Gordon: Duterte can order arrest of Int'l Criminal Court investigators
MANILA, Philippines – Administration senator Richard Gordon said President Rodrigo Duterte has the "right to protect" the country against foreign destabilizers, including investigators from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"Alam mo ako, hindi ako pipirma diyan sa ICC na 'yan eh dahil diminution talaga ng sovereignty natin 'yan eh. Akalain mo, ibang bansa papasok dito, mag-iimbestiga," Gordon said in a radio interview over dzBB.
(You know, I would not join that ICC because that is really a diminution of our sovereignty. Imagine, another country would enter our country to investigate.)
"As far as the President is concerned, he has the right to protect the country. Kapag ang mga ito ay gagawa lang ng hindi mabuti, dine-destabilize ang bayan natin (If they will just do bad things to destabilize our country), he has that right," the senator added.
"You cannot exercise any proceedings here without basis. That is illegal and I will arrest you," Duterte warned ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Friday, April 13.
"Kaya ikaw, Ms Fatou, huwag kang pumunta dito kasi (So, Ms Fatou, don't come here because) I will bar you," he added.
Duterte again reiterated that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the case filed against him by lawyer Jude Sabio. He also again claimed he is not afraid of the court, even as he has sought the Philippines' withdrawal from the Rome Statute that created the ICC.
Bensouda, however, has no reason yet to head to the Philippines as the court has only begun a preliminary examination of the case, including determining whether or not it has jurisdiction to probe the killings.
Opposition senator Risa Hontiveros, for her part, slammed Duterte and said he should stop making "outrageous statements" to deflect the serious charges against him.
She also said Duterte should stop acting like a "Marcos copycat," saying judges – not Duterte – have the power to order anyone arrested. She pointed out that the power to issue "executive warrants" was stopped after the Marcos dictatorship.
"Arrest [ICC] prosecutor Fatou Bensouda? Why, is she accused and guilty of high crimes? Is she involved in the systemic and large-scale killing of people? Did she make numerous public statements in favor of extrajudicial killings? Did she influence and command state security forces to inflict unjust and extreme violence against the public? Did she shield extrajudicial killers from calls of justice and accountability?" Hontiveros said in a statement.
"As far as I know, it is President Rodrigo Duterte and his cohorts who are charged before the ICC with crimes against humanity.... He is only making himself look more and more guilty in the eyes of the public. If the President thinks he is innocent of the accusations, then there is nothing to fear," Hontiveros added.
The Philippines formally notified the United Nations (UN) of its withdrawal from the ICC in March, but this will take effect only a year after notification. Duterte claimed that the ratification of the Rome Statute was fraudulent. (READ: What the Rome Statute says about withdrawing from the Int'l Criminal Court)
Duterte previously ordered law enforcement agencies not to cooperate with any human rights probe into his campaign against illegal drugs. The President has also warned he would order the shooting of human rights advocates. – Rappler.com