Solons applaud Bensouda's bid for ICC probe into 'war on drugs' killings

Published June 15, 2021, 4:18 PM

by Ben Rosario

Opposition lawmakers on Tuesday, June 15 applauded the decision of International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to seek authorization to proceed with an investigation into the alleged the killing of thousands of suspected drug users and pushers in the “war on drugs” campaign of the Duterte government.

Asst. Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro and Magdalo Partylist Rep. Manuel Cabochan III issued separate press statements airing their view that justice may soon be realized for the thousands of people who died during the first three years of the drug war.

In a statement Bensouda said that before ending her term as ICC prosecutor, she has requested the investigation to progress, stressing that there is a “reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder has been committed on the territory of the Philippines between 1 July 2016 and 16 March 2019 in the context of the Government of the Philippines war on drugs campaign.” “This is a step towards holding President Duterte accountable for his crimes against humanity as commander-in-chief of this so-called war on drugs,” declared Castro.

“There will be no impunity for him and his cohort of executioners. He cannot escape justice for the tens of thousands of Filipinos slaughtered at his behest,” she stressed.

The opposition solon agreed with Bensouda’s claim that the killings committed had “reached the level of crimes against humanity.” “This administration’s blatant violation of due process, killing thousands of Filipinos in the guise of their ‘nanlaban’ narrative has even crossed over to human rights defenders, including the Makabayan, who have also been victims of red-tagging,” she lamented.

For his part, Cabochan sees the action taken by the ICC Prosecutor as “another step closer to achieving justice” for the thousands who were killed during the war on drugs and their families.

“I hope that our institutions are strong enough to fulfill their mandates and cooperate with the ICC once the investigation starts,” he said.

Cabochan stated: “May this be a reminder to the President, his officials, and everyone who openly supported the drug killings that there is always a day of reckoning.” “Power is not eternal, and soon, justice will be served,” the partylist lawmaker added.