Duterte to run to Supreme Court if deprived of due process in drug war probe

Published July 17, 2021, 6:50 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte intends to seek help from the Supreme Court in case he is unfairly haled into the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his controversial war on drugs.

President Rodrigo Duterte attends virtual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) informal leaders’ retreat on July 16, 2021. (Malacañang)

The President has bared his legal remedy while discussing the threats of critics to put him on trial before the international tribunal.

“You know I’m a lawyer and they can never acquire jurisdiction over my person, not in a million years,” Duterte said during the assembly of the PDP-Laban party in Clark, Pampanga on Saturday, July 17.

“I can always go to the Supreme Court and say, I was deprived of due process,” said Duterte whose anti-drug campaign has been marred by alleged abuses.

A former prosecutor, Duterte explained that the international court could not acquire jurisdiction over him since the Rome Statute that created the ICC never became a law in the country in the first place.

The treaty was never published on the Official Gazette, a legal requirement before it can take effect in the country, according to the President.

“They have to go into the process because if they insist on trying me on the basis of that Rome Statute, which we appended illegally because there was no publication, ang maglabas niyan I would go to the Constitution, which says that ‘no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law,'” he said.

He said failure to publish a law or treaty like the Rome Statute on the Official Gazette, it was “as if there is no law.”

“It is only in publishing it in the Official Gazette that the Filipinos are informed that there is an existing law which says this, that,” he said. “Failing that, there is no law at all,” he added.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda recently 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. The pullout came after the launch of a preliminary inquiry into the drug war, which has been marred by alleged rights abuses.