PNP ready for ICC probe but will follow Duterte's lead – Año

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said that while the Philippine National Police is ready for any investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), only President Rodrigo Duterte is authorized to allow it.

“The PNP is prepared for any investigation but this is a policy matter where only the President has the authority to decide whether to allow a non-local inquiry or not," said Año, who oversees the PNP, said in a message to reporters on Thursday, September 16. 

He added, "Hence, we shall abide by the guidance of the President.”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated on Thursday that the government will not cooperate with the probe. 

On Wednesday, September 15, the ICC's pre-trial chamber opened its investigation into the Philippine drug war under Duterte. The scope of the probe would not be limited to the war on drugs launched in 2016, but would also cover the killings of the so-called Davao Death Squad when Duterte was Davao City mayor and vice mayor. 

During the probe, the ICC prosecutor would seek arrest warrants or would summon individuals presumed to be involved in the matter being probed.

When Duterte rose to power in 2016, he tapped the PNP, then headed by Senator Ronald dela Rosa, to lead his bloody drug war. In a span of five years, reports revealed that a total of 7,884 victims had died at the hands of cops. 

While PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar, as of posting time, has yet to issue a statement directly addressing the development, he insisted on Thursday that the PNP had already taken initiatives to prove transparency in the drug war, which includes opening 61 drug war cases involving cops, to the justice department. 

“In May this year, we strengthened our coordination and cooperation with the Department of Justice for the review of our illegal drugs operations, particularly those which we deemed to have violated our Police Operational Procedures and including those which resulted in deaths and injuries of the subjects of the operations,” Eleazar said in a statement on Thursday.

The 61 drug war cases represent only 1% of the 7,884 victims. Aside from limited cases, the drug war records have been shrouded in secrecy because neither the Department of Justice nor the PNP would provide an answer as to whether the records would be available publicly. –