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Rody’s drug war not a crime against humanity — Palace

President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs is not a crime against humanity, his spokesman Harry Roque insisted yesterday.

Talking to reporters in Puerto Princesa City, the presidential spokesman explained that the Chief Executive’s emphasized that he will never be covered by the International Criminal Court, since the ICC has no jurisdiction over him.
Mr. Duterte is currently facing the alleged “crimes against humanity” complaint before The Hague-based tribunal filed by a FiIipino lawyer who takes his instructions from Sen. Antonio Trillanes who appears obsessed with the notion that he can bring President Duterte down.
Trillanes however, is known to accuse, without evidence.
Roque, a human rights activist and international law expert prior to joining government, said the President has never changed his position on the raps hurled against him before the ICC which has recently progressed to the “preliminary examination” phase.
Roque argued that to begin with, the series of killings attributed to Mr. Duterte’s drug war is legally acceptable under Philippine laws.
“The President has not changed his position on the case against him at the ICC because Philippine Courts are still willing to hear charges against him. That is the reason the ICC has no jurisdiction over him,” Roque said.
“When it comes to the merits of the case, the war against drugs could not be qualified as a crime against humanity because it not only targets civilians, it is an official exercise of Police powers of the state and it has a legitimate purpose - to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs,” he added.
There are more than 4,000 deaths in anti-drug operations since the Duterte administration began, the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) official data shows.
The President on Tuesday night said that he will never allow himself to be submitted for prosecution before the ICC despite previous pronouncements of his willingness to subject himself before them to the point of getting martyred for his drug war.
“You cannot acquire jurisdiction over me, not in a million years,” Mr. Duterte said in a speech before members of a presidential anti-crime body he formed, addressing ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda whom he referred to as a “black lady.”
“They cannot ever, ever hope to acquire jurisdiction over my person. I even disobeyed my mother, how much more them (ICC prosecutors and its prosecutor?” he added.
Mr. Duterte, in a media interview last month, said he is willing to host Bensouda and have a closed-in dialog with her.
“I would ask for the rare privilege of talking to you. Just the two of us in the room,” the 72-year-old Chief Executive said. I welcome you. If you want to find me guilty, go ahead.”
Confessed assassin Edgar Matobato’s counsel Jude Sabio charged Mr. Duterte before the ICC on the basis of their claim that Duterte had admitted to “killing” suspected drug traffickers and criminals in Davao City.
London-based Amnesty International (AI) and local human rights groups claim that there were over 300 people killed in Davao City by death squads between 1998 and 2005. The rate of killing accelerated after this so that between 2005 and 2008 vigilante groups are said to be behind some 700 executions.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) claimed the victims were mostly alleged drug dealers, petty criminals, and street children.
Opposition attack dog Senator Trillanes and Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano filed a supplemental complaint against the Chief Executive also at the ICC. The rejoinder is based on the series of extrajudicial killings attributed to the Duterte administration’s narcotics crackdown.


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