ICC has no right to pursue probe vs. Duterte: Palace

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has no authority to continue its preliminary examination on President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-narcotics campaign after lawyer Jude Sabio dropped the communication he filed before the international tribunal, MalacaAang insisted Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the remarks following reports that the ICC said it could not ignore outright the communication filed by Sabio against Duterte's crackdown on illegal drugs.

Panelo said the Palace, while it could not prevent the ICC from its plan to proceed with its initial review of the current administration's drug war, maintains its stance that the international body has no jurisdiction over Duterte and the Philippines.

Hindi mo naman mapigilan sila (We cannot stop them) but the fact remains is that it has no jurisdiction whatsoever over the President and for that matter this country. We have repeatedly said that the very source of its authority never gave birth, Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.

Why? Because we have to follow certain processes in giving teeth or enforceability to a particular law. It has to be published in a newspaper of general circulation or on the Official Gazette. And the Rome Statute was never published in either of the two mentioned processes, he added.

The Philippines officially withdrew its membership from the ICC on March 17, 2019, or exactly a year after it revoked the Rome Statute, a treaty that created the international court on Nov. 1, 2011.

Manila cut ties with the ICC after prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in February 2018 pushed through with the preliminary examination of Sabio's communication.

Sabio's communication accused Duterte of perpetrating crimes against humanity for thousands of alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects since the anti-narcotics drive was launched on July 1, 2016 until March 31, 2017.

In its report on the 2019 preliminary examination activities, the ICC sought the conclusion of its initial assessment of the drug war in the Philippines to determine whether there is a need to conduct a full-blown investigation into the campaign against rampant narcotics trade in the country.

However, Sabio on Tuesday asked Bensouda to drop the communication he filed before the ICC.

According to a report by CNN Philippines, Bensouda's office said Sabio's withdrawal would have no impact on the ongoing preliminary examination of Duterte's drug war.

Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, said the ICC should realize that the communication against Duterte came from a polluted source.

He also insisted that Duterte's enemies are taking advantage of the international court's ongoing preliminary examination to vilify the administration and besmirch the reputation of the President.

If you'll notice, the President doesn't mind all of these. Pinababayaan lang niya 'yung mga naninira sa kanya. Wala naman siyang dine-demanda (He's just ignoring those who are tainting his reputation. He's not filing any cases against them), Panelo said.

You know, as I said in my statement, lies can only be sustained only for some time, once it haunts the peddler, then those lies melt in the heat of truth. Iyan ang nangyayari kaya 'yun naman ang ano ni Presidente, lahat ng mga kasinungalingan, lumalabas eventually hindi totoo (That's what is happening now that's why all the lies have already been debunked), the Palace official added.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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