MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday lambasted anew the International Criminal Court (ICC) for authorizing a full inquiry on his administration's drug war, stressing that the court does not have jurisdiction over Philippine affairs.
“I will never accept jurisdiction. Mag ice na ang impiyerno, hindi ako papayag sa kalokohan nila (Even if hell freezes over, I will not accept their nonsense),” Duterte said in a speech during the inauguration of a port in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
He said he would only stand on trial before a Filipino judge in the country and be detained in a Philippine prison rather than face “white people” at the ICC.
“Jurisdiction? Ako haharap sa mga judges na puti? Ako? Haharap ako sa Pilipino judges, hindi kayo (Would I face white judges? I will only face Filipino judges, not you),” he said.
Duterte said the ICC knows nothing about “domestic crimes”, especially in areas where shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride is abundantly sold.
He pointed out that the ICC also seemed to ignore abuses suffered by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), particularly domestic workers, in Middle Eastern countries.
“Millions of Filipinos go to other countries and these countries minsan (sometimes) are countries na walang alam sa (where there is no) human dignity. They go there, the Filipinas, they are raped repeatedly. So you can just imagine the insanity going inside their system. And yet yung mga iba, titiisin nila ‘yan. They will endure para lang magpadala ng pera (and yet many of them endure it just to be able to send money),” he added.
Duterte described the ICC as a tool of oppression, composed of colonizers who have failed to atone for their sins against the countries they invaded.
“Kayong mga human rights, huwag ninyo ako bolahin, Pilipino ako (You, human rights, stop pulling my leg, I am Filipino). You pretend to atone for your sins. Sino ba nag-umpisa ng oppression? Di ba kayo (But who started oppression? Wasn’t it you)?” he said.
He also reiterated that he would take full responsibility for his war on drugs, noting that he is even ready to go to prison.
“I assume full responsibility. And if there’s anybody who should go to prison, it should not be the police nor the PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency). It should be me because they were acting upon my orders,” he said.
In a separate speech, Duterte said the country's withdrawal from the Rome Statute was an empty gesture since it was not published on the Official Gazette, a legal requirement before a law takes effect in the country.
“Kung hindi mo i-publish ‘yan (If you do not publish it) and if you fail – Tuvera v., I think, Enrile – there is no law at all. Kasi pagkatapos ng Congress, dinala kaagad nila and appended it sa Rome agreement without the publication because the publication parang ‘yun ang constructive notice na, ‘Hoy, mga Pilipino, may batas tayo (Because after Congress, they appended it without publication because the publication is like a constructive notice that ‘Hey, Filipinos, we have a law)’,” he said.
Duterte, however, said he would actually “love” to visit the international tribunal that sits in The Hague, Netherlands.
“I would love to go to where that Hague court is without necessarily submitting to its jurisdiction. I would like to give a speech there,” he said.
He said Senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City since 2017, could stand at his witness.
“And worse comes to worst, kung talagang may (if there is really a) trial, then my first witness will be De Lima. Siya kay siya man ang sige daldal (She should do it since she’s the one who keeps on talking),” he added.
De Lima is facing drug-related charges for her alleged role in drug proliferation inside the national penitentiary when she was justice secretary.
In September, the ICC’s pre-trial chamber authorized the request of its former chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to conduct a full-blown investigation into Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
Bensouda, in June, stressed that a preliminary probe found “a reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder has been committed on the territory of the Philippines."
The Philippines formally withdrew its membership from the ICC on March 17, 2019, or exactly a year after it revoked the Rome Statute that created the international tribunal. (PNA)