President Duterte casually revealed to a huge audience Thursday, Oct. 21 that Senator and former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa was “nervous” over the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation on the bloody anti-illegal drug war of the administration.
Duterte was speaking at the joint meeting of the National Task Force-Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-RTF ELCAC) in Region IV-A at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City, Quezon Province when he suddenly went off on a tangent and gave his usual angry comments about drug peddlers and drug lords.
“I will repeat what I said before: If you destroy my country and you destroy the young people by feeding them with drugs, you destroy the future…talagang papatayin kita, anak ng put (I’ll really kill you, you son of a)…,” he said.
“Do not ever think na palusutin kita (that I will let you off the hook). Yan ang sinasabi ko sa ICC, wala akong tinatago, ano yung sinasabi ko? (That’s what I’ve been telling the ICC, I’m not hiding anything, what did I just say?) And I said I will protect…,” the President said, referring to the United Nations (UN)-backed court.
An ICC report last month bared that 94 percent of surviving drug war victims has told court prosecutors that the probe on the campaign should push through. The ICC later said that it has green-lit the formal investigation of Duterte’s war on drugs for alleged crimes against humanity.
“Si Bato na-nerbiyos kasi kasali siya doon sa ‘Tokhang’ niya (Bato is included there because of his ‘Tokhang’ and he’s nervous),” Duterte said.
Tokhang refers to the program that the PNP implemented as part of its anti-narcotics efforts at the start of Duterte’s term in 2016. Administration critics have claimed that over 10,000 people were killed in these operations.
The Chief Executive subsequently gave an assurance to the purportedly anxious senator and at the same time showed his disdain toward the ICC.
“Wag kang mag-alala (Don’t worry). If there is any person who will go to prison, it will be me. But it should be a Filipino court…manned by a Filipino judge, and me prosecuted by a Filipino prosecutor,” he said.
Duterte further said that he preferred to go to jail in the Philippines, should he be tried in connection with his drug campaign.
“Sinabi ko na noon eh (I’ve said it before), I assume full responsibility. Sabi ko kay Bato wag kang mag-ano (I told Bato not to do anything), keep quiet there and just…ako, ituro mo ako. Si Dutere ang nag-utos (just point to me, it’s Duterte who gave the order),” he said.
“Kung ano man yang sa listahan mo, utos ni Duterte yan (Whatever is on your list, those were Duterte’s orders). And I will answer for all. Yan ang sinabi ko noon (That’s what I said before) and it will continue until the end of my term,” added the Commander-in-Chief, as if personally addressing Dela Rosa.
Duterte and Dela Rosa are longtime friends.
The retired police chief-turned-senator surprised a lot of Filipinos–even administration allies
–when he filed his certificate of candidacy (coc) for president under the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) earlier this month. Duterte chairs the party.
The next elections will take place on May 9, 2022.