Aguirre to Sabio on ICC complaint: 'Bring it on'
MANILA, Philippines – Confident that the complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte and other officials before the International Criminal Court (ICC) will go nowhere, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II urged lawyer Jude Sabio and other supposed "destabilizers" to "bring it on."
"These destabilizers do not want the Filipino people to have a drug-free future. They hate it when the greater majority of our countrymen benefit from the many gains of the Duterte administration. To them and their kind, I say, bring it on!" Aguirre said in a statement sent from the US where he was on a study tour with the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
Aguirre joins the collective rhetoric of the Duterte administration against its critics in dismissing the ICC complaint as nothing but part of a plot to destablize the Duterte administration.
The justice chief also said on Thursday, April 27 that it is an overreach for the camp of Sabio to implicate that many officials in the Duterte administration in his complaint before the ICC.
Aside from Duterte, Sabio's communication to the ICC seeks to charge 11 other officials, including Aguirre, for "mass murder" under this administration. (READ: The bigger hurdles to having the ICC prosecute Duterte)
"The camp of Matobato and Sabio apparently threw a net in the sea with this case and want to see how many fishes they can catch before the ICC. Sorry to disappoint them this early, they will catch none," Aguirre said.
Sabio is the lawyer of self-confessed Davao Death Squad member Edgar Matobato.
In Sabio's 78-page communication sent to ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, he said Aguirre is liable as he violated the Rome Statute when he made his public statement that "drug users are not humans, knowing that the widespread and systematic killings of those labeled as drug users are already taking place; knowing that the labelling is being done without the benefit of due process; and knowing that many of those labelled are eventually killed, either in police operations or by unknown vigilantes."
Aguirre made the statement in response to an Amnesty International report that the extrajudicial killings committed in the government's war on drugs may constitute as "crimes against humanity."
He reiterated on Thursday that he had been "deliberately misquoted."
Aguirre also said that Matobato should not be trusted. “If a majority of the Filipino people did not believed him before, why should the ICC believe him now? The equation is simple, if the source is polluted, the output is likewise polluted. Does anybody, in their right mind, still believe Matobato?” he asked.
He also hit Sabio for supposedly repeating the mistake of filing baseless complaints – a point also raised by Solicitor General Jose Calida, another respondent in the case before the ICC.
In 2008, the Supreme Court (SC) sanctioned Sabio for filing a bribery complaint against a trial court judge which the High Court later found to be baseless. – Rappler.com