MANILA, Philippines — Human rights lawyer and former Bayan Muna party-list representative Neri Colmenares’ claims that President Rodrigo Duterte would be arrested by the International Criminal Court on the strength of his alleged bloody war on drugs is nothing but a “wish” a Malacanang official said.
Presidential Spokesman Sal Panelo said Duterte is not bothered at all by ICC’s insinuations and that with other entities like Colmenares.
“I think it’s Colmenares who’s bothered,” Panelo said. “We don’t interfere with the actions of the Commission on Human Rights,” he said.
“It’s just a wish of (former) congressman Colmenares. That won’t happen,” the Palace spokesman said.
At least two communications have already been filed with the ICC asking the international court to look into deaths allegedly tied to Duterte’s “war” on illegal drugs but Palace Spokesman Sal Panelo said the court, no matter, how good its intention maybe, just cannot enforce it on a technicality.
Panelo insists the former party-list congressman could only be hallucinating on Duterte’s incarceration by the ICC because he said: “an arrest warrant cannot be enforced as the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the Philippines.”
“Even if they (ICC) issue a warrant, who will enforce it?” Panelo blurted during a radio interview.
“It’s not that simple. First, a preliminary examination has to be conducted first and then they have to determine if they have jurisdiction. Second, there will be a preliminary investigation to determine whether there is probable cause. If there is, there would be a trial…assuming there is jurisdiction. But there is none, as far as we’re concerned,” Panelo added.
The said complaints filed against Duterte with the ICC seek his indictment for allegedly ordering the deaths of thousands of drug suspects.
Meanwhile, reports claimed ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda recently released a statement saying “the preliminary examination into Duterte’s alleged crimes against humanity may be completed next year, 2020.”
The Rome Statute, the treaty that formed the ICC, has no jurisdiction over the Philippines because it was not published in the government’s official publication or since Duterte withdrew the Philippines from the treaty last year in response to the ICC’s decision to look into his crackdown on illegal drugs.
But the ICC countered saying PH’s withdrawal “would not affect the Philippines’ obligation to cooperate with the probe.” (IAMIGO/CNS)