Sara Duterte

Sara Duterte: Allowing ICC probe ‘degrades Philippine legal institutions’

Bonz Magsambol

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Sara Duterte: Allowing ICC probe ‘degrades Philippine legal institutions’

CONFIDENTIAL FUNDS. Vice President Sara Duterte attends the plenary budget deliberations on November 9, 2023 at the Senate.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

(1st UPDATE) Prior to this, Vice President Sara Duterte would only say 'no comment' when asked about the ICC probe

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Sara Duterte said on Thursday, November 23, that allowing the International Criminal Court (ICC) to probe the bloody drug war of her father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, would be an insult to Philippine courts.

“To allow ICC prosecutors to investigate alleged crimes that are now under the exclusive jurisdiction of our prosecutors and our Courts is not only patently unconstitutional but effectively belittles and degrades our legal institutions,” she said in a statement days after the filing of House resolutions urging President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to cooperate with the ICC’s Duterte drug war investigation.

“Huwag nating insultuhin at bigyan ng kahihiyan ang ating mga hukuman sa pamamagitan ng pagpapakita sa mundo na tayo ay naniniwala na mga dayuhan lang ang tanging may abilidad na magbigay ng katarungan at hustisya sa ating sariling bayan,” she added.

(Let’s not insult and embarrass our courts by showing the world that we believe that foreigners are capable of dispensing justice in our own land.)

Duterte said the House should respect Marcos’ decision to shut the doors on the ICC after the tribunal, in July, rejected the Philippine government appeal against the probe.

Editor’s Note: Earlier versions of this article said the ICC rejected the appeal of the Philippine government in June. That has been corrected.

“The President has likewise affirmed that his opinion is based on the fact that the ICC ceased to have jurisdiction over the Philippines upon the effectivity of our withdrawal from the Rome Statute on March 17, 2019,” she said.

The Vice President’s statement on Thursday is the first time that she spoke openly about the issue. In the past, she would only say “no comment” when asked about her reaction to the ICC probe.

At least 6,252 individuals were killed in police operations under Duterte’s war on drugs, his administration’s flagship campaign, as of May 31, 2022. This number does not include victims of vigilante-style killings, which human rights groups estimate to be between 27,000 and 30,000. – Rappler.com

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.