ICC complaint vs Duterte is ‘mental hospital’ material, says Alvarez

Mara Cepeda
ICC complaint vs Duterte is ‘mental hospital’ material, says Alvarez
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, one of the complaint's respondents, says the ICC case against him, the President, and other officials is 'baseless'

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday, May 16, belittled the complaint that lawyer Jude Sabio filed against President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 Philippine officials before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Alvarez, one of the respondents, was asked to react on the ICC case after Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano said he was mulling becoming a co-complainant after losing his impeachment bid against the President.

The Speaker said he is not bothered by the inclusion of his name in the ICC complaint.  

No, because in the first place, wala namang jurisdiction ang ICC doon. Dapat sa mental hospital finile ‘yon. May jurisdiction ang mental hospital doon,” said the Davao del Norte 1st District representative. 

(No, because in the first place, the ICC has no jurisdiction there. They should have filed that before a mental hospital. The mental hospital has jurisdiction over it.) 

He said the ICC complaint belongs to a mental hospital because it is “baseless.”

In his ICC complaint, Sabio accused Duterte, Alvarez, and 10 other government officials of “mass murder” in the Philippines because of the ongoing war on drugs. 

The drug war has claimed the lives of more 7,000 suspects both in legitimate police operations and apparent summary killings nationwide. 

‘There are rules to follow’

Opposition lawmaker Alejano said he will discuss with his party mates the possibility of being a complainant in Sabio’s ICC complaint. 

He said this is one of their options because the House seems to be “unwilling” and “unable” to hold Duterte accountable for the drug war. (READ: Alejano slams House as Duterte puppet after losing impeachment bid)

But Alvarez slammed Alejano, saying filing an impeachment complaint against an official does not automatically make his accusations right. 

Alam niyo, hindi naman ibig sabihin na pag finile niya ay tama siya, ‘di ba? Eh sinasabi nila na unwilling eh alam mo mayroon tayong rules to follow.… Kailangan i-observe din niya ‘yung proceso sang-ayon sa ating rules at sang-ayon sa ating batas,” said Alvarez. 

(You know, it does not mean that when he filed it that he is correct, right? They’re saying the House is unwilling, but we have rules to follow… We need to observe the process that is in accordance to our rules and laws.)

The Speaker said Alejano cannot go to the ICC just because the House denied the impeachment complaint. Alvarez then joked that if Magdalo were to follow this reasoning, they might end up making appeals to heaven. (READ: 12 considerations on Duterte and the ICC)

Hindi ibig sabihin kapag ‘yung kanilang reklamo ay ‘di na-address ay puwede na silang pumunta doon sa ICC. Pagkatapos noon, kapag ‘di pa sila dininig, eh baka sa langit na ‘yung kanilang isusunod. Doon na sila mag-reklamo,” he said. 

(Just because their complaint was not addressed that they can go to the ICC. After that, if they are denied there, too, maybe they’ll go next to heaven. They’ll complain there.) –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.