Retired Justice Antonio Carpio has weighed in on the alleged crimes against humanity filed against President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court.
Carpio said that the ICC can serve and apply its verdict against Duterte whether he is still the Philippine state leader or has already returned to being Citizen Digong.
“Many heads of state, they were already out of office… it doesn’t matter whether you still hold office or not,” Carpio said.
“Some cases even run for years before finally reaching a verdict,” he said.
Lawyer Jude Sabio filed in April 2017 a communication with the ICC, alleging that Duterte and other Philippine government officials committed crimes against humanity in instituting extrajudicial killings first in Davao City through the Davao Death Squad, which they allegedly continued on a national scale through the war on drugs.
On Tuesday, however, Sabio withdrew the communication, saying he didn’t want to be used as political tool by the opposition.
Sabio’s move prompted a Duterte basher, detained Senator Leila de Lima to take a swipe at the lawyer and the president both at the same time.
De Lima, in jail on drug charges, “whatever the reason for such an awful move, Sabio has become vulnerable to the machinations from the dark forces.”
The senator added that Sabio’s withdrawal of his 77-page communication to the ICC comes rather too late a move and would hardly have a dent on the progress of the ICC intervention on the human rights abuses in the country.
But Carpio belittled the effect of Sabio’s “withdrawal” from the case.
“When you file a communication, that is not really a complaint. That is just a submission of evidence. And it’s up for the prosecutor to use that or not. And if you withdraw that, it doesn’t matter to them,” the retired justice said.
Sabio’s succeeding pronouncements also have no effect on the ICC case because there are others who have also submitted a communication to the ICC, he added.
“The office of the prosecutor has the discretion on whether or not to use it…because it’s just an evidence being submitted and you cannot prevent the ICC from using evidence that is out there,” Carpio pointed out.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said it is high time that the ICC wakes up from its supposed ignorance, claiming Sabio’s case against the President was only part of a “vilification campaign.”