International Criminal Court

Dela Rosa on latest ICC ruling: ‘Dedma lang’

Bonz Magsambol

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Dela Rosa on latest ICC ruling: ‘Dedma lang’

File photo of Senator Bato dela Rosa

Angie de Silva/Rappler

'Whatever happens, I’m not bothered. I’m not concerned,' says Senator Ronald dela Rosa

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald dela Rosa, the chief implementor of the Duterte government’s bloody drug war, said that he was unbothered by the latest ruling of the International Criminal Court (ICC) rejecting the Philippine appeal to stop its probe against killings.

“Dedma lang. Dedma. Hayaan mo lang sila kung ano gusto nilang gawin. Hindi naman natin sila puwede diktahan. At the same time, hindi rin nila tayo puwede diktahan. Hayaan mo lang sila kung ano gusto nilang gawin,” Dela Rosa said in an interview with Radyo 630 minutes after the ICC handed down its decision.

(I just ignored it. Let them do what they want to do. We cannot tell them what they want to do. At the same time, they cannot dictate to us what we want to do. Let them do what they want to do.)

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As the Duterte administration’s first chief of the Philippine National Police, Dela Rosa was regarded as the muscle of then-president Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war that took thousands of lives. From July 2016 to October 2018 – a period that mostly covered Dela Rosa’s stint as PNP chief – the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said at least 4,999 were killed in police anti-drug operations.

Before he led the PNP, Dela Rosa served as Davao City police chief when Duterte was mayor. The shadowy Davao Death Squad (DDS) flourished under Duterte and was accused of implementing kill orders from higher-ups that allegedly included the former Davao City mayor, according to former member Arturo Lascañas. The whistleblower had implicated Dela Rosa as among the alleged “enablers” of Duterte.

The now Senator Dela Rosa said that they orchestrated the drug war for the public common good.

“Whatever happens, I’m not bothered. I’m not concerned. Basta alam ko na ginawa namin ‘yung war on drugs, hindi naman pansarili ‘yon. Hindi naman ‘yun para yumaman kami, para ‘yun sa kapakanan ng sambayanang Pilipino (We created the war on drugs not for our own sake, not to make us rich, but it’s for the welfare of the Filipino people),” Dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa said that he will avoid going to countries that are member-states of the ICC. He also said that the Philippine government cannot issue arrest warrant against him since the country was “very clear” on its stand not to recognize the ICC as a body.

“Wala naman silang jurisdiction sa atin dahil hindi nila tayo miyembro (They don’t have jurisdiction over us because we are not their member),” he said.

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However, Dela Rosa’s claim about the ICC’s jurisdiction may not be accurate.

In 2018, then president Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Philippines would withdraw from the ICC. This withdrawal took effect a year later, on March 17, 2019, but did not remove the ICC’s power to investigate crimes in the Philippines.

Article 127 of the ICC states that all proceedings prior to the withdrawal of a country remain valid. The Philippines’ very own Supreme Court holds the same position and said the country is obliged to cooperate with the ICC.

“Hindi lang ako makabiyahe sa mga bansa na loyal sa kanila, sa ICC (I can’t go to countries that are loyal to ICC),” Dela Rosa said, adding that maybe he can still visit countries like China and Russia. –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.