Sec Remulla to ex-Pres Duterte, Sen Dela Rosa:  Stay away from countries where ICC has influence

Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte should stay away from countries where the International Criminal Court (ICC) has influence, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla said on Wednesday, July 19.

Remulla’s advise was aired not only to Duterte but also to other persons, like retired Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and incumbent Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who are the subjects of the ICC investigation into the killings that took place during the past administration’s war against illegal drugs.

“They are citizens of the Republic who also need our protection so we need to tell them,” Remulla said as he pointed out that countries to be avoided are those in Europe.

On July 18, the ICC’s Appeals Chamber denied the Philippines’ appeal to stop the probe on illegal drugs operations.  With the denial, ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor can resume the probe, order the indictment, and recommend issuance of arrest warrants.

In a statement, the DOJ expressed its “deep disappointment and strong disagreement with the recent ruling by the International Criminal Court (ICC) rejecting our country’s appeal.”

“The principle of complementarity enshrined in the Rome Statute, recognizes the primary jurisdiction of national courts to prosecute crimes and ensures that the ICC only intervenes when national authorities are unable or unwilling to do so,” the DOJ said.

It said that the two dissenting ICC judges “highlight the errors in the majority decision.”

“These dissenting Justices rightly recognized the Philippines’ commitment on upholding the rule of law and maintaining an independent and effective legal system,” it also said.

“Their dissenting opinions underscore the existence of a legitimate difference of legal interpretation, casting doubts on the majority’s ruling,” it added.

The DOJ assured its “commitment to the pursuit of justice and accountability.”
“We will continue to work diligently to address any credible allegations of human rights violations within our jurisdiction. Our justice system stands ready to ensure a fair and impartial investigation, prosecution, and appropriate punishment for any proven crimes,” it said.

At the same time, the DOJ said it is committed to “the well-being and support of all victims affected by the drug war.”

“We encourage individuals who have evidence or witnesses related to the drug war to contact our dedicated task force or reach out to our local offices,” it said.

“The Department of Justice will treat all information with the utmost confidentiality and will take appropriate actions based on the evidence provided,” it assured.