Duterte tells Año to prep drug war report: ‘Let ICC see the problem’

Published December 14, 2021, 8:09 AM

by Raymund Antonio

President Duterte will not “bow down” to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as he boasted of his government’s achievements in seizing billions worth of illegal drugs, most notably “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) or “poor man’s cocaine”.

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during his “Talk to the People” public briefing on Monday, Dec.13, 2021. (Malacañang photo)

Addressing Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, the President asked if he could give a “compilation of all shabu seized during this year starting—maybe starting during my term”.

“Well, it’s all intended to apprise the human rights. And maybe when the time comes, we will use it to show to the ICC that’s the reason why we are not—I am not going to bow down to their jurisdiction is because they would see the enormity of the problem of shabu in the country, para malaman lang po nila (for them to know),” Duterte told Año during his taped late-night “Talk to the People” on Monday, Dec. 13.

Año responded in the affirmative and promised to make a report that he could present to the President in their next meeting.

The ICC recently halted the conduct of its preliminary investigation into the President’s bloody war on drugs in November after Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands Eduardo Malaya wrote a deferral request saying that the Philippines was “keen on ensuring the successful prosecution of cases that have been filed, or may be filed in court, against erring Philippine National Police (PNP) members and others within its jurisdiction”.

READ: Malacañang welcomes suspension of ICC probe on drug war

Experts said the deferral of the investigation was procedural and that ICC will soon resume its probe once it has proven that the Philippines’ judicial system isn’t doing enough to investigate the extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

Malaya even cited an ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) which looked into 52 drug raids carried out between 2016 and 2021. Human rights advocates, however, have called out the justice department over the measly number of cases it filed against EJK suspects.

This came after the ICC, which is based in The Hague, gave the green light for an official probe into Duterte’s anti-illegal drug war that has killed at least 6,117 suspected drug dealers as of April 2021, official records showed.

But human rights crusaders said the actual toll could be as high as 30,000.

Although the President withdrew the Philippines’ membership from the ICC in March 2018, the court maintains jurisdiction on crimes committed from November 2011–the time when the statute entered into force after Manila’s ratification–until March 2019, when the withdrawal came into effect.