Duterte ready to face death penalty in local court, not ICC

Published July 29, 2021, 12:16 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is prepared to face death penalty if he is convicted before a local court, not the International Criminal Court (ICC).


President Rodrigo Duterte (File photo/Malacañang)


Addressing the nation late Wednesday, July 28, the President asserted that he would rather stand on trial at home rather than face the foreign tribunal over alleged rights abuses linked to his war on drugs.

Duterte refused to cooperate with any ICC probe since the Hague-based tribunal supposedly has no jurisdiction over him since its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, supposedly never became a law in the country.

“Bakit ako haharap ng husgado na puro puti ang mga p***** i** niya? Kung ako’y magpalitis, anong kasalanan ko, it will be before a Philippine court and before a Filipino judge na kung sabihin niya na ako na death penalty, so be it, tanggapin ko (Why will I face the judges who are all white, those son of a b***? If I stand trial, whatever my violation, it will be a before a Philippine court and before a Filipino judge. If the judge rules death penalty, so be it. I will accept it),” Duterte said in a televised address.

“Pero huwag mo ako bigyan ng mga puti na ‘yan. Atonement for their sins ‘yan nila eh. Sila ‘yan sa colonial days ilang pinatay nila kinalimutan ng mga p***** i** (But do not subject me before those foreigners. That’s atonement for their sins. They killed so many people during the colonial days but those sons of b*** forget about that),” he said.

The President argued that when he pulled out the country’s membership from the ICC founding treaty, it was an “empty gesture” since the treaty was not published on the Official Gazette, a legal requirement before a law takes effect in the country.

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 Palace earlier said the President would not cooperate with any ICC inquiry 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, it said.