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Bato assures ICC of drugs war fact


Even as critics of President Duterte appeared to have embarked on an international roadshow amid the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) preliminary examination of the crimes against humanity allegations on President Duterte, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said the PNP will cooperate with the ICC despite the “politically motivated” complaint.
Lawyer Jude Sabio who filed the complaint against Mr. Duterte with the ICC, meanwhile, got an interview with international news agency Agence France Presse (AFP) interview to relate that he “fears for his life” after bringing Mr. Duterte’s deadly war on drugs to the attention of international war crimes prosecutors.
Now that a probe into the killings is under way, Sabio, who admits having the support of Duterte chief critic Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, expressed fears “he too has become a target.”
Sabio, who describes himself as penniless and on the run, said he had received death threats from Duterte supporters on social media after filing a petition with the Hague-based ICC in April last year.
“I’m in a state of constant paranoia because I fear for my life,” Sabio, 51, told AFP in an interview. “It could be very possible that a bullet will hit me,” he added.
Sabio is the lawyer of both Edgar Matobato and police officer Arthur Lascañas, who are both self-confessed members of the fabled Davao Death Squad (DDS) and are both known to be under Trillanes’ stable. Dela Rosa said on a television interview the police force will provide the ICC with data on the police anti-narcotics campaign which is called Tokhang if requested.

“We would not hide anything. They will realize that when they start the investigations and they will be enlightened that the so-called extrajudicial killings (EJK) were not ordered by the President and were thus not state-sponsored,” dela Rosa added.
Dela Rosa, however, said that since the probe was the result of a politically-motivated complaint, the PNP still will consult lawyers before releasing information to the ICC.
“For all you know, their investigation was the result of smear operations, so politically motivated. We can’t just hand out everything since we may fall into their trap,” he said.
Dela Rosa said the PNP would seek legal help in responding to the ICC probe and on what should be done.
Similarly, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) had said that it will cooperate with the ICC on providing data regarding the war on drugs.
“This is precisely why we came out with these real numbers in order for us to become more transparent with regards to the conduct of the drug campaign,” PDEA spokesman Derrick Carreon said during the recent #RealNumbersPH press briefing in Malacanang.
“If the data will be summoned in relation to such hearing, then PDEA will support in terms of the data. If the data is relevant, automatically, we will submit it,” Carreon said.
A complaint was filed in April 2017 by Sabio, before the ICC, accusing Mr. Duterte and 11 other government officials of crime against humanity.
Malacanang, however, explained that the Duterte administration’s fight against illegal drugs is “lawful and a sovereign act”.
For his part, Duterte said he is ready to face the ICC even if it would mean being executed by firing squad.
“I can face the ICC. If they want to indict me and convict me, fine. I will gladly do it for my country. I told them (ICC), find a place where they allow execution by firing squad. I would love to experience what Rizal experienced, too,” Duterte said in an event held last Tuesday at Malacanang’s hall named after national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, who was executed by firing squad on Dec. 31, 1896 for leading a revolution against the Spanish government.
The combined #RealNumbersPH data showed that 85,068 anti-drug operations have been conducted, resulting in the arrest of 121,087 and the killing of 4,021 drug personalities since July 1, 2016 when the campaign began.
Data as of Feb. 8 also showed that 87 drug law enforcers were killed while 227 others were wounded in the operations that resulted in the confiscation of 2,610.37 kilograms (kg) of drugs and other chemicals and laboratory equipment amounting to P19.61 billion.
The drug cases filed in court, on the other hand, reached 43,226, some 22,189 of which have been referred to prosecution while 5,327 barangays (villages) have also been declared drug-free.
According to the PNP’s Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, a total of 639 homicide cases have been solved out of 2,388 drug-related incidents.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag explained that Real Numbers aims not only to correct misleading numbers from international rights groups and media but to present the real story and the people behind every figure.
“While we know that the complaints filed before the ICC are founded on political motive and baseless numbers, we reiterate that the Philippine government respects and protects human rights,” Banaag said.
While there may be isolated cases of abuse, Banaag said the President never tolerates abuses and the PNP adheres to rules of engagement.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda launched a “preliminary examination” after receiving Sabio’s petition, which alleges around 8,000 extrajudicial killings, and this could lead to a full investigation by the court. Sabio wants the president arrested.
Also ran shoots to fame
“The problem with me is when I see something wrong I fight,” said Sabio, who had a low-key legal practice for two decades and unsuccessfully ran for public office twice.
“Now to the question of how it feels to be standing against Goliath, to me the fact that he is president, I’m sorry to say this, doesn’t matter to me.”
The unassuming lawyer, the son of public school teachers, lost the 2010 election for mayor of a southern town and was disqualified for being a “nuisance” senatorial candidate in 2016, officially ruled as lacking funds to run his campaign.
But his life started to change course when in October 2016 he agreed to represent Matobato, a self-confessed assassin whose deposition forms part of the ICC case.
Matobato had spectacularly claimed at a Senate public hearing a month earlier that he was a member of the “Davao Death Squad” that killed at least a thousand people on Duterte’s orders when the president was mayor of Davao city.
The lawyer alleged in the suit that the drug war was the “Davao Death Squad” on a national scale, which Duterte rejects.
“It is targeting a vulnerable civilian population, composed mostly of the poor living in depressed communities,” Sabio said.
“The only way to stop the killings is to issue a warrant of arrest. Arrest president Duterte and bring him to The Hague.”
Sabio, a short, stocky man with an unruly moustache, claimed to fear for his life ever since and he left his southern home city of Cagayan de Oro for his own safety a year ago — the last time he saw his 75-year-old mother.
His assassins could be “riding in tandem” he said, referring to gunmen on motorcycles, said by witnesses to be behind many of the unsolved street murders of known small-time drug dealers.
Responding to questions about the threat against Sabio, Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said Tuesday the president bore no “ill will” against the lawyer.
Roque tells Sabio:
Tell it to the cops
“Let’s make sure that if there’s a threat, he should report it to the police,” Roque told reporters.
However, Sabio hit back Friday, saying “these people are treacherous”.
He said he does not know Duterte personally and denied working for the opposition, taking on the case purely on principle.
But Sabio does not look like a crusader and is battling myriad health problems including diabetes and heart disease — twice going under the knife, the last in mid-2016, to insert six stents for clogged blood vessels.
He still owes the hospital 900,000 pesos (more than $17,000), and when he flew to the Netherlands to file the case “I had no money so people contributed for my plane ticket, and also for my hotel”.
Since leaving Cagayan de Oro, he has missed doctors’ appointments as well as meetings with other clients.
“I could have died in that operation,” Sabio said. “But I don’t know, I was brought to life and maybe this is my mission in life.”


  • kokey

    Let ICC's legal examination/investigation take its due course. The court is now giving ample chance for the Duterte administration to respond & clear the issue once & for all!

    kokey Sunday, 18 February 2018 07:54 Comment Link
  • Peter

    Sabio masyado kang madrama hindi ka naman pwedeng dramatic actor kasi yan mukha mo pang goons lang sa pelikula... Sorry to all commenters nag sasabi lang po ako ng totoo

    Peter Sunday, 18 February 2018 04:35 Comment Link
  • Lemuel

    Mr.Sabio " DRAMA PA MORE" aka Trililing

    Lemuel Sunday, 18 February 2018 04:26 Comment Link

    Pasalamat si Mr. Sabio death threat lang ang kanyang nakuha sa kanyang kabaliwan ....dapat sabog na ang ang bungo mo at ang mga kasabwat mo...para mauna na kayo sa impyerno... at magkaroon naman ng katahimikan ang sambayanang Pilipinas na mahirap mangyari habang mananatili pa sa lupa ang mga demonyong kauri nya...

    ASIONG TONDO Sunday, 18 February 2018 03:44 Comment Link
  • inocent

    Who in this whole wide world would like to kill Atty. Sabio? It is quite clear that Sabio wants attention to him by fabricating threats against his life. For sure nobody from the Duterte administration is interested in killing Sabio or even pinching his arm because it does not serve anyone anything. Sabio is fabricating these "threats" for sure. He also mentioned that he has no money or whatever. If so, how can he appear in the ICC if he is a pauper-lawyer? Are the Filipino people such a fool to to believe him when his benefactor is one Sonja Trilliling a certified corrupt yellow Senator. Sabio is talking too much and making us fools to believe in his narrative. He said that his expenses to the Hague were donations, including the plane ticket, then what was he with Sonja Trilliling in the picture they proudly and printed in the PDI? Is Sabio telling us that Trilliling did not pay for his expenses plus more money for his family? OMG, Sabio is tainted with hypocrisy and does not deserve any kind of pity by allowing himself as a tool of Trilliling. Look what will happen if nothing happens after Feb. 25, either Sabio will be dropped by Trilliling or send him home to Cagayan de Oro City and wait for another mission from Sonja.

    inocent Sunday, 18 February 2018 03:25 Comment Link

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