MANILA, Philippines — Detained Senator Leila de Lima has praised the efforts of The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) in initiating a preliminary examination into the government’s bloody crackdown against illegal drugs.
In a statement released on Friday, De Lima said that the tribunal’s probe would define the offenses and alleged human rights violations thrown against President Rodrigo Duterte, describing it as a “fulfillment of a hope and a dream” and a “wish granted.”
“This might actually be the beginning of the end for the Duterte kakistocracy,” De Lima said.
“The decision of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to start a preliminary examination on the Philippine situation—preliminary to an investigation that will eventually charge this government, its leaders and all those complicit in the mass murder of thousands in its so-called drug war—is the fulfillment of a hope and a dream,” she added.
The lady senator, known to be a staunch Duterte critic, claimed that the investigation is the start of the government’s “international isolation as a rogue criminal regime.”
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that ICC is set to conduct its preliminary examination on the alleged summary executions related to the country’s drug war.
In April 2017, lawyer Jude Josue Sabio, counsel of self-confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato, filed a complaint against Duterte and 11 other government officials before the ICC.
The complaint accused Duterte of being a “mass murderer,” and sought to bring a suit against the president for “the terrifying and gruesome situation of continuing mass murder in the Philippines.”
“They might actually lie low for a while and order a temporary stop to the extra-judicial killings by the PNP death squads, in the hope to assuage the ICC Prosecutor that it is doing something to stop the killings, or even to fool her that there is actually no government-sponsored and funded program of social mass extermination,” De Lima said.
“But even these cosmetic options will not free Duterte from the reality that sooner or later, he might actually be charged with the mass murder of civilians as a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute,” the senator added.