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ICC requesting drug war probe? Palace says its ‘legally erroneous, politically motivated’

By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: The Tipsy Red Fox

Malacañang on Tuesday said the request of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the killings during President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war campaign is “legally erroneous” and is “politically motivated.”

During a media briefing at Camp Crame, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said: “I believe the decision to move forward into a formal investigation stage is legally erroneous and politically motivated.”

Roque said the killings related to anti-drug operations are not a crime against humanity as individuals are not targeted and were “collateral damage” since the police involved in such activities were defending themselves.

“Wala pong intention na manarget at pumatay ng civilian dahil sila ay civilian. Kung mayroon mang kamatayan na nangyari ay dahil ito po ay gumamit ng tamang dahas at tamang pwersa ang ating kapulisan,” he said.

The Palace official emphasized that the ICC has only jurisdiction over a member state if the nation is “unwilling to prosecute.”

“Hindi natin kinakailangan ang mga dayuhan na mag-imbestiga ng patayan dahil sa drug war dahil gumagana ang sistemang legal sa pilipinas, mayroong mga piskal at mayroong hukuman naglilitis at nagparusa na,” Roque said, adding the country’s justice system is independent, impartial, and competent.

“Bakit manghihimasok ang ICC na pinakita na natin na kayang kaya ng mga lokal na institusyon na mag imbestiga sa mga krimen na ito,” he added.

Roque also expressed his confidence that the court’s pre-trial chamber will thumb down such requests.

“Sasayangan lang nila panahon, resources ng hukuman dahil without the Philippine state’s cooperation, hindi makakabuo ng kaso [ang ICC] kung hindi base sa ebidensya at hearsay, galing mismo sa mga komunista at pulitikong kalaban ng Pangulo,” Roque said.

It was December 2019 when the ICC said that it will continue its assessment on the complaints against Duterte even if the country has withdrawn from the institution. But, the ICC said that it still has jurisdiction over the case.

The complaints were filed by a group of relatives of the victims who were killed during the campaign called “Rise Up for Life and Rights.”

Moreover, ICC said in December 2020 that it had secured a reasonable basis believing that the anti-drug campaign committed crimes against humanity.