Dispatch from Crame No. 208: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s warning to the International Criminal Court (ICC) not to meddle on Human Rights violations related to President Duterte’s War on Drugs


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“Leave us alone and we will solve the problem. We do not enjoy killing our own countrymen. It is not a good policy but we are besieged [by] something which is very terrible,” said Duterte.

Presidential spokesperson and self-styled human rights lawyer Harry Roque must be feeling very stupid. While he was proclaiming before the assembly of ICC state parties in New York that the ICC has no jurisdiction to investigate Duterte “unless it can be shown that the state party is unwilling or unable to investigate and prosecute” the extra-judicial killings in the Philippines, his boss has just admitted that, indeed, his administration has a policy of killing Filipinos suspected of drug use and peddling.

It’s a no-brainer. How can the ICC expect the Duterte Administration to take jurisdiction over the prosecution of EJK crimes, when the President has already admitted that it is the very policy of his administration to kill Filipinos?

Mr. Roque cannot go around this using the Fentanyl excuse. The President looked sober when he purportedly rued his policy of killing Filipinos, even as he supposedly takes “the extra mile” to find another solution to the drug problem. The President did not look crazy when he told a food festival audience in Pampanga that indeed it is the policy of his government to kill Filipinos in his drug war. He was as sane as could be during a lucid interval.

Mr. Roque will of course spin his and his boss’s simultaneous schizophrenic statements to whatever outlandish ends again. But then Duterte is not a schizo. He has always been clear about murder as his method in solving the country’s drug problem. It is only his spin doctors who make him look like a schizo when they say he’s just joking.

Again, Duterte didn’t look like he was joking during the food festival. In fact, he never joked about himself NOT being a murderer. He has always been proud of it. And thousands dead in the country, including Davao City c/o the DDS, attests to this.

So there, Mr. Roque. Your own boss just gave the ICC the condition you laid down for its intervention in investigating and prosecuting Duterte for his murderous drug war. With the President’s admission that his administration cannot possibly investigate and prosecute the drug war murders, precisely because it is his government’s policy to carry out such murders, we can now stop pretending that you are still a human rights lawyer and that your words still carry any weight in the ICC state parties’ assembly.

Nahubaran na sa entablado ng mundo ang iyong pagpapanggap na isa kang tagapagtanggol ng karapatang pantao. Alam na ng lahat na ikaw na ngayon ang tagapagtanggol ng pangunahing mamamatay-tao sa buong mundo.

The response of the international community has always been clear. Stop the killings, and prosecute the President and all those responsible for promoting and defending his self-admitted policy of killing Filipinos. Of course the President will not do this, and you, Mr. Roque, will not stop defending his murders. This is why your only way out is to withdraw from the ICC.

I just hope you don’t honestly think that you and your boss can get away with murder so easily just by withdrawing from the ICC. I am sure all your years of schooling and scholarship have not made you into such a simpleton. Justice will always be done Mr. Roque. You for one should know that.

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