Duterte shrugs off ICC probe on drug war

Former President Rodrigo Duterte has shrugged off the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to proceed with the preliminary investigation of his infamous war on illegal drugs, his former spokesperson Harry Roque said.


Roque said this after the ICC authorized prosecutor Karim Khan to reopen the probe on possible rights abuses and crimes against humanity committed under the Duterte administration.

In a statement, the former Palace spokesman said Duterte insists on never allowing foreigners "to sit in judgment of him as long as Philippine courts are willing and able to do so."

"He would humbly submit to the prosecution and judgment of any local court. He is ready to face any of his accusers," Roque said.

"The former chief executive would never subject himself under the legal jurisdiction of any foreign body because it is an insult to the competence and impartiality of our functioning criminal justice system," he added.

Duterte has repeatedly urged the alleged victims of his administration's crackdown on illegal drugs to file a case before the Philippine courts.

According to Roque, the resumption of the probe is a waste of time and resources for the ICC.

"The ICC should focus instead on the war crimes and crimes against humanity that are actually happening in places like Ukraine and some African countries," he said.

"I support former President Duterte's firm stand. Our domestic courts are willing and able to carry out fair proceedings vis-à-vis cases related to the war on drugs campaign," he added.

Roque said the Duterte administration was able to investigate, prosecute and convict several police officers involved in extra-legal killings of drug suspects.

In 2021, the ICC granted the government's deferral request and suspended its formal investigation of alleged crimes against humanity by the Duterte government.