President Rodrigo Duterte will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s probe into the country’s drug war, with palace spokesman Harry Roque saying that the case will just eventually languish.
Roque said he himself informed the president about the ICC’s launch of its probe on Sept. 15 on the country's “war on drugs” campaign.
“Wala pong reaksyon si Presidente kasi mula’t mula pa, sinabi na niya na mamamatay muna siya bago siya haharap sa dayuhan na huwes,” Roque said during the televised press briefing Sept. 16.
“Gumagana po ang hukuman sa Pilipinas kaya walang hurisdiksyon ang ICC,” Roque added.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo also said in a radio interview that Duterte "will not cooperate since first of all, the Philippines has left the Rome Statute, so the ICC no longer has jurisdiction over the country.”
Roque also maintained that the ICC can not collect evidence on the case as the Philippines already withdrew from the Hague-based court after it launched a preliminary probe. The ICC, however, said it retains jurisdiction over crimes committed while the Philippines was still a member.
“Ang aking prediction matutulog lang yang kaso na yan dahil in the absence of cooperation sa ating mga kapulisan, wala silang ebidensiyang mahahanap,” said Roque.
Rights groups, lawyers and relatives of people killed in the drug war welcomed the ICC decision.
"I'm glad because this might be a way for us to get justice for the deaths of our loved ones," said Corazon Enriquez, who blames Duterte for the killing of her son during a police raid on their home in 2016.
"That's what we're hoping for -- for that person responsible for the deaths of our children and family members to pay." (with a report from AFP)