Barbers dismisses ICC report as anti-Duterte propaganda

Published December 16, 2020, 11:38 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Barbers on Wednesday brushed off the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) report on President Duterte’s all-out drug war as mere propaganda against the Philippine leader.

(Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers’ Office / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

This as Barbers–the longtime chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs–questioned the kind of effort that went into the ICC report.

“While the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor calls its information browsing as ‘reasonable basis,’ the report seems more like a propaganda against President Duterte, who enjoys the satisfactory rating and support of more than 91 percent of the Filipinos based on the latest survey,” the congressman said.

According to the report released Tuesday, there is “reasonable basis” that crimes against humanity took place in the conduct of Duterte’s war on drugs. These crimes allegedly include “murder, torture, and the infliction of serious physical injury and mental harm.”

Barbers said he finds the ICC findings “grossly wanting from facts and full of propaganda.”

“How can there be reasonable basis when Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda admits that she has yet to ‘open an investigation into the situation in the country in the first half on 2021?'” asked the Mindanao lawmaker.

“Prosecutor Bensouda further admits that her study is based on ‘available information,’ which obviously means information provided by the complainants. Clearly the story is one-sided and the findings premature at (best),” Barbers said.

“If this is the quality of investigation that we expect from Prosecutor Bensouda, then we cannot expect justice at all. At best the report reflects her ‘reasonable bias’ against President Duterte,'” he added.

The drug war has been a favorite topic of Duterte critics in the four years that he has been in Malacañang. Depending on who you asked, there is said to be at least 10,000 extra-judiciial killings (EJKs) linked to the war on drugs.

The Philippine National Police has for the most part dismissed allegations on EJKs.