CAUAYAN City – President Rodrigo Duterte said he would be “glad to go” and will even be the one to tie a rope around his neck should the International Criminal Court (ICC) declare him guilty of crimes against humanity due to the series of drug-related killings in the country.
The President said this before Isabela officials and villagers during a Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan campaign rally at the Francisco L. Dy Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday evening.
“For all the things that I have said, ordered and done, I am willing to put [the rope around] my neck about this,” he said.
But the following day, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Philippine government cannot be expected to cooperate when the ICC decides to conduct a full-blown investigation into Duterte’s war on drugs.
Panelo said there is no more use to cooperate in the probe, if ever there will be, since the withdrawal of the Philippines from the ICC is set to take effect March 17.
“They cannot do anything against us,” Panelo said in yesterday’s press conference at Malacañang. “Bakit ka naman magko-cooperate kung walang jurisdiction? We’re not bound by their rules.”
He added: “Under the Rome Statute, if there is a preliminary investigation or any proceeding referring to the preliminary investigation, when there is one prior to the effectivity of the withdrawal, they can still proceed with the investigation.”
Panelo also said “assuming we have not withdrawn, assuming they have jurisdiction, they cannot proceed because that is in violation of the Rome Statute because what did they was just a preliminary examination, not preliminary investigation.”
Duterte on March 17, 2018 declared the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, due to “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and his administration.
This came after the ICC announced a preliminary examination into the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country. The preliminary examination will determine whether there is cause to go on a full-blown investigation. (With a report from Adrian Stewart Co and PNA/PN)