MANILA — Malacañang on Monday said it does not have any ill will against lawyer Jude Sabio, who was responsible for filing a communication before the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing President Rodrigo Duterte of crimes against humanity in relation to the government’s war on drugs.
Sabio is the lawyer of confessed hit man Edgar Matobato who claimed the existence of a so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) that allegedly killed suspected drug addicts, pushers, and other criminals during Duterte’s term as mayor.
In a Palace briefing, Roque said that there was no ill will against Sabio since the President does not give importance to the complaint in the first place.
“We don’t put much importance to the complaint. We have no—we have no ill will against him,” Roque said. “We don’t feel threatened by the complaint.”
Roque made this remark after Sabio, in a newspaper interview, said that he felt “tremendous pressure” from the implications or consequences of filing his complaint.
In the same interview, Sabio said that he always assumed that his life is in danger.
Roque, in response, said that if he felt like there was a threat to his life, he should report it to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“Let’s make sure that if there’s a threat and he should report it to the police, if there’s a threat go file a writ of amparo to Pamparo, that’s the remedy,” Roque said.
He, meanwhile, expressed confidence anew that the preliminary examination being conducted by the ICC Office of the Prosecutor would not proceed to an actual investigation.
“We know it will not proceed beyond preliminary examination,’ Roque said.
Duterte earlier said that he was “happy” to face the ICC to assert the legality of his aggressive campaign against illegal drugs and was willing to be shot if he should be found guilty.
“If you convict me, find a country that promotes death penalty and kill me by a firing squad. I would be very happy to face them,” Duterte said during the Manila Times Business Forum on Friday.
Duterte said it was be a “distinct honor” for him to die like the Philippine national hero Jose Rizal who was killed in defiance of the Spaniards.
He also questioned the ICC decision to examine the Philippines first when there were killings all over the world happening everyday.
“I cannot see the reason why I’m the first head of state to be chosen by these idiots when there are so many things (happening),” Duterte said.
Last week, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensoud announced the start of a preliminary examination into alleged extrajudicial killings in the country acting on the communication filed by Sabio.