Solons laud ICC probe on drug war deaths: 'Crime does not pay'

Published September 16, 2021, 4:54 PM

by Ben Rosario

Congressmen lauded on Thursday, Sept. 16 the decision of the International Criminal Court to conduct a full investigation of the bloody drug war initiated by President Rodrigo Duterte, saying that the adage that “crime does not pay” may finally be apply to his case.

Drug war deaths

Reps. Edcel Lagman (1st District, Albay) and Manuel D.G. Cabochan (Magdalo Partylist) said that while they had expected Duterte not to cooperate in the ICC probe, he cannot evade it because no less than the Supreme Court has ruled that the international judiciary has legal basis for doing it.

“The ICC’s go-signal for the comprehensive investigation comes in the heels of the Supreme Court unanimous decision that Duterte cannot escape the ICC’s jurisdiction by invoking the Philippines’ withdrawal before it became effective,” said Lagman.

The independent lawmaker explained that the probe will cover killings that took place between Nov. 1, 2011, the date the Philippines ratified the Rome Statute creating the ICC, and March 16, 2019, when Duterte order the country’s withdrawal.

Murders committed against suspected drug pushers and users when Duterte took over the reins of government on July 1, 2016 to March 16, 2019 will be the main targets of the probe.

Thousands have already been slain during alleged shootouts with government anti-drug operatives during the covered period, it was gathered.

“Duterte’s centerpiece program of eliminating the drug menace has degenerated into a killing field of drug suspects who invariably come from the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors,” said Lagman in a statement.

He added: “No less than the government’s count admits that about 7,000 had been killed in the bloody campaign against narcotics, while local and international human rights organizations record close to 30,000 victims of related extra-judicial killings (EJKs).” Cabochan aired hopes that “justice will soon be served” the victims of the bloody drug war and their families.

“We expect Duterte and his cohorts to not cooperate and deny the smooth conduct of the investigation. This will gravely undermine the rule of law,” said Cabocan.

“On the other hand, we expect all our institutions to stand up for the Filipino people and not cover up whatever cowardly act Duterte has done, is doing, and is about to do. As we always say, ours is not a Duterte nation,” the partylist lawmaker stated.