ICC to inquire on raps vs Rody

ROQUE: MERE PROCESS TO DETERMINE BASIS President Duterte intends to defend himself, “if need be,” on the crimes against humanity charges that his opponents filed against him before The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday. Roque, an international law expert, explained that the ICC’s recognition was simply a proceeding to determine if the case has basis to proceed or not.Roque said Malacañang has received ICC’s notice for a “preliminary examination” on the complaints filed by the lawyer of self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) assassin Edgar Matobato, who is under the care of Duterte’s chief critic Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.Roque said the 72-year-old Chief Executive is ready to submit himself before the proceedings once he is summoned to The Hague.“The President and I met about this extensively for two hours last night. The President welcomes the preliminary examination because he is sick and tired of being accused,” Roque told reporters. “Obviously, this is intended to embarrass the president. They will fail. The President said that if need be, he will argue his case before the ICC,” he added.Matobato’s counsel Jude Sabio, in April last year, submitted to the ICC a petition against Mr. Duterte on the basis of his apparent admission of “killing” suspected drug traffickers and criminals in Davao City when he was still its Mayor.By June, Trillanes and Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano filed a supplemental complaint against the Chief Executive also at the ICC. The complaint is based on the series of extrajudicial killings attributed to the Duterte administration’s narcotics crackdown.Sabio, in a text message, claimed that the given development is already a victory on their end.“I feel so elated and vindicated. Finally, Mr. Duterte and his cohorts will face criminal investigation by the ICC prosecutor as a prelude to formal criminal investigation,” Sabio said. “It is a huge triumph toward justice. Duterte’s system of death squad killings that he continued in his war on drugs will be investigated and hopefully an arrest warrant will be issued against him and justice will be done,” he added.“I am confident that, based on my communication, as well as that of Sen. Trillanes’ and (Magdalo) Rep. (Gary) Alejano’s, we will hurdle this first big step, and hopefully a warrant of arrest will be issued soon by the ICC against Duterte and his cohorts,” he added. Critics overjoyedTrillanes, for his part, claimed that the ICC’s recognition of their complaint should remind Mr. Duterte that he is not above the law.“This development should jolt Duterte into realizing that he is not above the law. More importantly, this is the first step for the victims’ families’ quest for justice,” the senator said.But Roque said Trillanes and his group should not celebrate yet.“No one should claim victory… If they think the President has been indicted, they are so wrong,” he said.“There will be no formal investigation to be conducted in the country because at the level of the preliminary examination, where the Court does not include the budget for the prosecutor to come to the Philippines because it is not yet a preliminary investigation,” he said.“Now the objective is to determine if there is reasonable basis to proceed with the formal investigation,” he added.In Sabio’s complaint addressed to ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, he said that the international criminal court’s action “would... be the beginning of the end of this dark, obscene, murderous and evil era in the Philippines.”“Crimes against humanity are crimes of universal jurisdiction, but where a State like the Philippines fails to assume such universal jurisdiction for crimes against humanity continuously being committed in its very own territory, then the International Criminal Court will have to intervene into a situation that is grave by any human standard,” Sabio said.“The grim statistics of more than 7,000 drug-related killings cannot be anything but grave, especially if viewed in the context of just seven months since Rodrigo Duterte became the President, compared to only about 3,000 committed during the 20-year Marcos regime. These more than 7,000 drug-related killings translate to roughly 1,000 killings per month,” he added.Two other opposition senators urged Malacañang, instead of criticizing this development, to deal with the issues being hurled at the President.“That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the magnitude of deaths reaching thousands upon thousands in less than two years,” Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.“This is the chance for the government to answer the accusations raised against them. There is no reason to be afraid if the administration is not hiding anything,” Sen. Bam Aquino said.Aquino said this should be a welcome opportunity for the administration to make their case to an unbiased and globally respected tribunal. Villarin wants Roque charged, tooAkbayan Rep Tom Villarin said the entry of the ICC into the issues raised against Duterte gives hope to the thousands killed under the latter’s war on drugs. “It is a welcome development and gives hope to thousands of EJK (extra judicial killings) victims that finally justice will be served,” Villarin said.“This will also hold President Duterte and other top officials involved in the bloody war against drugs accountable as well as it gives us an opportunity to implead other enablers of EJKs, including possibly Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque,” Villarin added.While the Akbayan lawmaker said that the investigation may not lead to Duterte’s puster, he said that it will be damning and damaging to his administration in the eyes of our people and the international community.“I am hopeful that people will now realize the truth and demand accountability from him with all constitutional options available,” Villarin said.Alejano said that the preliminary examination will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation. “I hope that the preliminary examination will be allowed to carry on – unhindered and with full cooperation from concerned authorities, organizations, and personalities,” Alejano, one of those who brought the EJK issue before the ICC, said.“I am confident on the communication we sent to the ICC and strongly believe that President Duterte and those who perpetuate and defend this policy of killing should be held accountable before the law,” Alejano said. Angie M. Rosales, Gerry Baldo.....»»

Category: newsSource: tribune tribuneJun 7th, 2018

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