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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed no surprise over the Chinese government’s vocal support to the Philippines’ unilateral withdrawal from its membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In a Dispatch from Crame No. 274 she issued while in detention, De Lima said Duterte is a “god-send” to China and is the greatest thing that ever happened to China’s expansionism in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), also known as South China Sea (SCS).

“The President of the erstwhile independent Philippine Republic, which is now no different from a Chinese province under Duterte, has probably saved the Chinese government billions of yuans in national security, intelligence, and military spending after Duterte single-handedly turned over Philippine possession of the Spratlys, Scarborough Shoal, and even Benham Rise to China in a silver platter,” she said.

“It is therefore not surprising that of all the countries in the world, only China has supported Duterte’s withdrawal from the ICC, despite Harry Roque’s hilarious claim that an ‘avalanche’ of nations will support the Philippine withdrawal by also withdrawing from the ICC,” she added.

Last March 30, the Chinese government threw its support for the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang saying that “China always maintains that the ICC should respect the sovereignty of nations, act cautiously and avoid being used as a political tool.”

This statement came after Duterte announced that the Philippines is rescinding its ratification of the Rome Statute which created the ICC due to what he called “baseless” accusations against him by UN officials and violations of due process by the ICC.

After the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC, Roque then in a separate interview predicted that there will be an avalanche of other states leaving the court, which did not materialize.

De Lima said China’s move was based on a vested or self-interest, knowing that they have a reliable ally in the person of Duterte when it comes to the issue on the WPS.

“Of course, China is doing all of this for itself, because without Duterte, it loses its puppet and ever reliable ally who just surrendered territories in the Spratlys. Aside from China, no other country in the world has any reason to support Duterte’s withdrawal from the ICC, because only China has a billion yuan reason to do so,” she said.

De Lima has earlier said that Duterte is indirectly giving up Philippines’ claims over the Spratlys Islands, Scarborough Shoal, and the country’s entire Exclusive Economic Zone in the WPS by failing to stand against Chinese incursion in the WPS.

Even with the decision of United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal invalidating China’s claim and ruling that Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights over WPS, China refuses to comply with the verdict.

The former justice secretary maintained that Duterte allied with China because he knows that human rights is never a consideration of China.

“It couldn’t care less about human rights. All that Duterte had to do then to make himself indispensable to China was to be the puppet that China needed in the Philippines. And Duterte’s bargain all worked out well for China,” she said.

“The least that China can therefore do for Duterte is to defend him against the ICC and protect him from international accountability for the mass murder of his own people,” she added.

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