info ‘he may be arrested any time’

Daphne Galvez - The Philippine Star
Roque: Duterte got info �he may be arrested any time�
On Facebook live on Feb. 4, Roque recounted how Duterte called him on the night of Feb. 2 to tell him he received information about his impending arrest.
Presidential Photo, File

MANILA, Philippines — Former president Rodrigo Duterte claimed to have information that he could be arrested “any time” in light of the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s probe into his administration’s controversial drug war, according to his former spokesman Harry Roque.

On Facebook live on Feb. 4, Roque recounted how Duterte called him on the night of Feb. 2 to tell him he received information about his impending arrest.

“I was not able to sleep because Tatay Digong called me and he said he received information that he could be arrested any time,” he said.

Roque did not specifically say what the reason would be for the supposed arrest of Duterte, but the former president is being investigated by the ICC in relation to the killings during his administration’s war on drugs.

He said Duterte’s claims were seemingly corroborated by rumors that the Task Force Davao, made up of about 700 soldiers to protect Davao from terrorism, would be disbanded.

The task force, Roque said, will allegedly be disbanded due to its loyalty to the Dutertes.

“They know that the task force is loyal to the Dutertes so there are rumors now that it will be disbanded,” he said.

“So it is confirmed that the Task Force Davao knows that there is an order for them to be disbanded. We don’t know what will happen in the next few days,” Roque added.

Roque, however, assured the public that there are “contingency plans” but did not elaborate.

Asked to confirm if he said that Duterte will be arrested by the ICC, Roque, in a text message, replied: “No.”

Task Force Davao stays

The information circulating that Task Force Davao is being disbanded is not true, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said yesterday.

He issued the statement amid alleged statements made by Roque about rumors that the military unit will be deactivated in relation to the possibility of Duterte being arrested.

“I would like to say that reports stating that the Task Force Davao would be disbanded are not true, there is no truth to those rumors,” Brawner said.

DOJ: No info on arrest

The Department of Justice “has had no contact with the ICC, directly or indirectly,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla told The STAR in a text message yesterday.

Remulla added that he has “no idea” where Roque received his information about Duterte’s impending arrest.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra earlier said that while the ICC can issue an arrest warrant against an individual, the enforcement of such is a “different matter.”

He reiterated that the Philippine government has no legal duty to cooperate with the ICC “due to major issues of jurisdiction and sovereignty.”

Despite the opposition of the Philippine government, the ICC has initiated an inquiry into the alleged human rights violations committed under the Duterte administration in its drug war.

Guevarra said the government “will not lend any assistance” to the ICC in their investigation, “much less in the enforcement in Philippine territory of any processes issued by the ICC.”

He instead assured those with complaints about alleged abuses in the drug war that the country’s national institutions “are ready to investigate and prosecute all those who have violated the law.”

President Marcos said the Philippines does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction over the country, considering that his predecessor initiated the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute, which created the permanent tribunal.

Marcos, however, said ICC investigators can come and visit the country “as ordinary people.” — Michael Punongbayan

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