Duterte dismisses ICC complaint

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte dismissed the complaint filed against him before the International Criminal Court for extrajudicial killings being linked to his war on illegal drugs.

"Let them be," said Duterte on Thursday, April 27, during a chance interview with reporters in Malacañang.

"Wala man ako maggawa (I can't do anything). Nobody can stop from filing [against] you. I can even invent one and go to the fiscal’s office now and accuse you [of] entering into 3 marriages," he said, addressing the reporter who asked him the question.

He said he was given a copy of the communication, a 78-page document prepared by lawyer Jude Sabio, also the lawyer of Davao Death Squad whistle-blower Edgar Matobato. But Duterte did not bother to read it.

"Binigyan nila ako (They gave me a copy), why would I waste my time? If I go to prison then so be it," said the President.

He, however, appeared to be confident that, even if the complaint could be used to initiate an investigation by the ICC, he could not be prosecuted by the court.

According to Philippine laws, he said, he can only be prosecuted in the country where he committed the crime.

"The fundamental thing in our Revised Penal Code, it is territoriality. You can only be prosecuted in the country where you committed the crime," he said.

The Philippines, however, ratified the Rome Statute in 2011. The Rome Statute is the founding document of the ICC. This means the country is under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

However, the ICC can only step in to prosecute "crimes against humanity" if the Philippines is shown to be unwilling or unable to investigate, prosecute, and try in good faith, wrote human rights expert Perfecto Caparras in an explainer. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.