By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Star

President Rodrigo Duterte’s strong statements against the International Criminal Court (ICC) are justified as the Philippines is a sovereign country, said Malacañang.

In a media briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Duterte slammed the ICC anew for its requests to probe the controversial anti-drug campaign, which has believed that the administration has committed crimes against humanity due number of individuals killed during operations.

“It’s ‘BS’ (bullshit), because in the first place, we are a sovereign country, kung mayroong dapat mag-imbestiga at maglitis kay Presidente,” he said.

Outgoing ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on June 15 requested an authority to look into the alleged human rights violations that have been committed during the drug war.

Around 12,000 to 30,000 individuals were killed during the campaign, according to Bensouda. While government data shows there are 6,117 individuals have been killed as of this year.

Moreover, interviewed over ANC, Roque said the President was unbothered by the probe and called the mortalities linked to the drug war as “collateral damage.”

He also expressed confidence that the probe “will not prosper” without the government’s position as it is a prerequisite in order to proceed.

"We're confident it will not prosper beyond this stage, because, in the first place, you need the cooperation of the state for a case buildup. But right now, what they have is hearsay information,” Roque said.

He added Bensouda’s allegations were merely based on media reports despite the affidavits sent before the international statute by different human rights groups like the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).

But for Duterte, the ICC is “bullshit and crazy” and he even questioned the need to defend “white people’s accusations.”

In June 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) formed an inter-agency body to report and investigate the drug war-related deaths and even deaths of minors.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said there are 81 cases under investigation or pending in courts.