Duterte's EJK remark 'far fetched' as evidence before ICC – Sotto
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s “admission” that his only "sin" was extrajudicial killings would be “too far-fetched and unclear” to be used as evidence against him before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Monday, October 1.
Asked if Duterte had ever “admitted” he ordered killings during his anti-drug campaign, Sotto said: “Kalokohan 'yon. Sa kanya never kong narinig 'yun.” (That’s nonsense. I never heard that from him.)
He then added the President’s remarks would not be taken against him in the ICC since it was too unclear. “Malabo, malayo (Unclear, too far fetched),” he told reporters in an impromptu press briefing. (READ: [EDITORIAL] #AnimatED: Umamin na si Duterte. Uwian na ba?)
Collateral damage? Sotto, though, said Duterte’s remark meant that killing could be blamed on the government’s anti-drug campaign, which may be used by other parties to carry out their vendettas against personal enemies.
“Noong una pa lang sabihin niya iyon ang intindi ko doon, pewedeng isisi sa kanya sapagkat sa drug war niya maraming napatay, marami ring na-eliminate ng mga kaaway nila. Marmaing ika nga ay nadisgrasya kaya puwedeng isisi sa kanya dahil sa drug war niya. I think that's what he means,” he said.
(How I understood what he said was that his drug war could be blamed for the many deaths, many people use it to get rid of their enemies. Many were affected and this can be blamed on his drug war. I think that’s what he means.)
Sotto likened it to his time as Quezon City vice mayor starting 1988, when he founded and organized the Quezon City Anti–Drug Council.
“Parang sa Quezon City na marami akong 'pinakulong dahil sa drug war namin. May mga nangyari rin doon na di kanais-nais. Puwede mong isisis sa akin and I will admit na because of my drug war it happened,” he said.
(It’s like when I was in Quezon City, many people were jailed because of our drug war. There were things that happened which we didn’t anticipate. You can blame it on me and I will admit that it happened because of my drug war.)
As of August 31, 2018, the government has counted 4,854 drug suspects who have allegedly fought back and were killed in police operations. Human rights groups, however, estimate that 20,000 have been killed in line with Duterte's anti-drug campaign, which includes killings with drug-related motives.
Sotto’s remarks come as human rights groups and opposition lawmakers also said Duterte’s admission could be used as evidence to support the complaints filed against him before the ICC.