Duterte defends drug war anew

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MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte defended anew his anti-drug campaign on Thursday, saying he couldn’t bear the “horrible” crimes committed by drug offenders.

Sisirain mo ang bayan ko (You will destroy my country). That’s the thing they do, horrible,” Duterte said in a speech delivered in Palo, Leyte.

The President released the statement, stressing that he would not stand trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) over killings related to his anti-drug campaign.

He further stated that he would cooperate only if the probe was conducted by a Philippine court.

“I am a Filipino. If I am accused of something, it must be within the jurisdiction of the Philippines. If I am tried, it should be before a Filipino judge and ang (the) prosecutor must be a Filipino like me,” Duterte said.

In a speech delivered on March 4 in Ilocos Sur, Duterte expressed hope that his successor would continue his fight against illegal narcotics.

In November of last year, the ICC halted its investigation into potential crimes against humanity related with Duterte’s drug war in order to investigate “the scope and effect of the Philippine government’s deferral request”.

A month before the probe was suspended, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan stated that the investigation into Duterte’s anti-drug campaign would “uncover the truth and aim to ensure accountability”.

In March 2018, Duterte ordered the Philippines’ revocation of the Rome Statute that established the ICC after former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda continued with the preliminary examination into his drug in February of the same year.

On March 17, 2019, the Philippines formally cut ties with the ICC, one year after the Rome Statute was revoked.

Earlier, Khan said the ICC “retains jurisdiction” with respect to alleged crimes that happened in the country while it was a state party from Nov. 1, 2011, to March 16, 2019, despite the Philippines’ withdrawal.

The ICC’s probe focuses the conduct of the drug war under Duterte’s administration, including the alleged killings in Davao City between 2011 and 2016 when the President was still the mayor.

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.