JANUARY 15, 2020 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte, his spokesman insisted anew on Wednesday, after a case against him has been withdrawn in the tribunal.
In a statement, Secretary Salvador Panelo raised his previous argument that the country was “never” a part of the tribunal, citing its supposed unconstitutionality.
The ICC has continued the examination of Duterte’s bloody war, which killed close to 6,000 suspects, even if the Philippines already withdrew from the Rome Statute that created the international court.
“The incontrovertible fact remains that the ICC never acquired jurisdiction over our country for the simple reason that the Rome Statute… was never clothed with legal enforceability in our jurisdiction because it lacked the legal requirement of publication, he said.
Panelo also told the ICC to wake up and realize that it is being used by “disgruntled and discredited” persons to taint the popular leader’s reputation and bring down his presidency.
On Tuesday, lawyer Jude Sabio withdrew the case he had filed before the ICC against Duterte for alleged crimes against humanity, in connection to the killings of more than 1,400 people in Davao City while he was mayor for two decades.
Sabio was the counsel of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, who has linked Duterte to the so-called Davao Death Squad tasked to go after small-time drug dealers in the city.
But Sabio said he did not agree with the political opposition, led by former senator Antonio Trillanes, in using the human rights case to stain Duterte’s image.
“It appears that he was tapped by the former renegade rebel turned senator, Antonio Trillanes, to file the complaint against PRRD,” Panelo said in response to the case withdrawal.
“Trillanes must be squirming in his disgraced retirement by Sabio’s turnabout. Lies can only be sustained for sometime,” he furthered.
Trillanes, however, argued Sabio’s move has no effect since the court processes in the country are different with that of the ICC. He also said he had file a separate complaint with former congressman Gary Alejano. (Karen Macalalad/MM)