Palace: PRRD undaunted by ICC investigation

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MANILA – Malacañang said on Thursday that President Rodrigo Duterte is unfazed by the recent decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch a formal investigation into his anti-drug campaign.

In an online news briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque stated that Duterte will not collaborate with the ICC when it begins its investigation into suspected crimes against humanity committed during his unrelenting anti-drug campaign.

“Wala pong reaksiyon ang Presidente dahil sa mula’t mula niyan, sinasabi niya na siya ay mamamatay muna bago siya haharap sa mga dayuhang nasa huwes (The President has no reaction because from the very start he has been saying he will die first before he faces foreign judges),” Roque said.

The ICC’s pre-trial chamber approved on Wednesday the request of its former chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to start a full-blown probe into Duterte’s drug campaign.

According to Roque, Duterte would simply allow the ICC to carry out its plan to investigate his anti-drug campaign.

However, Roque said that the ICC would be wasting its time and resources investigating the Philippines’ anti-drugs campaign.

“So, sa kanya, bahala sila kung ano ang gusto nilang gawin (So, for him, let them do what they want),” he said. “Wala namang possibility na magkakaroon ng successful prosecution dahil iyan po ay pagsayang lamang ng oras at ng resources ng ICC mismo (There is no possibility that there will be successful prosecution because the ICC will just waste its time and resources).”

‘Working’ justice system

According Roque, Duterte would never allow ICC to have authority over him because the Philippines has a “working” justice system.

Roque stated that Duterte would only cooperate with the ICC probe if local courts were no longer functional.

“Kung mayroong reklamo, dapat dito isampa sa Pilipinas, dahil ang ating mga hukuman ay gumagana. At ang korte ng ICC ay walang hurisdiksiyon, puwede lang siyang mag-akto sa mga kaso kung ang mga hukuman natin ay hindi gumagana (If there is a complaint, file it before the Philippine courts because they are working. The ICC has no jurisdiction over us. It can only act, if our courts are not working),” Roque said.

Duterte, according to Roque, will respect anyone who challenges his drug war at the local and competent courts.

“Ang paninindigan ni Presidente, lahat nang gustong magreklamo, bukas po ang ating mga hukuman sa Pilipinas (The President’s stance is our Philippine courts are open to anyone who wants to file a complaint),” he said.

In a separate statement, Interior and Local Secretary Eduardo Año said the Philippine National Police (PNP) is prepared for any investigation but will decide based on “the guidance of the President.”

“This is a policy matter where only the President has the authority to decide whether to allow a non-local inquiry or not. Hence, we shall abide [by] the guidance of the President,” Año said.

Despite the Philippines’ decision to cut ties with the international court, the ICC decided to investigate Duterte’s drug war.

On March 17, 2019, the Philippines formally withdrew from the ICC, one year after rescinding the Rome Statute that established the international court.

In February 2018, Bensouda began the preliminary investigation of the drug campaign.

The ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines, according to Duterte and other Philippine officials, because the Rome Statute was never published in a general circulation publication or the Official Gazette.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.