Duterte unfazed by ICC move to pursue probe on drug war

President Duterte remains unbothered by the International Criminal Court (ICC) authorizing the full inquiry on his infamous drug war, reiterating that the court does not have jurisdiction over the Philippine affairs.


Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after a pre-trial chamber of the ICC green-lit the said probe, citing a "reasonable basis" to believe that crimes against humanity had been committed in the course of the anti-illegal drugs campaign.

In his press briefing on Thursday, September 16, the President had no reaction when he was informed of the recent development concerning his drug war which he had highlighted in his pre-recorded address for the past two weeks.

"Wala pong reaksyon ang Presidente dahil mula’t mula niya sinasabi niya na siya ay mamamatay muna bago siya haharap sa mga dayuhang mga huwes (The President had no reaction because from the very beginning he said he would die first before facing foreigners from the west)," he said.

According to Roque, the ICC can do what they want to do but their probe will not result in anything.

"Nagkaroon na nga ng desisyon ang pre-trial chamber mismo ng ICC na nagsasabi na 'wag na dapat na ituloy ang imbestigasyon na walang possibility na magkakaroon ng successful na prosecution dahil 'yan po ay pagsasayang lamang ng oras at resources ng ICC mismo (The pre-trial chamber of the ICC said that no investigation should continue if there is no possibility of a successful prosecution because it is just a waste of time and resources of the ICC)," he said.

"Matutulog lang po ang kaso lalo kung hindi magko-cooperate ang pulisya. In the absence of cooperation, wala pong ebidensyang mahahanap (This will become a cold case especially if the police won't cooperate. In the absence of cooperation, they won't be able to find any evidence)," he added.

No power over PH

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo stressed in a statement that the ICC had no jurisdiction over the Philippines, especially since the country withdrew from the Rome Statute in 2019.

"We have repeatedly emphasized that the Rome Statute, being penal in nature, failed to comply with the publication requirement that affords due process to those which it seeks to affect," he said.

"It is as if the said instrument never took effect in the country," he added.


Meanwhile, Panelo believed that the ICC is being utilized as a political and propaganda apparatus by those who will do anything to dethrone Duterte from his seat.

"The timing of this development reveals that the ICC is bent on proceeding with a case against our government officials in violation of our Constitution and in contravention with the Rome Statute that created it," he said.

He added that the public can expect the President's critics to take advantage of the situation.

"While we expect that more theatrics will be employed by the detractors of the President as election season draws near, this blatant and brazen interference and assault on our sovereignty as an independent country by the ICC is condemnable," he said.