DAYS before the Philippines effectively withdraws from the International Criminal Court, President Rodrigo Duterte has said that he is ready to face a death sentence from the court.
“For the things that I have said, ordered and done, I am willing to put my neck dito sa mga bagay na ito (for these things),” Duterte said at the campaign of PDP-Laban candidates in Isabela Wednesday. “Eh baka balang araw itong ICC na itong mga bugok na ito (Maybe one day the ICC, these idiots), if they decide to hang me, I would be very glad to go and ako pa ang maglagay (I will put on the noose).”
The Philippines’ withdrawal of membership from the international court will take effect on March 17. It will be the second country to exit from the tribunal since Burundi in 2017.
Duterte pulled the country out of the ICC in February 2018, a month after it announced a preliminary examination of alleged extrajudicial killings in the country prompted by two communications filed in connection with the drug war.
But the court may decide to launch an investigation into Duterte’s drug war, according to Jude Sabio. Sabio submitted to the ICC a 77-page document on the killings, followed by supplemental information from opposition lawmakers Senator Antonio Trillanes and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano.
They said over a thousand were killed by the so-called Davao Death Squad, while thousands more were killed in the war on drugs since Duterte became president.
Two petitions are also pending before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Philippines’ withdrawal from the international tribunal.
There will be no cooperation from the Philippine government should the ICC proceed with a full-blown investigation into President Duterte’s war on drugs.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this clear yesterday. The Philippines’ withdrawal from the The Hague-based tribunal takes effect on March 17.
“They cannot do anything against us,” Panelo said at a news conference in Malacañang. “Bakit ka naman magko-cooperate kung walang jurisdiction? We’re not bound by their rules.”
Panelo reiterated that the ICC will be violating its own rules if it would conduct a preliminary investigation.
“Under the Rome Statute, if there is a preliminary investigation or any proceeding referring to the preliminary investigation, when there is one prior to the effectivity of the withdrawal, they can still proceed with the investigation,” he said.
“But in this particular case we said assuming we have not withdrawn, assuming they have jurisdiction, they cannot proceed because that is in violation of the Rome Statute because what they did was just a preliminary examination, not preliminary investigation,” Panelo added.
The President is facing two communications in connection with the drug war before the ICC, which opened in February last year a preliminary examination to determine whether it has jurisdiction over the matter and a full-blown investigation would serve the interests of justice and of the victims.
Duterte had repeatedly said that the ICC has no jurisdiction over him, arguing that the Rome Statute — the treaty that established the ICC — is not enforceable in the Philippines because it was not published in a government publication or any commercial newspaper.
Malacañang, meanwhile, cited the principle of complementarity in which the ICC can only investigate allegations of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes if the domestic courts are unable or unwilling to do so.
The Palace said the Philippines has a “robust judicial system which soundly operates.”