Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte says he will prepare his defense for ICC probe

Loreben Tuquero
Duterte says he will prepare his defense for ICC probe

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the inauguration of the Bonifacio Global City to Ortigas Center Road Link Project in Taguig City on September 30, 2021. Malacañang photo

The President says he accepts the judgment of the people, and that he will await the cases against him

After repeatedly expressing his refusal to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC), President Rodrigo Duterte is now saying he will prepare for his defense during the court’s probe into the brutal drug war initiated by the chief executive.

Tanggap ko ang husga ng [taumbayan]… Gusto nila umuwi na ako sa Davao at maghintay ako sa maraming daan-daan na kaso. Hintayin ko kayo. I will prepare for my defense na ’yung ICC na ’yan,” he said in a televised address on Monday, October 4.

(I accept the judgment of the people… They want me to go home to Davao and wait for hundreds of cases. I’ll wait for you. I will prepare for my defense for that ICC.)

Duterte said he will do this provided they will not make false accusations. “’Wag lang kayong magsinungaling. Kung totoo lang, tutal may record naman. ’Wag kayong mag-imbento na ’yung namatay ng malaria diyan pati i-cha-charge ninyo sa akin, kalokohan na ’yan. Hindi na justice ang hinahanap ninyo niyan. Ibigay ko sa inyo. Hindi ko kayo tinatakot. ’Wag lang ninyo akong dayain sa ebidensya,” he said.

(Just don’t lie. Just tell the truth, there are records anyway. Don’t make things up, like including in your charges against me those who died from malaria, that’s already nonsense. You wouldn’t be seeking justice there anymore. I will give it to you. I am not scaring you. Just don’t tamper with the evidence.)

On September 15, the ICC’s pre-trial chamber announced it has opened the investigation into Duterte’s drug war, as well as the killings by the Davao Death Squad during Duterte’s time as mayor and vice mayor of Davao City.

The pre-trial chamber noted that Duterte “publicly encouraged extrajudicial killings in a way that is incompatible with a genuine law enforcement operation.” In addition, it observed similarities between the Davao City killings and the nationwide campaign against drugs.

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Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque earlier predicted that the probe will remain dormant and will never reach trial, since the government will not cooperate and will therefore bar ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan from gathering enough evidence.

The President also again said they have no jurisdiction over his person. “Pilipino ako, hindi ako international body. May sarili kaming judicial system dito (I am a Filipino, not an international body. We have our own judicial system here),” he said.

He reiterated that he would protect police and officials. With the decision to open the investigation, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor now seeks evidence to request summonses or warrants of arrest. Those issued arrest warrants can be assumed to be those who will be put on trial. 

Di ba sinabi ko anything na ginawa ninyo in the prosecution of the drug war, for as long as you obey the law, I will protect you. Akin ’yan, akin, hindi ninyo. Ako ang sasagot niyan. At kung may magkulong-kulong man, ako na ang magpakulong,” Duterte said.

(Didn’t I say, anything you do in the prosecution of the drug war, for as long as you obey the law, I will protect you. I will answer for it. And if arrests will be conducted, I’ll be the one to get arrested.)

The higher thresholds of evidence needed to issue warrants, coupled with the government’s possible lack of cooperation, may mean it will take some time for victims to obtain justice. – Rappler.com