THE International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction to try President Rodrigo Duterte over the allegations of summary killings of thousands of people as a result of his administration’s war on drugs, a Palace official said Tuesday.
Following the communication filed by lawyer Jude Josue Sabio, who represents self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the government had already conducted a probe that absolved Duterte of allegations of summary killings.
“The ICC will have to determine to whether or not they have jurisdiction. Number two, whether or not the state is unwilling to investigate,” Panelo told CNN Philippines.
But as a result of the filing of the case, opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said there would now be an independent body to determine the killings of thousands of Filipinos and hold liable those behind it.
“We will now have a truly independent body that could find out the whole truth behind the slaughter of thousands of Filipinos and prosecute those behind it,” Trillanes said.
Parañaque City Rep. Gus Tambunting said the filing of the complaint against Duterte and several other key officials of the government should not be taken lightly.
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said “this is an opportunity for Congress to show to the world that it is independent from the influence of the President and prove that it is able and willing to make him accountable for crimes he has committed to the Filipino people.”
But Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III doubted the case against Duterte would prosper.
Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque said the case was only meant to embarrass the President during the Asean summit.
Panelo claimed that the communication filed by Sabio simply had no basis.
“There are only four grounds: one, genocide; number two, crime against humanity; number three; war crimes; and number four, war of aggression,” Panelo said.
“Now, this extrajudicial killing is not state-sponsored and this is the finding of the Senate. Moreover, I think this is the result of the killings within the drug industry group because the surrenderees have pointed their fingers at their accomplices and necessarily the accomplices would not want themselves to be open to prosecution.”
In a complaint filed before ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Sabio said Duterte “repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously” committed crimes against humanity and that under him, the killing of drug suspects and other criminals had become a “best practice.”
Describing the alleged spate of extrajudicial killings in the country as a “human rights disaster,” Sabio said Duterte’s methods used by the Davao Death Squad in perpetrating alleged extrajudicial killings while he was mayor, including the planting of false evidence and [the payment of] cash to killers, were being replicated on a national scale.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella, meanwhile, said it would be disappointing if the International Criminal Court would believe the statements of a confessed killer.
“As far as we can see, it has no basis for prospering,” he said. With Macon Ramos-Araneta and Maricel V. Cruz