IPT convicts Duterte for rights volations; Palace calls it a sham

Published September 20, 2018, 2:38 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang scoffed at the decision of the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) to convict President Duterte of human rights violations, saying it’s a sham and that the IPT has no official sanction.

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement after the IPT handed down its decision Wednesday after hearing the “heart-wrenching, traumatic ,and horrific” testimonies of witnesses, experts, and resource persons.

In his Thursday Palace press briefing, Roque questioned the decision of the IPT which he called a sham.

“That’s a sham decision. It has no official sanction,” he said.

According to Duterte, the validity of the decision will depend on the credibility of the judges whom he claimed that he has not heard of.

“The validity of the findings will depend on the credibility of the tribunals. I’m in this field of law, I do not know who sat there,” he said.

“They appear to be a propaganda body of the international left, if not the uhm… And therefore, we set it aside as being a useless piece of propaganda against the government,” he added.

Roque said the IPT is unlike the judges at the Comfort Women Tribunal in Asia who had high qualifications.

“The people who sat there as judges include really individuals who later on were appointed at the international court of justice because they had the highest qualification, one was prosecutor for the UN War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Another was appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights,” he said.

“But when I look at the roster, I really don’t know who they are,” he said in Filipino.

“It’s really just leftists who happen to be white, sympathetic to the Philippine left. The network of the Philippine left is really something, with left groups as well, particularly in Europe,” he continued.

In his closing argument, the lead prosecutor said a guilty verdict would serve as a message and a lesson.

“Justice and accountability cannot be detained forever… There will come a time when the victims of these atrocities will be able to get the justice that has eluded them so far and that President Duterte will be given the punishment he so richly deserves,” the lead prosecutor said.

The IPT was convened this week to hear cases charging Duterte of violations of civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, the right to self-determination and development, and international humanitarian law.