SEN. Christopher “Bong” Go has dismissed rumors that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant against former president Rodrigo Duterte for alleged crimes against humanity.
Go said he had not heard or seen any official confirmation of the warrant, stressing that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines.
Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go. (Joseph B. Vidal / Senate Social Media Unit)
The country withdrew its membership from the Rome Statute of the ICC in 2019 after the court announced it would conduct a preliminary investigation of the extrajudicial killings that took place during Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.
The ICC reminded the Duterte administration that “withdrawal from the court will not change the Philippines’ obligations to cooperate in a proceeding which had already begun.”
Duterte’s “war on drugs” led to more than 20,000 deaths, and according to the UN Report on the Human Rights Situation in the Philippines, about 8,663 of the deaths could be categorized as extrajudicial killings.
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Go said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. already declared numerous times that the government would not cooperate with the ICC, which meant that local law enforcement agencies would not recognize or assist the ICC in its investigation.
“How can they arrest without coordination with local authorities? Is it possible? As former president Duterte has said, look for him in Davao (City). How can you arrest him there without the cooperation of law enforcement agencies?” Go said in Filipino.
The senator maintained that Duterte was unfazed by the ICC warrant. He reiterated his belief and trust in President Marcos’ statement that the Philippine government would not recognize the ICC.
Go also denied allegations that he was involved in any illegal activities with Duterte, particularly extrajudicial killings. He said the accusations were old and fabricated issues, and that he never received any illegal order from Duterte.
He stressed that he would never follow any order from anyone if it was illegal.
Go also reflected on the principles advocated by Duterte regarding national development. “I would also like to mention to all of you that during the time of (former) President Duterte, he always reminded us that everything must be fair and equal. Even if we are from Mindanao, all the projects must be fair. Projects must be fairly distributed to Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and no one should be left behind as we are all Filipinos,” he said.
He said he met with Duterte last weekend in Davao City after he attended a Senate hearing on the alleged buying of signatures for people’s initiative (PI), a campaign to amend the 1987 Constitution.
Go said Duterte opposed the PI, which he believed was rushed and flawed.
Duterte was also invited by a religious group led by Greco Belgica, a former commissioner of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), and his father, Butch Belgica, a former Manila councilor and pastor, to a prayer rally or gathering for unification, Go said.
He said Duterte was open to the idea but did not know if he would attend.
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