By Rjay Zuriaga Castor


President Rodrigo Duterte did not mince his words and bared that he is willing to go to jail should a Philippine court sue him on alleged crime against humanity, but added that he will take with him his critics from the opposition, or the "dilawans". 

"Kung ako makulong, magdala ako ng mga 5 dilawan, sabihin ko sa'yo. Magpakulong ako, magdala ako ng dalawang dilawan, mamili ako sa kanila. Paano ko kayo dalhin, 'yan ang problema ninyo," Duterte said in a pre-recorded public address aired late Wednesday. 

Duterte made the statement after outgoing Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested authority to open into the alleged crime against humanity committed under the administration’s war on drugs.

The Chief Executive, however, reiterated he would still refuse to acknowledge the jurisdiction of ICC, citing that he did not even have a copy of the Rome Statute– the treaty that created the court.

"Hindi ko nabasa 'yan. I've never read that document, and so wala talaga akong alam kung ano 'yang demonyo na 'yan. Wala akong notice. Wala lahat. Now you want me prosecuted," he said.

Duterte insisted that his move to withdraw from the Rome Statute last March 2019 is an “empty gesture" and there is nothing to withdraw to begin with, maintaining that the treaty did not take effect in the country because it was not published in a newspaper of general circulation.

Duterte also said that he will not allow himself to be prosecuted by the "white judges" of ICC, but only by the "Philippine court and before a Filipino judge". 

"Bakit ako haharap sa husgado na puro puti, p*t*ng*n* niya (Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda). Kung ako ay magpalitis, anong kasalanan ko, it will be before a Philippine court and before a Filipino judge," he said.

"And kung sabihan niya ako na death penalty, so be it, pero 'wag niya akong bigyan ng mga puti na 'yan. It's just atonement for their sins nila 'yan eh. Sila 'yan, sa colonial days, ilan ang pinatay nila, kinalimutan ng mga p*t*ng*n*," Duterte added.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court clarified last week that the country is still bound to recognize and still obliged to cooperate in the criminal proceedings of the ICC even if it has officially withdrawn. 

The high court following the unanimous vote from its 15-member tribunal also held that President Duterte could not arbitrarily terminate international agreements without the concurrence of the Senate.

Malacañang in defense called the possible ICC probe into killings as “legally erroneous” and “politically motivated,” also insisting that foreign entities should not step in as it only disrespects Philippines’ legal institutions in addressing the cases at hand.

Report sources: ABS-CBN News, CNN Philippines