Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on Friday that President Rodrigo Duterte remains unfazed despite the decision of The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) to conduct preliminary examination on the alleged summary executions related to President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign to suppress the narcotics problem in the Philippines.
“Wala, wala iyan. And even the President is not even affected by it. Sinasabi niya, ”di sige tuluyan nila ako. Ako pa mismo ang mag-aabugado sa sarili ko [Nothing, it’s nothing. And even the President is not affected by it. He is saying, ‘go investigate me. I will serve as my own lawyer’],” Panelo said in a radio interview.
Panelo said the ICC is unable to take jurisdiction of the case against the President as Philippine courts are completely functioning and have taken on cases against offending state forces involved in the drug war.
“The fact is, mayroong congressional inquiry iyan ‘di ba, sa Senado. Mayroong imbestigasyon ang PNP (Philippine National Police), mayroong mga inihabla na sa hukuman. Kumbaga, nagpa-function ang gobyerno. Papasok lang sila kung walang ginagawa ang gobyerno at inutil na gawin ang dapat na gawin nito [The fact is, it has a congressional inquiry, in the Senate. There is an investigation from the PNP, there are (people) charged in the courts. It’s like, they will only come in when the government is not doing anything and is stupid in doing what it is assigned to do],” Panelo said.
Earlier, the Palace also expressed confidence on the ICC’s move, saying that the President welcomes the preliminary examination as he is “sick and tired” of being accused of crimes against humanity.
Roque said that the administration’s war contra illegal drugs are lawful and a sovereign act, adding that the investigation would be a “waste of time and resources” for the court.
He added that the ICC’s launching of the preliminary examination is an opportunity to prove that the case is not subject to the court’s jurisdiction.
“This is an opportunity for him to prove that this is not subject to the court’s jurisdiction because of both complementarity that domestic courts; and the fact that we have a domestic international humanitarian law statute in our jurisdiction are reasons enough for the court not to exercise jurisdiction,” he said.
The examination stemmed from a complaint filed against President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other government officials before the ICC, where Duterte was tagged as a “mass murderer.” The complaint also seeks to bring a suit against Duterte for “the terrifying and gruesome situation of continuing mass murder in the Philippines.”
In April 2017, lawyer Jude Sabio, counsel of hitman Edgar Matobato asked ICC to institute legal proceedings against the president over his alleged involvement in the so-called Davao Death Squad.