Palace: Only the Philippines can investigate crimes under its sovereignty

President Rodrigo Duterte | PNA Photo by Richard Madelo

THE Philippine government will not allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) to look into the killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-narcotics crackdown, according to Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday, September 20, insisted that only local authorities can investigate crimes that happened in the Philippines.

“Tanging Pilipinas lang po ang pwedeng mag-imbestiga ng mga krimen na nangyari sa kaniyang teritoryo ngayong hindi na po tayo kasapi sa Rome Statute ng ICC (Only the Philippines is allowed to investigate crimes happening in its territory now that we are no longer part of the Rome Statute of the ICC),” he said at a press briefing.

“Hindi po pupuwede na dalawang estado ang mag-i-exercise ng hurisdiksyon at ng soberenya (Jurisdiction and sovereignty cannot be exercised by two states),” he added.

Roque also noted that the process of issuing warrants of arrest against drug war perpetrators will take a long time.

“Dahil kung titingnan ninyo po ang case load ng prosecutor, talagang taon po ang tinatagal ng mga kasong subjected for preliminary investigation at lalung-lalo na po kung walang kooperasyon sa estado (As we see the caseload of the prosecutor, the cases subjected for preliminary investigation will take years, especially if there’s no cooperation from the State),” he said.

“The case may languish ‘til kingdom come,” he added.

Instead, the spokesman advised human rights victims to file their complaints before local courts, saying the process will take 90 days.

“Lahat po ng ating mga kababayan na sa tingin nila ay nalabag ang kanilang mga karapatan, maghain po kayo ng reklamo natin sa piskalya dito po sa Pilipinas, at mabilis pong proseso iyan (Those who think their rights were violated, you can file complaints in the fiscal office here in the Philippines, it’s a quick process),” the spokesman said.

Last week, the ICC’s pre-trial chamber found a “reasonable basis” to proceed with a full investigation into Duterte’s bloody war against illegal drugs.

The decision was signed by Presiding Judge Péter Kovács, Judge Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou, and Judge María del Socorro Flores Liera.

“On the basis of the above, the Chamber concludes that there is a reasonable basis for the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation, in the sense that the crime against humanity of murder appears to have been committed, and that potential case(s) arising from such investigation appear to fall within the Court’s jurisdiction,” the judges said.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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