Malacañang stressed that the government will not cooperate with the investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the administration’s bloody drug war, saying the Philippines is a sovereign country.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement following suggestions to declare ICC probers persona non grata 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 Monday, September 20, Roque said the Philippines has no obligation to cooperate with the High Court since the country is no longer a member of the Rome Statute of the ICC.
“Wala po tayong obligasyon na makipag-cooperate ngayon… Paninindigan po natin ang ating hurisdiksyon at soberenya (We don’t have an obligation to cooperate now. We will stand by our jurisdiction and sovereignty),” he said.
“‘Yan po ang dahilan kung bakit hindi pwedeng mag-imbestiga ang mga dayuhan sa mga krimen na nangyari sa ating bayan (That’s the reason why foreigners cannot investigate crimes that happened in our country),” he added.
Aside from that, Roque cited coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols that prohibit the entry of foreigners into the country, except for those with long-staying visas.
Meanwhile, the Palace official said witnesses and those who felt they were victims of human rights abuses in the country are free to fly to the Hague for the investigation.
“Karapatan po nila ‘yan. Pero kung crimes against humanity, kinakailangan po widespread at systematic so kinakailangan po talaga hundreds of thousands ang lilipad doon (That’s their right. But if it’s crimes against humanity, it should be widespread and systematic so hundreds and thousands would have to fly there),” he said.
Roque, instead, encouraged victims and witnesses to file their cases in the Philippines.
“Mas mabilis po ang proseso dito dahil ang ating mga piskal, 90 days lang po pag hindi sila nag-resolve, wala silang sweldo (The process is faster here in the Philippines because our fiscal are only given 90 days to resolve cases. If not, they won’t be paid),” he said.
He added that it will take some time before the ICC can issue an arrest warrant for perpetrators of human rights abuses in the country if the body will even decide to.
“Kung titignan niyo po ang case load ng prosecutor, talagang taon po ang tinatagal ng kasong subjected for preliminary investigation (If you will look at the case load of a prosecutor, it takes them years for a case subjected for preliminary investigation),” Roque said.
“Lalong-lalo na po kung walang kooperasyon sa estado, pwede pong matulog ang kasong ‘yan (Especially if the State won’t cooperate, the case can sleep) until kingdom come,” he added.