Ex-president Duterte eyeing TRO vs ICC probe

The camp of former president Rodrigo Duterte floated the idea of seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent his arrest if the International Criminal Court (ICC) continues its investigation into his administration’s bloody war on drugs campaign, his former spokesman Harry Roque said on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Former president Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang photo)

Roque, who ran and lost in the May 2022 senatorial election, disclosed that Duterte met with former members of his Cabinet on Monday night to discuss the ICC and his plans of facing the alleged crimes against humanity charges.

The TRO will restrain Philippine law enforcement officers from serving the warrant of arrest against him if this will, indeed, be issued by the ICC, the former Palace official said in an interview with ANC.

Duterte will argue that the Philippines courts “are able and willing” to try these cases, so foreign institutions have “no basis” to interfere into the affairs of a sovereign country, Roque argued.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. already said that he has no intention of rejoining the ICC.

READ: Marcos says PH has no intention to rejoin ICC; PH probe on drug war cited

Roque maintained that the former president is ready and willing to face these charges since he has no more immunity as the chief executive, but only if the cases will be filed in Philippine courts.

The meeting, attended by former Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, former Justice Secretary and now Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, and another representative from the Department of Justice (DOJ), was done to make clear that Duterte’s position on the ICC remains unchanged.

In March 2018, Duterte announced the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute. This became effective a year later.

But the ICC said that the investigation into the war on drug campaign will still cover the years before the withdrawal took effect.