Duterte refuses to face 'white people' in ICC: 'How are you supposed to get justice there?'

Published June 22, 2021, 1:56 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has ruled out any chance of facing trial abroad over the controversial war on illegal drugs.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a televised address to the nation from Davao City on June 21, 2021 (Malacañang)

The President launched a profanity-laced tirade against the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying he would rather face a complaint before a Philippine court than the “white people” in the foreign body.

Duterte made the remarks after ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the tribunal to open an investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity linked to the Philippine government’s anti-drug operations from 2016 to 2019. The Philippines left the Rome Statute that created the ICC shortly after a preliminary examination into the drug war was initiated by Bensouda in 2018.

“Kaya itong ICC, bullsh*t ito. I will not, why would I defend or face an accusation before white people? You must be crazy,” Duterte said during a televised public address Monday, June 21.

“‘Yung mga colonizers ito noon (These are the former colonizers) they have not atoned for their sins against the countries they invaded, including the Philippines. Tapos ito ngayon sila (Now) they’re trying to set up a court outside our country and making us liable to face them,” he added.

Duterte expressed doubts that justice can be attained in the international court. “Our laws are different. Our criminal procedure is very different. How are you supposed to get justice there?” he asked.

“Ako magharap sa mga puti? Leche kayo (I face a court of white people? No way). I will readily face a court being accused in a Philippine court before a Filipino judge,” he added.

The Palace earlier slammed Bensouda’s request to launch a full inquiry in the drug war as “legally erroneous and politically motivated.”

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque argued that the President would not cooperate with any foreign probe due to lack of jurisdiction and breach of the principle of complementarity. The ICC, considered a court of last resort, had no business meddling in local affairs since the country’s workers are fully functioning, he added.

In his remarks Monday, the President admitted he was angry with the ICC since the country was still battling the drug problem. He said many people were still being arrested over drug charges.

“If you do not move against them, it will destroy our country. Narcopolitics ito,” he said, citing that some officials were implicated in the illegal drug trade. “We kill them because they fight back.”

Duterte, who has brushed aside criticisms from human rights advocates, also mentioned the country’s pullout from the ICC membership during his public address.

He reiterated that the Rome Statute, ratified by the Senate in 2011, was not enforceable in the country since it was not published in the Official Gazette, a legal requirement before a law takes effect. The country’s withdrawal ICC took effect in March 2019.