Duterte vows to finish drug war despite ICC, human rights probe

By Jelly Musico

March 6, 2018, 9:12 pm

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday reiterated his promise to finish his campaign against illegal drugs until his last day in Malacanang, with or without investigations initiated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other human rights groups.

“The drugs. Whether human rights will believe or not, it is not my business to do with their biddings. I have a duty to perform and worse, I made it a solemn promise,” Duterte said in his speech during the 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

“So the war against drugs will continue with or without the ICC, with or without the human rights (groups), with or without the politicians. It will last until the last day of my term as President,” he added.

Duterte said he would not allow drug syndicates and organized crime groups to destroy the young generation of the country.

“Do not destroy it because I will kill you. Do not put to naught my toil and destroy the young of my country because I will really kill you,” he said.

In a separate speech he delivered during the oath taking rites of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) officials at Malacanang Palace, Duterte said ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “cannot acquire jurisdiction over me, not in a million years.”

“That’s why I’m not answering. That’s true. I don’t want to say that has always been my weapon ever since. Don’t believe them. They cannot ever, ever hope to acquire jurisdiction over my person,” he said.

Last month, Malacanang announced that the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC will start its preliminary investigation on the alleged extrajudicial killings linked to the government’s anti-drugs campaign.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, clarified that the preliminary examination only aims to collect and verify information to determine if there is “reasonable basis” to go on with a preliminary investigation.

Roque has defended the government’s war on drugs, saying it is a lawful and legitimate police operation that “cannot be characterized as an attack against civilian populations.”

“It is a lawful use of force and therefore, we submit likewise on the merits the element of directing an attack against civilian populations is simply lacking,” Roque said in a previous media briefing.

Aside from the ICC, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard has also expressed willingness to investigate deaths linked to campaign against illegal drugs.

Roque, however, had said Callamard has no credibility to investigate because the UN Special Rapporteur had already prejudged the government’s anti-narcotics campaign. (PNA)