Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla on Saturday asserted that they would look into former President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody anti-drugs war that left thousands of alleged suspects dead.
Remulla made the statement on the heels of a European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights remark that the prosecution of perpetrators behind the killings in the war on drugs “will go on forever” with the current snail’s pace of the investigation.
“We will do it on our own (time),” Remulla stressed Remulla earlier on assailed the ICC, asking why it was investigating the government’s war on drugs and not the drug cartels.
“If the ICC really wants to investigate, why don’t they investigate the drug cartels destroying our country? That’s why we had a drug war,” Remulla said.
Hannah Neumann, vice-chairperson of the European panel, said the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) support would ensure that the estimated 6,000 extra judicial killings (EJKs) would be “investigated properly.”
Neumann said the ICC involvement would help give the victims’ families and witnesses confidence that there would be no harassment and intimidation “by the very same people who killed their loved ones.”
The ICC authorized last month the reopening of an inquiry into the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
In 2018, Duterte pulled the Philippines out of the Hague-based tribunal’s Rome Statute, with the withdrawal taking effect in 2019 after the ICC began a preliminary probe into the allegations of state-sanctioned killings in his war on drugs.
The Philippines earlier called on the ICC not to resume its investigation into Duterte’s deadly drug war, insisting the tribunal had no jurisdiction.
Officially, 6,181 people were reported killed in Duterte’s drug war, but human rights groups claim as many as 30,000 may have been summarily executed
Neumann said that allowing the ICC to proceed with its probe on the killings would be a step in the right direction.
She said the prosecution of those involved in the killings “will go on forever” with the current pace of the investigation.
She said re-joining the Rome Statute of the ICC “would reinforce the (Philippine) government’s stated commitment to fighting impunity.”
“Let us just take 6,000 since it was the number said by Senator (Ronald) Dela Rosa. Those 6,000 cases need to be filed, witnesses have to be found, evidence has to be collected for each and everyone,” Neumann said.
“Nine months into the new administration, 25 cases are being investigated and three people charged. This will go on forever if we go on like this. ICC’s support will ensure that the 6,000 cases will be investigated properly.”
“Asking the ICC to come is the perfect way to do it,” Neumann added.
Earlier, President Marcos said the Philippines will not cooperate with the ICC because it has a “good” and working justice system.
“My position has not changed. I have stated it often, even before I took office as President, that there are many questions about (ICC’s) jurisdiction, and what we in the Philippines regard as an intrusion into our internal matters and a threat to our sovereignty,” the President said.