By Ellson Quismorio
Opposition senatorial candidate, Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano has welcomed the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) continued probe on the alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under the Duterte administration, saying it gives hope to the victims’ kin.
“Ang desisyon ng ICC na ipagpatuloy ang ginagawang imbestigasyon ay pag-asa na makakamit ng mga biktima ng [EJKs] at mga pamilya nila ang hustisya (The ICC’s decision to continue its investigation gives hope that the victims of EJKs and their families will achieve justice),” Alejano said.
“I hope that the killings happening under the war on drugs will not go unpunished. We owe it to those who have perished to seek justice especially when our government has already foregone the responsibility to do so,” the former Marine captain added .
Alejano is part of the Magnificent 7+, a bloc in the House of Representatives that has been consistently critical of President Rodrigo Duterte particularly on the bloody anti-illegal drug war.
The bloc had previously claimed that over 10,000 civilians have perished in this campaign, which began after Duterte assumed the presidency in June 2016.
It was July 2017 when Alejano filed a case of crimes against humanity against Duterte in connection with the drug war before the ICC in Netherlands.
Earlier this year, the Duterte administration formally sent the Philippines’ letter of withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the Hague-based tribunal. However, Alejano claimed that the country remains under ICC jurisdiction.
“No matter how the Duterte administration twists the facts, we remain a party to the Rome Statute not until the withdrawal takes effect. Thus, the crimes against humanity committed under the war on drugs fall within the subject-matter jurisdiction of the ICC,” he said.
“I believe that the ICC will find reasonable basis to proceed to the next stage which is the preliminary investigations,” the congressman further said.
Alejano said the ICC’s continuous investigation on the EJKs under the Duterte administration’s drug war should also “serve as a wakeup call for those involved and for those who continue to defend this gross inhumanity.”
Alejano holds the distinction of being the first person to file a verified impeachment complaint against Duterte, doing so in March 2017.