Palace raps ICC prosecutor's request to reopen probe on PH drug war

Published June 25, 2022, 3:06 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said that the Duterte administration has always been transparent in its “successful” campaign against illegal drugs as it blasted a recent request for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the alleged irregularities in the campaign anew.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (Malacañang photo)

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said this after ICC prosecutor Karim Khan formally requested the judges of the court’s pre-trial chamber to proceed with the probe. Khan claimed that the Philippine government did not appear to be investigating the alleged crimes committed amid the drug war.

In a statement, Andanar expressed frustration as he reiterated the country’s appeal to be allowed to handle its internal affairs.

“Let these efforts of the Philippine government run their course; after all, reciprocity is a key principle in the methods of work of the ICC,” he said Saturday, June 25.

“To veer away from this principle will only reveal the politicization that has infiltrated the ICC’s ranks,” he added.

Andanar pointed out that the ICC based its call for an investigation on a report by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). He said the report doers not imply that such an intervention was necessary.

“Let it be clarified that while the CHR has recommended in [the] said report that relevant international organizations continue monitoring the human rights situation in the country, in no part of its report did it even imply the need for [a] direct external investigation,” he said.

“Surely, the CHR knows the implications of such intervention on State sovereignty, and we expect the ICC, especially Mr. Khan, to know that as well,” he added.

The outgoing Palace spokesman said the Duterte administration has always been transparent regarding alleged irregularities in the drug war, a program he described as “successful.”

“Amid our hugely successful anti-illegal drug campaign that saw a massive dip in crime incidences attributed to drug abuse, the Duterte administration has undertaken, through the Department of Justice, in partnership with the Philippine National Police, among others, investigations of all deaths that have arisen from lawful drug enforcement operations,” Andanar said.

“This shows transparency and the efforts to address alleged flaws in the campaign are in fact supported by the United Nations in its three-year technical cooperation program with the Philippines known as the Joint Program on Human Rights that took effect in July last year,” he added.

In September last year, a pre-trial chamber of the ICC green-lit the probe of President Duterte’s drug war, citing a “reasonable basis” to believe that crimes against humanity had been committed in the course of the anti-illegal drugs campaign.

Two months later, the ICC suspended its probe after the Philippines filed a deferral request, saying the country was investigating the alleged abuses and killings.